Niagara Falls votes against cutting mayor, council salaries

Posted at 1:13 PM, Jan 17, 2018

Some members of the Niagara Falls City Council want to see the mayor and all council members take a voluntary and immediate 10 percent pay cut. At a meeting Wednesday evening, the council voted against the pay cuts.

One measure, sponsored by three of the five council members, would have reduced Mayor Paul Dyster's salary to $70,200. He made roughly $80,000 in 2017, according to See Through NY.

If the salary cuts had passed, it would have totaled around $16,490 in savings per year. The city's annual budget is around $91 million.

The resolution to reduce pay for Mayor Dyster acknowledges the city "is in a financially challenging period of time and expenses must be reduced".

The Seneca Nation and New York State have an ongoing dispute about casino revenue payments. In the past, those amount to about $16 million for the Niagara Falls city budget.

Council Member Christopher Voccio, a Republican, is leading the push for these resolutions.

“It’s about leadership," he explained. "It’s about self sacrifice. We’ve got to send a message to taxpayers, to city employees, to all stakeholders that we as elected officials understand the city’s in trouble, we have a financial predicament and it’s time that we sacrificed a little bit.”

"I don't understand the logic behind it," said Council Member Ezra Scott, a Democrat. "We should be focusing more on operating costs and operating budgets."

Council Chairman Andrew Touma says cutting salaries for council members "sacrifices the integrity" of the position. He thinks the pay is fair.

"I know the job and I know how taxing it is," he said. "It's rewarding. But we're in charge of a $91 million budget. So there's a lot of responsibility."