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Funding and transparency at the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp.

If the city of Niagara Falls does not extend it contract with the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. on Monday, as some lawmakers have threatened, the city's bed tax revenue will still flow to the agency.

That's because under state law, as long as Niagara County has a contract in place with the agency, the bed tax money still gets collected from the county, Niagara Falls and Lockport, said John H. Percy Jr., president and CEO of the NTCC.

So no agreement to extend the contract between the city and tourism agency does not stop the bed tax funding from flowing during the contract period.

An incorrect statement about the potential for funds to be immediately cut appeared in an earlier version of the above-linked story.

Having a contract in place would assure accountability and responsibility, Percy said.

The county and Lockport have only approved one-year extensions.

The agency’s original proposal to the county was for 15 years, and it included a provision for an independent review of the agency’s performance every three years. If the evaluation didn’t meet expectations, the proposal allowed the local government to get out of the contract, Percy said.

The county and the two cities receive audited financial statements from the agency and other financial information is publicly available because the organization is a non-profit, Percy said, adding that he does not understand what further information some officials want.

At this point, the ideal next step would be for Niagara Falls to renew for a year, Percy said.

“Then we all come to the table and we all agree on what are the differences,” he said, “and let’s get a permanent contract done.”

A study commissioned by the city of Niagara Falls in 2010 questioned certain agency expenditures.

After that study was released, Councilman Sam Fruscione said he wanted the city to consider cancelling its contract with the agency.

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City Council | city government | tourism
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About The Brink

Tales of a world-famous natural wonder and the city that surrounds it. The Brink is home for all you need to know about Niagara Falls, N.Y.

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.

@The_Brink_Blog | abesecker@buffnews.com

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