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Falls council questions NYPA offer

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Buffalo: Falls council questions NYPA offer
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An offer from the New York Power Authority is raising some questions in the City of Niagara Falls, as city council members debate whether a $13 million payment to help ease the city's 2013 budget would be worth it in the long run. YNN's Meg Rossman has more on their discussion and why a lack of casino cash could affect their decision.

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — "With this cash it makes no sense at all, to me it's very similar to a person that's desperate for cash," Niagara Falls Council Chairman Sam Fruscione said Tuesday night.

Though cash is something the city could use as it waits for $60 million in casino revenue from the Seneca Nation. Last week, the New York Power Authority offered the funds in lieu of $850,000 for the next four decades as a temporary fix to hold the city over.

"This is a one shot until you pay it back and get back to the regular payment scheme," Mayor Paul Dyster explained.

But whether it's worth it in the long run is up for debate amongst city lawmakers.

If casino revenues do come through, the city can return the money and continue receiving annual payments that will total $34.7 million as part of a clause in the agreement with NYPA. If not, the city will have to make do without the funds for the next 44 years.

"It's a huge concern to look at one year and give up $24 million just to settle one year's budget," Councilman Charles Walker said.

Councilman Glenn Choolokian said the fact that casino revenues have been withheld for more than three years was also a concern.

"Everybody is talking about this casino money like its coming and we don't know the outcome," he said.

And no one will until arbitration over the money wraps in 2013. In the meantime, Dyster plans to meet with council members Wednesday to discuss the offer and its potential effects on the next year’s budget.

"I'd like to try to find a cooperative solution, collaborative solution to that I think that would be the best thing moving forward," he said.

A 2013 budget needs to be approved by December 15.

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