Senecas give state of New York $349 million check

31 Jul 2013 Ed Drantch

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) – Casino cash is flowing once again into Western New York now that the financial standoff between New York State and the Seneca Nation has ended.

On Wednesday, the Senecas delivered a check for more than $300 million, putting those disagreements in the past. Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster says without this money there would have been big budget problems by November. And Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’s unsure how the city even managed to make ends meet.
“The Seneca agreement is one of the best pieces of news we’ve received in a very, very long time,” Mayor Dyster said.

Governor Cuomo added, “I think it’s a new day today in Niagara Falls. I think it’s been a new day for Western New York and I think today is just emblematic of that.”
The $89 million given to Niagara Falls is part of a larger pot of $349 million presented to the state. The money was withheld after years of back and forth over exclusivity rights and the establishment of “racinos.”

Seneca Nation President Barry Snyder said, it’s all in the past.
“We’re going to keep this compact intact cause we’re going to communicate and we’re going to move forward,” he assured.

The City of Buffalo also received $15.5 million and $34.5 million was given to Salamanca. But of all the host cities, Niagara Falls was impacted the most.
“Tens of millions of dollars that we had budgeted for our schools, our roads, our infrastructure were held back because the state and the Senecas couldn’t reach common ground. It was a very difficult time, but somehow we got through it,” Mayor Dyster said.

The governor praised the mayor, saying he rose to the occasion under rough economic conditions. Cuomo said he believes state government failed Niagara Falls, but this agreement will move them forward.
“It’s good for the Seneca Nation; it’s good for Niagara Falls; it’s good for Western New York; it’s good for the entire state. This is a symbol of a new day and a new relationship,” Governor Cuomo said.

The governor says all the money due to New York State by the Seneca Nation been paid, both past and present, and they’ll continue to make regular payments.

The $89 million check given to Mayor Dyster will be on display in City Hall.