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November 2, 2018

Taxes, environment, transparency: What they all agreed upon at Lockport’s mayoral, assembly debates

Hard to believe, but the five candidates offering their thoughts on the City of Lockport and NYS Assembly District 144 seemed to agree on most major, common-sense issues.

An environmentally cleaner City of Lockport, including radioactive Simmonds Steel and heavily polluted 18-Mile Creek.

Also, reducing the financial burden on property owners who are bearing too much of the responsibility to fund public education.

And getting a better deal with the New York Power Authority as we ship most of the power of Niagara Falls downstate while paying some of the highest rates in the country.

Creating more jobs [...]

 
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October 12, 2018

NT council signs again with accounting firm linked to Lockport’s missing million

Going against the professional opinion of NT chief accountant Amanda Reimer (above), North Tonawanda’s common council voted 3-1 to retain the services of Amato, Fox & Company to perform the city’s annual audit.

Amato, Fox & Company — NT’s audit firm for the last 39 years — was examining the books for the City of Lockport in 2012 when its council balanced the budget with a surplus that proved to be a mirage.

In 2014, the State Comptroller’s Office said the City of Lockport could have avoided some of the resulting layoffs and program cuts if the audit had been carried out differently and if Amato, Fox & Company had informed the [...]

 
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October 8, 2018

WNY open-government group lauded for “critical work” by state-level reformers

It got pretty geeky at the Buffalo Niagara Coalition for Open Government’s recent forum featuring Susan Lerner from Common Cause and Alex Camrada of Reinvent Albany, two state-level advocacy groups seeking to establish local connections.

Subjects ranged from the need in smaller communities for elected representatives to file financial disclosure forms to the state comptroller losing the ability to review contracts and how that contributed to the Buffalo Billion corruption as well as professionalizing the state’s board of elections and making sure “shadow government affiliated non-profits” follow the same open meeting and FOIL laws as [...]

 
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August 18, 2018

EDITORIAL: On the subject of those shameless raises in Niagara County

President Trump has called New York — home to high taxes and low temperatures — a “failed state.”

So what exactly does that make Niagara County?

And yet, local elected officials across this land of apparent plenty and prosperity — at least for those on the “Friends and Family Plan of Niagara County ®” — are giving themselves raises left and right in an environment they see as nobody watching or caring.

Commenting on the pubic pillaging is a mortal sin, inviting fierce pushback which ultimately keeps criticism — and even just discussion and disclosure — to the bare minimum.

Former residents of Niagara [...]

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