NIAGARA FALLS, NY (WKBW) - Standing in the Cataract City's newest addition, NCCC's culinary school, Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster told his doubters to start believing.
"For those of you with that healthy skepticism," he told a crowd of several hundred, "I hope that sitting in the actual bricks and mortar helps restore your faith in democratic institutions."
Dyster opened his speech supporting Gov. Andrew Cuomo's controversial new gun law and talked about plans to rid the city of illegal guns, including the city's first-ever gun buyback program in February.
Most of Dyster's speech focused on quality of life, including a new crackdown on absentee landlords, blighted buildings and demolishing more vacant structures.
"Residents and visitors often ask: How can properties so close to the beauty of the cataract look like time has forgotten them?" he said.
Dyster's speech lacked a road map for the city's money problems. Residents avoided a property tax increase this year after lawmakers amended the mayor's budget proposal, which also called for layoffs. Those were also avoided.
But 2013 could be a tough year for the city and lawmakers were hoping to hear more about a solution, especially since the city continues to lack slot revenue from the Seneca Casino, which is withholding the money over a disagreement with Albany.
"I'm used to mayors in the past laying it out on the table and saying this is our financial situation, this is how we're going to handle it, this is how we're moving forward in the future," said Councilman Sam Fruscione. "To me it was like hitting the rewind button on a tape player. There was nothing there."