Niagara Gazette

Local News

November 13, 2012

Power deal debated by city council, mayor

Niagara Gazette —

Members of the city council are wary about an offer from the New York Power Authority.

Council members peppered Mayor Paul Dyster with questions about the proposed deal which would accelerate funding from the 2005 relicensing settlement agreement between the power authority and Niagara Falls.

Dyster said there aren’t many clear answers to the questions that council members had, but that the specifics of the deal would become clear after further conversations with the power authority.

"The issues that council is raising are the same issues that we raised internally," the mayor said. "We're absolutely running down the same thought trail."

Dyster, Council Chairman Sam Fruscione and city lawyers will meet today to discuss the possibility of the city accepting the power authority money.

The power authority has passed a resolution which will allow for the city to take a lump sum payment of $13.45 million in lieu of the remaining 44 years of the city's annual host communities payment of $850,000. If the city were to keep the current agreement it would receive a total of $37.5 million over the remaining years of the deal.

The $13 million sum is the product of a complicated discount rate formula outlined in the agreement. 

Included in the resolution approved by power authority trustees on Friday is a notation that the city has requested to retain the option of repaying the funds and returning to the original agreement, which the authority agreed to honor.

"Authority staff is amenable to this and will incorporate it into the agreement between the city and the authority to effectuate the agreement," the resolution says.

A power authority spokesperson told the Gazette that it has started to draft specifics for the agreement but could give no details.

Fruscione said the council majority was not willing to accept the deal without knowing more. But he feels this is a bad deal for the city and that the New York Power Authority is taking advantage of the city's vulnerable situation, something that the state created.

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