Niagara Gazette

Local News

February 26, 2013

City officials bracing for potential fiscal crunch

Niagara Gazette — City lawmakers vowed earlier this month to get together on a more regular basis to discuss the city's financial future. 

So far, no meetings have been scheduled.

During the Feb. 19 council meeting, lawmakers and Mayor Paul Dyster agreed on the need to formulate a plan for dealing with the city's ongoing cash crunch, which is expected reach a breaking point this summer if the city does not receive roughly $60 million being withheld due to the ongoing dispute gaming revenue dispute between the Seneca Nation of Indians and New York state.

Dyster said he and members of his administration will monitor the cash flow situation as the year progresses — as they do consistently — and deal with fiscal issues as they arise.

"That's ongoing," he said. "It never stops."

Dyster said it is not helpful to simplify any potential budget issues to the stoppage of casino funds.

"There are issues beyond the casino revenues that we have to address to get our long-term revenues and long-term expenses in line," Dyster said.

He and other city officials will closely monitor and react to the many possible situations in store for this fiscal year, Dyster said.

"As things come up on the horizon that need to be addressed in a certain time frame I will make proposals to deal with those issues, if and when they come up," the mayor said.

City officials may not be on the same page when it comes to how best to deal with the situation, but they seem to agree on the need for some type of contingency plan outlining what is to be done if the casino money does not come through by mid-year as anticipated.

Dyster and other state officials have maintained the state will get the money it is owed and the binding arbitration process that will bring an end to the dispute will conclude in the first half of 2013.

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