Niagara County, New York

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Niagara County, New York
Seal of Niagara County, New York
Seal
Map of New York highlighting Niagara County
Location in the state of New York
Map of the U.S. highlighting New York
New York's location in the U.S.
Founded1808
SeatLockport
Largest cityNiagara Falls
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

1,140 sq mi (2,953 km²)
523 sq mi (1,355 km²)
617 sq mi (1,598 km²), 54.12%
Population
 - (2010)
 - Density

216,469
414/sq mi (159.7/km²)
Websitewww.niagaracounty.com
 
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Niagara County, New York
Seal of Niagara County, New York
Seal
Map of New York highlighting Niagara County
Location in the state of New York
Map of the U.S. highlighting New York
New York's location in the U.S.
Founded1808
SeatLockport
Largest cityNiagara Falls
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

1,140 sq mi (2,953 km²)
523 sq mi (1,355 km²)
617 sq mi (1,598 km²), 54.12%
Population
 - (2010)
 - Density

216,469
414/sq mi (159.7/km²)
Websitewww.niagaracounty.com

Niagara County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2010 census, the population was 216,469. The county seat is Lockport. The county name is from the Iroquois word Onguiaahra; meaning the strait or thunder of waters.[1] It is the location of Niagara Falls and Fort Niagara, and has many parks and lake shore recreation communities. In the Summer of 2008 Niagara County celebrated its 200th Birthday with the first town of the county, Town of Cambria.

Niagara County is part of the Buffalo–Niagara Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Contents

History

When counties were established in the New York colony in 1683, the present Niagara County was part of Albany County. This was an enormous county, including the northern part of New York State as well as all of the present State of Vermont and, in theory, extending westward to the Pacific Ocean. This county was reduced in size on July 3, 1766 by the creation of Cumberland County, and further on March 16, 1770 by the creation of Gloucester County, both containing territory now in Vermont.

On March 12, 1772, what was left of Albany County was split into three parts, one remaining under the name Albany County. One of the other pieces, Tryon County, contained the western portion (and thus, since no western boundary was specified, theoretically still extended west to the Pacific). The eastern boundary of Tryon County was approximately five miles west of the present city of Schenectady, and the county included the western part of the Adirondack Mountains and the area west of the West Branch of the Delaware River. The area then designated as Tryon County now includes 37 counties of New York State. The county was named for William Tryon, colonial governor of New York.

In the years prior to 1776, most of the Loyalists in Tryon County fled to Canada. In 1784, following the peace treaty that ended the American Revolutionary War, the name of Tryon County was changed to honor the general, Richard Montgomery, who had captured several places in Canada and died attempting to capture the city of Quebec, replacing the name of the hated British governor.

In 1789, Ontario County was split off from Montgomery. In turn, Genesee County was created from Ontario County in 1802.

Niagara County was created from Genesee County in 1808. It was, however, larger than the present Niagara County even though it consisted of only the Town of Cambria.

From 1814 to 1817, records of Cattaraugus County were divided between Belmont (the seat of Allegany County) and Buffalo (then in Niagara County).

In 1821, Erie County was created from Niagara County.

The county has a number of properties on the National Register of Historic Places.[2]

Geography

Niagara County is in the extreme western part of New York State, just north of Buffalo and adjacent to Lake Ontario on its northern border and the Niagara River and Canada on its western border. The border results in a number of ongoing Illegal Immigration cases, though these crimes are more common to the east where the border is across land rather than a surface water body.

The primary geographic feature of the county is Niagara Falls, the riverbed of which has eroded seven miles south over the past 12,000 years since the last Ice Age. The Niagara River and Niagara Falls, are in effect, the drainage ditch for four of the Great Lakes which constitute the largest supply of fresh water in the world. The water flows north from Lake Erie, then through the Niagara River, goes over Niagara Falls, and then on to Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, eventually emptying into the North Atlantic Ocean. Today, tourists and visitors to the Falls only see half of the natural water flow over the Falls, since the other half has been taken for hydroelectric power purposes. Both the American and Canadian side of the Niagara River have massive electrical power plants.

