NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- The Niagara Falls City Council approved the $2.8 million 2017 Niagara Falls Community Development Draft Action Plan on March 20, 2017, as a result of four months of public participation with residents.
“Our 2017 action plan process featured the most comprehensive public outreach in our department’s history,” said Seth Piccirillo, Director of Niagara Falls Community Development. “When residents join in and are treated as valued partners, our plan action plan gets stronger.”
Over the past four months, CD hosted 10 public meetings throughout the city and created an online/paper citizen survey to gather public opinion, offered a 30-day written public comment period, created an email address specifically for action plan dialogue, and accepted competitive application for eligible Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) and Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program projects. The City Council approved Draft Action Plan leveraged an additional $2.1 million in non-municipal matching funds, for a total budget of $4.9 million. City Council Approved 4-1: Yes (Walker, Grandinetti, Scott, Touma) No (Tompkins)
The complete plan and citizen’s guide can be viewed at: https://nf-cd.org/participate
The City of Niagara Falls is proud to include participatory budgeting (PB) in the 2017 Action Plan. PB is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. It enables taxpayers to work with government to make the budget decisions that affect their lives. A total of $360,000 in CDBG funds has been allocated for public park improvements that will be decided through PB. A series of public meetings will be held to create proposals for park improvements. These initial proposals will be refined with budget amounts and turned into ballot items that will go directly to the community for a vote with electronic tablets that allow residents to rank and ultimately decide which projects should be completed.
The 2017 Action Plan also features $906,000 for city-wide home renovations, $202,000 for first time home buyer grants and $485,000 for youth program & facility upgrades, including capital improvements at the 17th Boys and Girls Club House.
HUD CDBG and HOME funds, a majority of the City annual action plans, are not included in President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 federal budget proposal. While budget negotiations are still ongoing, such cuts would have a negative impact of many American cities, including Niagara Falls.
“Our HUD funds are specifically used to invest and assist homeowners to add value to their properties and to provide our neighborhoods with quality public spaces and programs,” said Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster. “The president’s proposed cuts would destabilize an improving Niagara Falls housing market and harm quality of life in our neighborhoods. Our annual action plan process allows our taxpayers to decide how federal funds are used in their community. Eliminating these HUD funds is an attack on local decision making, and that is unacceptable.”