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Falls lawmakers cut more than a half-million dollars from Dyster's budget

The Niagara Falls City Council has cut about $560,000 in spending from Mayor Paul A. Dyster's proposed budget for next year.

Here's what lawmakers did today:

• Cut overtime for police patrols by $113,300. (Passed 3-0, with Councilman Glenn A. Choolokian abstaining)

• Cut firefighting overtime by $77,250. (Passed 3-0, with Choolokian abstaining)

• Funded the salaries and benefits of employees in the Planning and Economic Development Department with casino revenue rather than property tax dollars (full story). (Passed 4-0)

• Restored the salary and benefits for a chief plumbing inspector position. (Passed 4-0)

• Cut the salary of the director of business development, a vacant post, to $1. (Passed 4-0)

• Cut the salary of the city engineer, another vacant position, to $1. (Passed 4-0)

Councilman Andrew P. Touma said his goal is to find at least $605,000 in cuts, or the amount Dyster's budget sought to exceed the state's property tax cap.

If the spending plan adopted by the Council were to exceed that figure, it would require four three of five lawmakers to pass it.

Dyster's proposed budget would raise residential and commercial property tax rates in the city and eliminate 17 positions from the city workforce.

All amendments are subject to the mayor's veto, which can be overridden with four votes of the Council. Councilman Robert A. Anderson Jr. did not attend today's session.

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said it would take four members of the City Council to approve an override of the state's tax cap. It would only take three votes.

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