Niagara Gazette

Local News

November 14, 2012

NYPA deal discussed

Niagara Gazette —

City officials met Wednesday afternoon to discuss a multi-million-dollar offer from the New York Power Authority.

Mayor Paul Dyster, City Council Chairman Sam Fruscione, Councilman Glenn Choolokian and city attorneys Craig Johnson and Mort Abramowitz all met at city hall Wednesday to discuss the potential benefits and weigh the possible risks of accepting an accelerated payment of funds owed to the city by the power authority as part of a 50-year relicensing agreement. 

Dyster has encouraged city lawmakers to accept the authority's offer to provide $13.45 million in relicensing money upfront, arguing that the move would help alleviate some of the city's financial burden heading into 2013. Several council members have questioned the plan, including Fruscione and Choolokian who have said they want assurances that the deal is the best one available to the city long-term. 

Following Wednesday's meeting, Dyster said the group of city officials discussed a variety of ideas, including potential tweaks to the authority's proposal. He said his administration now intends to pass those ideas along to officials from the power authority, which will be responsible for hammering out the specific details of the advanced-payment plan. 

"I had some ideas. They had some ideas. We are going to take some of those ideas back to NYPA," Dyster said. 

"We are going to see if we can make it work," he added. 

The proposal, unveiled last week, calls for the authority to give the city a lump sum payment of $13.45 million, enough to put a serious dent in the "disaster budget" that Dyster presented on Nov. 1. Dyster and other officials supportive of the plan have suggested it would allow the city to limit tax hikes and layoffs next year. 

The city receives $850,000 each year under the relicensing agreement with the power authority. In accepting the authority's offer of an upfront, lump sum payment, the city would run the risk of forfeiting 44 years worth of remaining host community payments, an amount equal to about $22 million. 

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