Niagara Gazette

Local News

February 5, 2013

NFTA audit finds a lot of waste

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — The budget office determined that it cost $690,000 to operate both Falls locations during the most recent fiscal year, while the agency took in less than $150 in revenue from vending machines and food services agreements at both sites. 

State budget office officials attributed the situation to the NFTA's failure to enforce the terms of a five-year vending agreement it approved in 2007. Under that deal, the agency was to receive 30 percent of gross vending machine sales and a graduated share of revenues after the first $75,000 from restaurant sales at the Niagara Falls Transportation Center. 

During the 2007 opening of the $6.4 million transportation center, which is located near the Fashion Outlets mall, NFTA officials touted the availability of a full-service eatery called the Bijou Cafe for Metro users of the facility. The vendor is Food Art Concessions, LLC, 2495 Main St. in Buffalo.

The budget office found that the restaurant ceased operation and no vending payment had been made since December 2010, the agency took no action to evict the vendor or to solicit another vendor to provide those services. 

The contract terms specify that if the vendor fails to meet its obligations and defaults on payments, it will surrender the leased property, allowing the NFTA to contract with a new vendor. According to the report, the NFTA estimates that the current vendor owes the agency $43,000 under the existing contract terms. 

"The NFTA is not only failing to collect revenue to which it is owed, but continuing this relationship will likely result in lost revenue opportunities in the future," the state budget office concluded.

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