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McKinley Mall foreclosure could slam Southtowns taxpayers

HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) - Creditors have foreclosed on the McKinley Mall, and a state judge has appointed a receiver to oversee the mall's financial affairs, which could lead to a sale, bankruptcy, or liquidation.

In any case, with the mall nearly half empty, the mall's operators contend, the shopping center should not be paying the same in property taxes as when it was a thriving retail center years ago.

McKinley Mall's receiver is asking the court to cut the assessed value of the mall from about $55 million to $15 million, which Hamburg Town Supervisor James Shaw said would mean finding a way to close a quarter million dollar hole in the town's budget.

Frontier Central School Superintendent Dr. Richard Hughes said that kind of reassessment could lead to more than half a million loss in taxes for the school district.

Shaw said Hamburg officials are drawing up plans to sell off some town-owned property, but folks at Frontier Central don't have as many options.    

"We are going to cut some expenses of operation. We are in the middle of negotiations, as it relates to whether the town will to continue to operate the Woodlawn Beach State Park. That is a 10-year lease coming up."

Supt. Hughes said Frontier Central is reported to have one of the leanest school administrations in New York, so there is little room to cut at the central office.

"We are looking at every area of our budget as we go into this budget cycle. Where is there room?  Where is the things we can do that may not have as significant an impact on our students?

Attorneys for the town and the school district are in negotiations with lawyers for the McKinley Mall to come up with an acceptable valuation of the mall's property and taxes.


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