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March 1, 2018

Golf course cost city $275k last year; Voccio dubious of “golf-subsidy business”

“We need to have a serious conversation about the golf-subsidy business,” said Councilman Chris Voccio at Wednesday’s Common Council meeting.

“If we do, then let’s get into water slides, badminton and ping pong and subsidize it,” Voccio said.

City Administrator Nick Melson said a proposal is underway to privatize the operations at the city’s golf course but that the grounds itself would not be sold.

City Controller Dan Morelllo (above) started the conversation when he revealed during a 2017 budget review the city’s golf course lost $275,000 last year.

“At every meeting going [...]

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February 28, 2018

What the Town of Wheatfield just did, the entire county should be doing, too

A casual observer might not have called it triumphal or even worthy of comment, but for governmental observers and watchdogs several important things took place Monday at Wheatfield’s town board meeting.

Department heads: Paul Siegmann of the Highway Department, Rich Donner of Water & Sewer, Mike Klock (above photo) from inspection, Assessor Bridget Grawe. Nearly all of them were present Monday.

But that’s not the new part. For some time now, Wheatfield has been leading the county’s major municipalities in having department heads speak regularly at council meetings.

This time, though, instead of remaining [...]

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February 15, 2018

Secretary scandal can’t go away soon enough for Falls council; summer traffic snarls need solution

There’s one council member who doesn’t have to worry about blinking on the controversial hiring of Mark Diodate as council secretary.

Although Kenny Tompkins said he thinks the council secretary position is necessary since all council members except Chris Voccio have a full-time job, he definitely thinks there were other qualified candidates that interviewed for the position.

“This is not going away,” said regular council commentator Tim Huether during Wednesday’s common council meeting.

In addition to being granted permission to re-submit his resume after errors were brought to light, Diodate’s resume still contained [...]

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February 15, 2018

Niagara Falls hires “cruise director” to bolster unreached tourism potential

If Niagara Falls is going to roll the dice on any industry, without a doubt it’s tourism.

“Tourism is our new industry,” said councilman Kenny Tompkins. “We have to focus making it grow.”

To that end, the council voted unanimously Wednesday to spend $40,000 on a new tourism specialist in the city administration.

The city will be matched by the Niagara Tourism & Convention Corp. for another $40,000 covering salary and benefits.

While that marketing entity promotes Niagara Falls all over the world, the new hire will focus on what tourists who come to Niagara Falls, USA, will do when they get here. [...]

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