Tonawanda News

Local News

November 10, 2012

NYPA agrees to plug casino budget gap

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — Dyster eluded questions from reporters regarding what might happen if the state, and so the city, does not get any money as a result of the ongoing arbitration between the state and Senecas, saying that he would not entertain hypotheticals.

“Our expectation is that the arbitration will conclude in 2013, that it will conclude successfully from the perspective of the state and that will result in the state being paid what the state is owed and then the city being paid what the city is owed,” Dyster said.

Dyster said that U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins, D- Buffalo, who was elected to a new look 26th Congressional District that includes the city of Niagara Falls this week, was instrumental in ensuring that the deal would not hurt Niagara Falls down the road.

“If we decide to go back to the original arrangement there won’t be a windfall for the power authority,” Dyster said.

Dyster delayed the presentation of his proposed budget by a month, detailing what he had described as a “disaster budget.” It includes an 8.3 percent tax hike for homeowners and layoffs for 20 city employees.

The power authority trustees were scheduled to vote on the acceleration of aid at an Oct. 29 meeting that was cancelled because of Hurricane Sandy and rescheduled for Friday.

“I hope the council and the public now understands that negotiating this agreement affected the timeliness of the 2013 budget presentation,” Dyster said. “If we could have announced this initiative weeks ago, it would have changed the budget projections and timeline.”

Dyster said he now hopes to meet with city council members - who still need to approve the deal - to work towards amending his proposed budget with the power authority funds. 

“Ultimately the council makes decisions on expenditures of funds, but I’d like to sit down with council and propose a budget,” Dyster said.

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