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January 26, 2021

North Tonawanda issues no public statement about emergency $4.2 million loan taking place tonight

Is this the kind of situation the NT council was going to pay The Niagara Reporter $2,000 a month to publicize when it made that spendy and ill-fated decision during 2020?

Probably not.

Although an effort has been underway for weeks to secure $4.2 million in monies to keep the city chugging along for another four months (until tax bills come in), the first peep outside the secretive NT city-hall bubble happened only Friday.

Yesterday, Alderman at Large Austin Tylec issued a press release about tonight’s 6:30 p.m. workshop meeting, which is scheduled to host an item at 7:45 p.m. calling for borrowing $4.2 million because … the city’s out [...]

 
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December 18, 2020

North Tonawanda residents rescuing animals to heart of Niagara County

Whispering River Animal Rescue in Gasport is just a few months old but already the refurbished barn is brimming, baying and neighing with a passion almost as great as the volunteers who’ve all made it happen.

Whispering River Rescue Treasurer Julie Smith takes the farm’s miniature horses out for a walk.

Each rescued animal has a name and a rescue tale, getting care and love that’s re-writing the story of their often grim lives.

The rescue farm is situated on an idyllic stretch of Chestnut Ridge Road, and already neighbors are welcoming the group of animal advocates — largely [...]

 
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October 12, 2020

EDITORIAL: Invocation innovation blows chance to respect semblance of separating government, religion

The NT council has opened countless council meetings throughout the years with a religious prayer, and always of the Christian vein.

Last Tuesday, something different happened.

“Let us not bow our heads, but raise them high with eyes and minds open, striving to avoid personal bias and instead embrace rational, fact-based governance in all matters,” said NT resident Donald Wittcop Jr. (above) in the council chambers on Oct. 6th.

All things considered, it was a refreshing change advocating for logic and equality instead of entreating a higher power to somehow compel the city’s common council to do [...]

 
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August 27, 2020

Botanical gardens could get visitor’s center with gift shop; disturbing graffiti sparks concern from Gosch

The NT common council addressed a variety of nuts-and-bolts city issues at Tuesday’s workshop session.

The city’s botanical gardens (“The Jewel of the 3rd Ward”) received particular attention as two volunteers asked the board to consider letting the group have its own funding line in the Parks Department budget.

The move would facilitate buying flowers to landscape the 12-acre site, they said. That money comes in part from $50 reservations to rent the Gazebo. (Reservations have been down this year to only four, but the previous years saw 10.)

Sentiment on the council and from department heads seemed to suggest its was problematic to earmark [...]

 
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August 14, 2020

Disturbing N.T. audit report sees Republican council reject Alderman Tylec’s “fiscal stability committee”

“The Mayor and Council did not adopt structurally balanced budgets, properly monitor the City’s financial operations or take appropriate actions to maintain the City’s fiscal stability.”

That’s the verdict rendered by New York State’s Office of the Comptroller after reviewing North Tonawanda’s finances from Jan. 1, 2017, through April 27, 2020.

But there’s more … 

“The general and sewer funds experienced operating deficits from 2017 through 2019.”

“Despite the City’s deteriorating financial condition, officials did not establish a fund balance policy, multiyear financial plan or capital plan.”

“The Mayor’s and City [...]

 
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July 21, 2020

NT’s “Proclamation Against Hate” is actually sweeping an uncomfortable racial history under the rug

“I’ve got a proclamation that we are not a sundown town,” said NT councilman Robert Pecoraro during the closing comments of last week’s workshop meeting.

Lately, talk of NT’s history of racial exclusion and intimidation has been generating much discussion on social media.

“There is no empirical evidence that we were ever a sundown city,” said Pecoraro. “And I’m TIRED (raises voice) of people saying that North Tonawanda was once a sundown city. It is NOT TRUE (raises voice) and I want to make sure everybody understands that.”

However, since there’s never been an involved public discussion of NT’s former status as a sundown town [...]

 
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July 10, 2020

N.T. City Clerk, Mayor approve political advertising on city property; council majority silent

North Tonawanda’s City Attorney said on Tuesday he’s looking into the legality of a vendor who’s set up in Gratwick Park and selling political merchandise there.

According to two instances in the N.T. City Charter, political advertising is prohibited on public property.

The decision to issue the permit allowing the trailer in Gratwick Park was made by City Clerk Matthew Parish and Mayor Arthur Pappas.

The city council does not authorize these permits. However, when Alderman at Large Austin Tylec asked the members of the Republican majority if they thought it was appropriate for a vendor to be selling political merchandise for [...]

 
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April 21, 2020

Niagara County extends tax deadline to May 31; Legislature looking to “the future”

“We hope it gives people some more flexibility,” said North Tonawanda Legislator Rich Andres during Tuesday’s virtual meeting regarding the tax-deadline extension. 

However, Andres wants to make things clear.

“This is an extension. It is not a waiver of any tax liability. We hope it gives people the ability to plan accordingly. Give them flexibility and some extra time in which to make time go a little bit smoother for those folks in desperate need.”

The county tax deadline is usually March 15.

A resolution was also passed calling on the federal government to provide the county with more PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and get it out [...]

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North Tonawanda issues no public statement about emergency $4.2 million loan taking place tonight