NIAGARA FALLS – Mayor Paul A. Dyster believes that the first 100 days of next year will be vitally important to the future of the city.
People who were looking for change, as expressed at the polls on Election Day, are eager to see signs of “a new way of doing business” in the Falls, Dyster said last week.
So with a new makeup of the City Council viewed as being more friendly to his administration, Dyster wants to develop an action plan along with the Council for the those first 100 days in order to capitalize on what he considers a big chance to chart a better future.
“Windows of opportunity can sometimes be fleeting,” Dyster said.
“I think it’s very important for us not to disappoint them.”
The mayor said he plans on sitting down and talking with all current Council members and Councilman-elect Andrew P. Touma to develop a plan and make sure they’re up-to-date on current projects and plans for the near future.
Among the items are the role the Falls plays in Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion plan, the Falls’ role in plans from the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council and the recently announced $40 million Downtown Development Challenge.
The mayor said he wants to hear lawmakers’ top priorities for the city. He said he would also welcome Council members’ taking ownership of a project or program important to the city heading forward.
Dyster said he will also bring in department heads and some of the city’s “key strategic partners,” especially at the state level, such as officials with Empire State Development Corp., USA Niagara Development and some of the governor’s representatives.
The mayor said he sees it as a challenge and a responsibility, with more pressure on himself by having a Council he expects “will be prodding me.”
“I didn’t have a Council that was challenging me to move faster and get more projects done because they were often times the obstacle to anything happening,” Dyster said.
Touma, a Democrat, was the top vote-getter in Tuesday’s election. Democratic incumbents Kristen M. Grandinetti and Charles A. Walker were re-elected. All three had the backing of Dyster.
They will join Democrats Robert A. Anderson Jr. and Glenn A. Choolokian, both of whom had formed a three-member Council majority with Democrat Samuel F. Fruscione, who was not re-elected. In 2011, Choolokian ran on the Republican line.
Dyster said he also expects the Council to be “interested in innovation” and in “trying to figure out where the cutting edge is.”
“There’s going to be a very bright spotlight shining on us,” Dyster said.