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Niagara Falls' volunteer financial panel starts its work March 3

A volunteer board formed to offer suggestions for dealing with the city's financial struggles will hold its first meeting early next month.

The Niagara Falls Financial Advisory Panel will meet at 6 p.m. March 3 in Room 117 in City Hall, 745 Main St. The meeting is open to the public.

Earlier this week, the City Council appointed the panel's members: Janet Baker Scott, Doreen O'Connor, Lawrence H. Cook II, Samuel P. Granieri, Carmen A. Granto, Frank A. Soda and Dr. Jay Walker.

Established in January, the panel was created to offer advice to lawmakers on various financial matters. It came in the wake of a tough budget process that bridged a budget gap of nearly $5 million, a 6.5-percent rise in spending and a property tax increase.

The Council voted, 4-1, to approve the appointments, with Councilwoman Kristen M. Grandinetti in opposition. She described the panel's work as "well-intentioned," but said she wished the city would have entered a state program offering financial help.

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