The Barton Hill Hotel & Spa reopened Monday, exactly two weeks after a small fire damaged the inside of a first floor room. The 14-day turnaround was the result of required safety checks and maintenance. The hotel's spa services resumed on Saturday.
Monday also marked the beginning of a new financial battle for inn owners Ed and Diane Finkbeiner. The Lewiston-Porter School District filed suit over past due taxes. The hotel was awarded a payment in lieu of taxes option from Niagara County when it first opened, but that has since been revoked. Subsequently, the owners are on the hook for more than $33,000, based on last year's tax rate and their property's value.
Ed said this issue arose, in part, because of a breakdown in communication between the two sides.
"We put in some letters to them last year ... requesting that we make some payments to them," he said. "We never heard back from them."
Now, "We're regrouping to go ahead and pay the taxes," he added.
Ed stated he wasn't disappointed Lew-Port took this avenue, and said the district has to have some remedy to collect what's due. However, he said this matter is a process, and that the taxes will be paid as the hotel continues to generate income.
Lew-Port Superintendent Christopher Roser was unavailable for comment.
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