Niagara Gazette — The Seneca Nation of Indians and New York state are currently going through a binding arbitration process that will put an end to the four-plus year dispute over the exclusivity clause in the 2002 gaming compact that caused the Senecas to stop making payments to the state and, in turn, the host communities of Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Salamanca in 2009.
Dyster and state officials close to the situation maintain the arbitration process is on schedule to end by mid-year and that the state will receive the money it is owed.
But, if the process is at all delayed or the arbitration panel sides with the Senecas, the city could face major financial issues this summer.
Brown told the Gazette last week that with no new revenue source the city would face cash flow issues by late summer.
Her first priority is to continue to make bond debt payments and pay pension obligations.
“I’m going to pay the bond before anything else,” she said.
Dyster said the governor’s program could help the city deal with any complications or delays in the delivery of the casino revenues, as well as the long-term structural financial issues the Falls and many other upstate cities are facing.
“We’re going to be aware of whatever other initiatives there are out there that could be helpful to us,” Dyster said.
Councilman Charles Walker raised concerns over the possible cash crunch at the Feb. 19 council meeting. Last week he told the Gazette that he was hoping to help the city put together a seven-person panel with representatives from the council, the mayor’s administration, various department heads and public safety officials to analyze and prepare for any issues.
At Monday’s city council meeting Walker said the program could work hand-in-hand with the city panel to compliment and guide its work, but should not be viewed as a replacement.