In a press conference held Friday, City of Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino provided an update on the 2021 budget. Restaino explained the issues that have held up the budget, including but not limited to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also outlined what is expected within the budget and the intended plans to continue moving this process forward to approve the budget with City Council.
“Like so many household and businesses, the city has had a difficult time creating the budget due to unpredictable revenue sources,” Restaino said. “Many difficult choices have to be made to provide a sound and reasonable budget to city residents that will continue to provide basic services.”
Niagara Falls has been financially struggling due to a loss of revenue and has especially felt the loss of tourism due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to all the issues brought on by the pandemic, the city is also combatting the consequences of years of mismanaged funds under the previous administration.
Restaino went on to say, “Coming into office this past January, we were aware of the fiscal dysfunction that was a part of the last several budget cycles. While it was and continues to be my intent to develop methods to fix that, this budget environment did not afford us the opportunity to move as fast as I would like due to revenue limitations. Certainly fixed and contractual expenses have added to the difficulty we walked into, however, we have been able to make some adjustments to cut overall spending significantly.”
The 2021 budget will be formally presented to the City Council next week with a deadline of Dec. 1 for any amendments the board may choose to make to the spending plan.