Niagara Gazette

Local News

February 25, 2013

State to forward $2.5M to Salamanca until Seneca dispute ends; no similar deal for Falls

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — "Governor Cuomo is doing everything he can to get us paid," the mayor added. "I have every confidence that he will be successful."

State Assemblyman John Ceretto, R-Lewiston, said he has been lobbying for a source of gap money for the Falls, similar to what Salamanca received in 2011 and now again in Cuomo's 2013 budget.

He and other lawmakers went to Albany and met with Howard Glaser, the state's director of operations, to discuss a bridge loan last April.

"They said at the time that they would consider it," Ceretto said.

Ceretto followed up with a letter in June after not hearing from Glaser's office.

What came was the NYPA offer.

Ceretto also said that, as he understands it, the arbitration should finish in the first half of the year.

He introduced legislation last year that, if signed into law, would require the Senecas to make payments directly to host communities. If a dispute were to come up between the state and the Senecas again host communities would cotinue to receive payments.

"I'm hoping it gets solved in arbitration," Ceretto said. "If not I'll go back to the legislation."

Ceretto said he brings up the Falls' financial troubles every time he meets with Cuomo.

"I get the sense that they know where we stand," Ceretto said.

Niagara Falls City Council Chairman Glenn Choolokian, who went to the Albany meeting with Glaser, said he was disappointed to hear that Niagara Falls was not offered the same no-risk deal as Salamanca.

"We got a deal with restrictions and complications that could cost the taxpayers of Niagara Falls $850,000 a year," he said.

Choolokian said he has seen a pattern of Albany disregarding the Falls' financial troubles in the wake of the dispute between the Senecas and the state.

"That's kind of bad news for Niagara Falls," Choolokian said. "We were left out of the loop again."

Big Red Number $7.5M Amount Salamanca has received from the state to make up for withheld casino cash funds.

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