A deal for how to spend local revenues of casino cash has been agreed to by state lawmakers, but it must be signed by the governor to become law.

State Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, said he is planning to meet with staff from Gov. George Pataki’s office later this week to discuss the deal. The governor’s office still is reviewing terms of the deal, and a timeline for making a decision on whether to accept it has not been set, according to Pataki spokesman Saleem Cheeks.

Early versions of an agreement included funds for USA Niagara, the downtown development agency created by Pataki.

The latest agreement does not make specific provisions for the agency but states that the city of Niagara Falls can use its share on USA Niagara projects, if it wishes.

Asked if USA Niagara had concerns about this, agency President Christopher Schoepflin refused to comment.

“It’s really an issue for the governor’s office,” Schoepflin said.

Maziarz and Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte, D-Lewiston, worked out an agreement in late November regarding how to spend the local share of slot-machine revenues from Seneca Niagara Casino.

A memorandum of understanding between the lawmakers governs revenues from 2004 and 2005. The memorandum was passed this year, before terms of the deal were set. For the document to take effect, leadership of both houses of the state Legislature and the governor must sign it.

Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno doesn’t have a problem with the MOU and is expected to sign it, according to Maziarz, who met with Bruno to discuss the topic.

The signing could happen before the end of the year, if all parties agree, as the Legislature does not need to be in session.

Niagara Falls and other agencies that stand to benefit from the deal have been waiting to receive the local share of 2004 revenues, estimated at $11.6 million, since early this year.

Legislation detailing how revenues from 2006 to 2016 will be spent is expected to be introduced in both houses of the state Legislature in January.

Contact Jill Terreri at (716) 282-2311, Ext. 2250.

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