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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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