As millions of dollars in casino money owed to the City of Niagara Falls hang in the balance, major projects must carry on. YNN's Antoinette DelBel explains how the mayor's 2013 budget may have an effect on an ongoing train station project.
NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y — As the City of Niagara Falls tries to keep its head above water financially, some are questioning whether there will be capital funds to finish a major train station project.
"The city is the sponsor of this project; the city has already been paying on this project to date and will continue to pay the final $3 million to complete the construction of this project," said Thomas DeSantis, Niagara Falls senior planner.
Forty million dollars in federal funds have already been allocated for the International Railway Station project, but the City has to come up with an additional $3 million.
It's something one resident fears will be at the cost of the taxpayers.
"We are in a desperate state now,” said Candace Corsaro of Niagara Falls. “How are we going to budget $3 million for the railroad station?"
Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster's so-called disaster budget proposal for 2013 calls for an 8.3 percent property tax increase due to the millions of dollars in casino revenue owed to the city from the Seneca Nation.
"It's at the wrong time for us right now. We just cannot afford it," said Corsaro.
The project's senior planner however says the $3 million would be paid in installments over a potential 30 years.
DeSantis says it's a small price to pay for a long-term investment.
"That's a fairly small amount of money to pay in order to get the infrastructure in place to get a new station, to drive new economic activity in the city," he said.
The mayor and City Council are trying to work through the budget proposal. They have until Dec. 15 to approve the budget.