Niagara Gazette

Local News

February 21, 2013

Cuomo visit fails to shed light on casino plan

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — So the city of Niagara Falls, which included over $7 million in its adopted budget to pay for bonded debt service and to repay the special projects fund, will have to hope that the governor is right.

If the arbitration is not settled by the time those payments come due this summer the city will have to find another revenue source to pay its bills.

Mayor Paul Dyster said he has been in close consultation with high-ranking state officials who have given him every reason to believe that the city will be paid the $60 million that has been withheld from Niagara Falls since the dispute began.

“Our understanding is that the arbitration will conclude by mid-year,” he said.

If there are issues with the arbitration that result in the money not reaching the city by the time that bills come due the city has several contingency plans as options, including a negotiated spin up of state aid from the New York Power Authority and short-term borrowing options, Dyster said.

“There’s not a single answer to this question,” the mayor added. “What there is, is a set of contingency plans to deal with the issue.”

Dyster has said time and again that he believes the best result in the dispute would be for the two sides to settle outside of court. 

He feels Cuomo is using the threat of another casino as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the Senecas. But Dyster's main concern is that the city gets what it was promised in exchange for a massive plot of downtown real estate given up as part of the compact, he said.

"The most important thing in all of this, and the governor knows this, is for Niagara Falls to get the money it is owed."

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