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>Credit outlook boosted on general obligation bonds

NIAGARA FALLS -- The credit rating agency Standard & Poor's Rating Services boosted its outlook on the city's general obligation bonds from stable to positive Tuesday.

The agency attributed the change to the city's "improved financial management and operations" in 2005 and 2006, when its fund balance was restored to "more comfortable levels."

An analyst for the firm attributed the improved financial position to increased state aid and slot machine revenue that has flowed to the city.

Standard & Poor's also assigned its "BBB-" long-term rating to the city's 2007 general obligation bonds. The rating, the agency reported, reflects the "weak local economy characterized by a declining population, stagnant tax base, low income levels and high unemployment."

The agency also cautioned that the city has a history of "erratic financial operations" and has often relied on "unsound budgeting practices" in the past.

The City Council last month authorized the city to issue $39.5 million in bonds to pay for a new courthouse and police facility slated for North Main Street.


>District posts plans for school's birthday

SANBORN -- The Niagara-Wheatfield School Board accepted a special proclamation Wednesday honoring the 50th birthday of the high school.

Fred Barone, a retired assistant principal at the school, said his golden anniversary committee has many events planned for 2008 to commemorate the opening of the school Sept. 5, 1958. Some of the plans include a "soda shop sock hop," a remembrance dance that will feature the opening of the original school time capsule and an alumni dinner-dance.

In another matter, the board approved the replacement of a boiler at Colonial Village School.

The project, to be funded by the state, is expected to cost $35,000. Work is expected to be completed in about two weeks, officials said.


>Contractor shut down on site of worker death

NIAGARA FALLS -- The state Workers' Compensation Board has shut down a Georgia-based subcontractor on the construction site of a Niagara Falls Boulevard hotel where a worker fell to his death last month.

The board issued a stop-work order to Joshua's Men Construction Co. of Riverdale, Ga., on Monday for operating without a worker's compensation policy. The workers for the subcontractor were performing masonry work on the $6 million, 88-room hotel that was slated to open in February, the state agency reported.

The stop-work order does not affect the site's general contractor, DEC Management of Atlanta.

The construction site was shut down for several days in October after August Corviso, 53, of North Carolina, died after he fell 25 feet on the site. Another worker was injured in the incident.

The order can be rescinded once the Joshua's Men Construction Co. shows proof of worker's compensation coverage.

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