By Michael Regan firstname.lastname@example.org
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — As the North Tonawanda Common Council nears the completion of 2014 budget discussions and moves toward a vote, the city will have an extra $70,000 to work with in unexpected funds.
City Clerk-Treasurer Scott Kiedrowski said he was contacted by California State Comptroller John Chiang’s office in May informing him that North Tonawanda was owed the unclaimed funds that are believed to have been tied to a local property in escrow.
“I received a letter from Mr. Chiang’s office regarding the possibility that the State of California may be holding monies belonging to the City of North Tonawanda,” Kiedrowski said. “To ensure this was not part of a scam I immediately turned the matter over to the city attorney.”
Once in his hands, City Attorney Shawn Nickerson said this week that he too was suspicious of the the claim that the city was owed the money. The city attorney contacted an auditor at the comptroller’s office as well as a representative at Bank of America, which is holding the funds.
He said upon verifying that the funds were legitimate, he completed the necessary paperwork and sent it to the comptroller’s office. And while both he and Kiedrowski seem unsure precisely why the city is receiving the sudden funding boost, the scenario checked out, with the final determination that the funding has “something to do with a bank foreclosure that is escrow money due back to the city,” Nickerson said.
“As of Friday we will have $70,000 back to the city,” he said, adding that the money will be moved to the city’s general fund.
The announcement comes as the city moves to finalize Mayor Rob Ortt’s budget proposal of $36,576,474 with a public hearing set for Nov. 7 and a vote due on Nov. 12.
If approved the budget would not raise taxes, while the city would have a fund balance of more than $3 million.