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Falls receives $13 million NYPA advance

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Buffalo: Falls receives $13 million NYPA advance
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The City of Niagara Falls has been offered some financial relief more than a week after Mayor Paul Dyster presented his proposed 2013 disaster budget to the the city council. YNN's Meg Rossman has more on a $13 million advance from the New York Power Authority and why the funds didn't come sooner.

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — Hurricane Sandy took more of a toll on the City of Niagara Falls than originally thought.

"If we could've announced this weeks ago, it would've changed the budget projections and timeline,” Mayor Paul Dyster said.

Turns out the storm pushed back a vote of the New York Power Authority to Friday morning, one that offered the city some relief from looming layoffs and an eight percent tax increase as the city awaits millions in casino revenue from the Seneca Nation.

"This $13 million changes the 2013 City of Niagara Falls budget outlook,” Dyster said following a unanimous vote by the NYPA Board of Trustees. “Difficult decisions will still need to be made."

As part of a relicensing agreement, NYPA was scheduled to make annual payments to the city over the next 44 years; instead they'll receive a lump sum payment for 2013; part of a temporary fix Dyster spent weeks working on from behind the scenes.

If casino revenues do come through, the city will be able to return the $13 million lump sum and continue to receive the $850,000 annual payments as part of their agreement with NYPA. In the meantime, Dyster plans to amend his 2013 disaster budget with the approval of the city council.

"We have a tax increase currently proposed that goes beyond the cap, we have layoffs and service cuts all of those are bad things," he said.

Just how he'll amend that budget remains to be seen. NYPA stipulates that funding be used for capital projects and infrastructure, though he stressed it is not going to completely eliminate the financial crisis.

"When you're owed $60 million, receiving a $13 million advance is very, very helpful but it doesn't solve every problem we've got."

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