The spectacular Niagara Gorge is the path Niagara Falls has taken over thousands of years as it continues to erode. Niagara Falls started at the Niagara Escarpment which cuts Niagara County in half in an East-West direction. North of the Escarpment lies the Lake Ontario plain, which is a fertile flatland that is used to grow grapes, apples, peaches and other fruits and vegetables. Viticulture, or wine culture has begun to take place, with several wineries below the escarpment. This has helped to improve the depressed economy of the region. To further capitalize on economic development, the state has created the Niagara Wine Trail.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,140 square miles (3,000 km2), of which 523 square miles (1,350 km2) is land and 617 square miles (1,600 km2) (54.12%) is water.

Adjacent counties and areas

Major highways

Niagara County Routes

Niagara County Routes

County Government and Politics

Structure of County Government

Niagara County is governed by a 15-member Legislature, with the Chairman of the Legislature as the de facto head of county government. Currently, there are 12 members of the Republican-led Majority Caucus and 3 members of the Democrat-led Minority Caucus. The Legislature formerly consisted of 19 members, but was downsized to 15 seats effective January 1, 2012 based on the results of a public referendum.

A subordinate county manager reports to the County Legislature. Jeffrey M. Glatz is Niagara County Manager, with a four-year term commencing December 1, 2010.

Leadership of the Niagara County Legislature

Full membership of the Niagara County Legislature

(Majority Caucus in bold; Minority Caucus in ital.)

Legislator Clyde L. Burmaster (1st District—Towns of Lewiston and Porter)
Legislator William L. Ross (2nd District—Towns of Wheatfield and Lewiston)
Legislator Cheree J. Copelin (3rd District—LaSalle/City of Niagara Falls)
Legislator Owen Steed (4th District—City of Niagara Falls)
Legislator Jason A. Zona (5th District—City of Niagara Falls)
Legislator Dennis F. Virtuoso (6th District—City of Niagara Falls)
Legislator Kathryn L. Lance (7th District—Town of Wheatfield and City of North Tonawanda)
Legislator Peter E. Smolinski (8th District—City of North Tonawanda)
Legislator Paul B. Wojtaszek (9th District—City of North Tonawanda)
Legislator David E. Godfrey (10th District—Towns of Cambria, Wilson and Wheatfield)
Legislator Anthony J. Nemi (11th District—City of Lockport, Towns of Lockport and Pendleton)
Legislator Richard E. Updegrove (12th District—Town of Lockport and City of Lockport)
Legislator Wm. Keith McNall (13th District—City of Lockport)
Legislator John Syracuse (14th District—Towns of Newfane and Somerset)
Legislator Michael A. Hill (15th District—Towns of Royalton and Hartland)

Governing functions of the Legislature rely on a committee system; currently, there are five standing committees and one long-term ad hoc committee. The five standing committees are Administration, chaired by McNall; Community Services, chaired by Nemi; Community Safety and Security, chaired by Wojtaszek; Economic Development, chaired by Updegrove; and Public Works, chaired by Burmaster. An ad hoc Refuse Disposal District Committee is chaired by Syracuse.

The Administration Committee has oversight of the following government departments: County Manager, County Attorney, Management & Budget, Treasurer, Audit, Real Property, Data Processing, Legislature Office, Printing/Mailing, Human Resources, Civil Service, Risk Management, and Board of Elections.

The Community Services Committee has oversight of the following government departments: Social Services, Employment & Training, Youth Bureau, Office of Aging, Public Health, Mental Health, NCCC, County Clerk/DMV, Historian, and Veterans Services.

The Community Safety and Security Committee has oversight of the following government departments: Sheriff, District Attorney, Public Defender, Probation, Fire Coordinator/Emergency Services, and Coroners.

