Niagara Falls City Council torn over proposed raises

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — Sizable raises in the 2017 proposed city budget for Niagara Falls aren’t being met with welcome arms from everyone.

“To me it’s very unrealistic,” City Council member Kenny Tompkins told News 4.

“We’re in a very tight monetary situation in the City of Niagara Falls and for the Mayor to give a select few raises of this proportion I think is unreasonable,” he said.

Tompkins feels there’s a lot that needs to be fixed in the Falls before people start talking about pay bumps.

The proposed budget would move the city clerk position from part-time to full-time, which would come with a 60 percent salary bump.

“People have to do a little bit more with a little bit less. It’s time to pull the bootstraps up and time to get to work,” Tompkins said.

Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said even with the raises, the city is trimming.

“Currently we have two executive assistants. One of the executive assistants works for the City Administrator, one works for the Mayor. We’re proposing to basically eliminate those positions and to create a single Executive Assistant who would serve both offices,” Mayor Dyster told us.

Dyster’s Executive Assistant Meg Rossman makes around $40,000; if the budget is approved, she’ll make almost $60,000 as the sole Special Assistant.

This new position would also bring added responsibilities.

Tompkins is most concerned by that raise, and the boost to the City Administrator, Nicholas Melson’s salary. Melson would jump from $75,000 to $85,000 if the budget is approved.

“Both of them have only been in their job a few months, that’s a pretty hefty pay raise for someone who hasn’t proven themselves yet.”

The Mayor’s $78,000 salary will not change in the proposed budget.

The City Assessor will see a 9 percent hike in salary from the proposed budget, but they’re losing a stipend for work done in the Town of Wilson.

There will be three open hearings on the City’s proposed budget. Ultimately the City Council will need to approve it.

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