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Niagara Falls City Council chairman weighs in on casino cash

In an op-ed piece published Friday in the Niagara Gazette, City Council Chairman Glenn A. Choolokian urges careful consideration before the city decides how to spend what's going to be left of the $89 million it's getting, now that there's a deal between the Seneca Nation of Indians and the state.

Choolokian says the city should adopt a "money-management plan" as opposed to a "spending plan." 

He boils down what he says lies ahead for the city:

"The only two questions we need to keep in mind as we administer the casino funds are: Is this particular project/proposal/expenditure needed and is it good - ultimately good in the long term - for Niagara Falls and its taxpayers."

Mayor Paul A. Dyster unveiled his plans for the casino funding last week. Read more about that here.

Of the $89 million, about $23.5 million will be going to the Niagara Falls School District, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp., the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority and the Underground Railroad Commission.

After that the city needs to pay back a loan of $22.7 million from its general fund, as well as $15.7 million from its tourism and tribal funds, under the mayor's plan.

Dyster's plan also calls for re-establishing reserve funding, most of which was spent as the city waited for the casino payments the Senecas were withholding.

He's also called for $1.5 million in additional road repaving and resurfacing work.

The mayor said he expects a "substantial" fund balance in place.

Here's Choolokian's full op-ed piece.


casinos | City Council | city government | Glenn Choolokian | Paul Dyster
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Aaron Besecker

Aaron Besecker

Aaron Besecker joined The Buffalo News in 2007, where he has covered communities in Western New York as a beat reporter, multimedia journalist and assistant online editor. A Buffalo native, he began his career in journalism at the Niagara Gazette.

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