There is an interesting article in today's Buffalo News about the Niagara Falls Water Board. The system needs $33 million in work, was built for a population double the current size and will soon lose the benefit of a major settlement that Occidental Chemical has been paying. Bottom line, the system is in big trouble and eventually Niagara Falls residents will be left paying even more in exorbitant fees for water that is just a few feet away.
Clearly, the only long-term answer is for Niagara Falls to consolidate it's water system with that of the county. The Niagara County system is run far better, is in far superior shape and town residents pay a heck of a lot less for water than their neighbors in the Falls. Of course, this consolidation will never happen.
First, the unions in Niagara Falls will never allow the system to go away. It's a gravy train for those who work there. But that's not the biggest obstacle, believe it or not.
The fact is the relationship between Niagara Falls and the rest of the County has never been worse and that's saying something. When Dyster teamed up with former Senator Thompson and former Assemblywoman DelMonte to undo the casino agreement and take the county share away the bottom fell out of city/county relations. The NCCC Culinary School almost was killed off by the county out of disgust with Dyster.
Then Dyster went out of his to attack the NCIDA for actually fostering economic development in the city. While Peter Kay did nothing during his time with the City, the NCIDA has established a pretty good track record. Still, Dyster picked a fight over some tax abatements that were nothing out of the ordinary.
Next, came redistricting where Niagara Falls virtually demanded extra representation that it was not entitled to. Conversely, you saw representatives from the towns of Lewiston and Niagara publicly say what many feel......"we don't want anything to do with Niagara Falls."
The sad fact is that there could be significant collaboration, but that will never happen until Niagara Falls decides it wants to act as a partner with the rest of the county. And the person who would have to eat some humble pie and take the first step would by Dyster. This could actually be Dyster's legacy as Niagara Falls would benefit greatly from such a partnership. But that would mean giving up control of some functions and Dyster has shown no inclination in that regard.
So the status quo remains and soon Falls residents will be paying even more through the nose to turn on their faucet. Is it any surprise why people keep moving out?