NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - While Niagara Falls took time to honor two of its bravest who rushed to Ground Zero after the attacks, the mayor used the opportunity to raise concerns about another issue: casino cash.
Niagara Falls firefighters honored two of their own on Tuesday at an engine dedication ceremony. At the event, Mayor Paul Dyster said days of responding to calls at the Seneca Niagara Hotel may be numbered.
"The entity that creates perhaps the greatest firefighting challenge for the City of Niagara Falls, the high-rise Seneca hotel at the casino, is not paying their fair share of our public safety services," Dyster said.
It comes down to $60 million that the Senecas have not paid to New York state. It's money that is doled out to Niagara Falls and, in turn, spent on public safety expenses.
Dyster said, "I'm rapidly reaching the point where I might have to talk to my fire chief about whether I would ask my firefighters to respond to a contingency in that high-rise hotel at a time where they're not keeping up their part of the social compact."
During his 11-minute speech, Dyster said he may be forced to lay off those who fight fires, without that money.
Dyster noted, "How could I lay off firefighters and ask them to respond to the Seneca Hotel without having taken some sort of dramatic step to make sure they pay their fair share?"
The Seneca Nation of Indians wouldn't comment on what Dyster said. However, they did say the state has the resources to pay Niagara Falls, even if the Senecas won't.
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