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Falls Council to cut $35,000 from church-run youth program

NIAGARA FALLS – The City Council voted, 3-2, Monday to cut $35,000 from a program operated by a church to help young people with job and life skills.

The city decided to make a cut in programs funded by its federal Community Development Block Grant, after the Department of Housing and Urban Development demanded repayment of money it granted in 2000 for a project that was never built.

Community Development Director Seth Piccirillo said the alternative was paying the HUD bill from the city’s general fund.

A proposal to include youth programs operated by the Police Department and the Niagara Falls Housing Authority in the cut was altered by the Council.

Councilmen Robert Anderson, Samuel Fruscione and Glenn Choolokian voted for the cut to the New Jerusalem Reporting Center, which Piccirillo said still will receive $40,000 in federal money this year, more than any other human services agency in the city.

Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti and Councilman Charles Walker voted against the reduction.