The Economic Development Committee has oversight of the Niagara County Center for Economic Development and the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency.

The Public Works Committee has oversight of the following government departments: Public Works, Parks/Golf Course, Refuse Disposal District, Sewer District, Water District, and Weights & Measures.

Additionally, the ad hoc Refuse Disposal District Committee has oversight of that District.

Political Composition of County Government

The dominant political party in the Niagara County Legislature is currently the Republican Party, which is ancestrally the dominant party in Niagara County. However, the Majority Caucus which controls 12 seats in the 15-member Legislature includes one member of the New York State Conservative Party and one member of the New York State Independence Party. The Minority Caucus, meanwhile, is composed entirely of members of the Democratic Party.

Other County Government Entities

In addition to the areas mentioned above, much of Niagara County is serviced by a Water District and a Sewer District. Both bodies are subordinate to the County Legislature; the former has a direct relationship, while the latter is currently under limited oversight of the town supervisors within the district.

Other elected officers of county government

County Clerk Wayne F. Jagow (R)
Treasurer Kyle R. Andrews (D)
Sheriff James R. Voutour (D)
District Attorney Michael J. Violante (R)
Coroner, 1st District Cindy Lou Joyce (D)
Coroner, 2nd District Joseph V. Mantione (R)
Coroner, 3rd District Kenneth V. Lederhouse (R) Lederhouse is also the senior coroner, having served longest of the four county coroners.
Coroner, 4th District Richard Rutland (R)

Demographics

Historical populations
CensusPop.
18108,971
182022,990156.3%
183018,482−19.6%
184031,13268.4%
185042,27635.8%
186050,39919.2%
187050,4370.1%
188054,1737.4%
189062,49115.4%
190074,96120.0%
191092,03622.8%
1920118,70529.0%
1930149,32925.8%
1940160,1107.2%
1950189,99218.7%
1960242,26927.5%
1970235,720−2.7%
1980227,354−3.5%
1990220,756−2.9%
2000219,846−0.4%
2010216,469−1.5%

As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 216,469 people, 87,846 households, and 58,593 families residing in the county. The population density was 420 people per square mile (162/km²). There were 95,715 housing units at an average density of 183 per square mile (71/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 90.70% White, 6.15% Black or African American, 0.94% Native American, 0.58% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.40% from other races, and 1.21% from two or more races. 1.33% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 23.6% were of German, 18.1% Italian, 11.3% Irish, 11.2% Polish and 8.3% English ancestry according to Census 2000. 94.5% spoke English, 1.6% Spanish and 1.0% Italian as their first language.

There were 87,846 households out of which 30.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.30% were married couples living together, 12.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.30% were non-families. 28.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the county the population was spread out with 24.70% under the age of 18, 8.50% from 18 to 24, 28.40% from 25 to 44, 23.10% from 45 to 64, and 15.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 93.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $38,136, and the median income for a family was $47,817. Males had a median income of $37,468 versus $24,668 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,219. About 8.20% of families and 10.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.00% of those under age 18 and 7.30% of those age 65 or over.

Cities, towns, villages, and other locations

Map of Niagara County's municipalities
=> designation in parentheses shows official political level.

Indian reservations

State parks and state lands

Educational institutions

Niagara University is located in Lewiston, New York. Niagara County Community College is located in Sanborn, New York. Many Niagara County residents also attend Erie and other Western New York County Schools. In the Buffalo Metro area there more than 20 public and private colleges and universities in Buffalo and its environs offer programs in technical and vocational training, graduate, and professional studies.

See also


References

  1. ^ http://www.ongiaracollege.ca/webpages/ongiara_region.shtml Retrieved 9 October 2008
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. http://nrhp.focus.nps.gov/natreg/docs/All_Data.html. 
  3. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links

Coordinates: 43°19′N 78°47′W / 43.32°N 78.79°W / 43.32; -78.79