Two members of the Niagara Falls City Council intend to get money from the Seneca Nation of Indians and New York state one way or another.
Council Chairman Sam Fruscione and Councilman Glenn Choolokian have submitted a resolution which would amend an ordinance allowing the city to collect fees for emergency response and maintenance services at the Seneca Niagara Casino complex and New York State parks property that falls within the city limits.
"It's another way we're trying to be creative to get some revenue back to the city," Choolokian said.
The resolution, which is scheduled to be considered during Monday's council meeting, lists the types of emergency calls that the city will charge for and varying associated fees, ranging from $148 to $548 per call.
The resolution targets both the Senecas and the state because both parties benefit from the gaming compact and both have the ability to end the ongoing casino cash dispute, Choolokian said.
"If Niagara Falls wasn't involved, the casino wouldn't be here and the Senecas and the state wouldn't be making piles of money," Choolokian said.
The resolution also contains a list of maintenance services such as snow removal, salting and road patching and the fees associated with that work.
Choolokian said that after three years of sitting out the fight and waiting for a resolution the city can no longer afford to remain idle.
"I don't know who is fighting for us," Choolokian said. "Everybody forgot about little old Niagara Falls."
Mayor Paul Dyster - who threatened during a press conference in September to end emergency response services to the casino at the end of 2012 - said he understands the council's frustration, but cautioned against giving the Senecas an issue to speak out on and giving the appearance of neutrality by going after money from both the Senecas and the state.
"Our position is to support the state in the arbitration dispute being that they are fighting for our interests and our money," Dyster said.
Even if the fire company had to visit the casino or the parks 10 times a day, the amount of money would not come close to the more than $60 million that is owed to Niagara Falls, Dyster said.
"It's not in anyway, shape or form a substitute for the money from the gaming compact," Dyster said.
Arbitration between the Senecas and the state is underway but it will likely be months before the matter is settled, state officials close to the situation have said.