NIAGARA FALLS, NY — Backlash from New York State's ongoing dispute with the Senecas over casino revenue continues to hit the Cataract City hard, and the latest victim is the city's annual fireworks display.
Niagara Falls won't have fireworks on the 4th of July this year, as it continues to deal with the budget crunch the casino dispute has caused.
Two weeks ago, the city council unanimously voted down Mayor Paul Dyster's proposal to authorize $25,000 in funding for the annual fireworks display.
Council member Chris Voccio said the city simply cannot afford any extraneous expenses right now.
"Funds are tight in the city of Niagara Falls," Voccio said. "We just felt that considering the constraints we have financially, the best bet was to vote against it. That's why it was unanimous."
Voccio said the Independence Day event also requires funding for fire and police patrol, and he claims the crowd sometimes causes problems for local businesses and residents.
The mayor, however, doesn't agree with the council on this issue.
"We thought that with the budget of over 90 million dollars that it's a relatively modest investment to make for our most important national holiday. But at the end of the day, the city council decides what we do and don't spend money on," Dyster said.
The Seneca Nation and Canada are both still expected to hold separate fireworks displays at Niagara Falls.
Meanwhile, the casino revenue dispute that served as the catalyst for the council's decision remains in arbitration.