Assemblyman John Ceretto applauded Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday for approving a plan that will provide assistance to the City of Niagara Falls to help address budget issues related to an ongoing casino-revenue dispute between New York and the Seneca Nation. Ceretto said Niagara Falls received approximately $18 million a year in casino revenue as a host city before the dispute and is currently owed more than $60 million.
"This revenue boost will provide the City of Niagara Falls with important funding needed to meet its debt obligations, help avoid layoffs and provide necessary services in these difficult economic times," Ceretto said. "This is truly a victory for the City of Niagara Falls and shows what can be accomplished when elected officials work together for the common good. I applaud Governor Cuomo for addressing this issue and his continued focus and attention on issues impacting Western New York."
Ceretto met with the governor's office last spring in order to discuss ways to provide funding to the City of Niagara Falls while the state and Seneca Nation work to resolve the issue of casino payments to localities and exclusivity zones for the Seneca Nation's casinos.
Under the finalized plan, the New York Power Authority will accelerate payments to Niagara Falls in accordance with the 2007 re-licensing of the Niagara Power Project. NYPA will convert an $850,000 annual payment stream that it would otherwise provide the city with over the next 44 years into an equivalently valued lump-sum amount of approximately $13.45 million.
"The City of Niagara Falls was in dire circumstances, but ... today's announcement that NYPA has approved a plan to help the city address its current budget issues (will allow) us more time to find long-term solutions to the city's fiscal challenges," Ceretto said. "I commend Governor Cuomo and NYPA for today's action and I pledge to continue to work with the administration to resolve the ongoing casino revenue dispute."