NYPA advances $13.5M to ease Niagara Falls budget November 9, 2012 at 1:52 pm NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (AP) – Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster’s “disaster budget” may not be quite so painful following a decision by the New York Power Authority on Friday to advance the city $13.5 million. Dyster, coping with a nearly $10 million deficit, last week presented a 2013 budget proposal that included 20 layoffs and an 8.3 percent property tax increase for homeowners. He blamed what he termed the “disaster budget” on a dispute between New York state and the Seneca Indian Nation that has held up $60 million in gambling payments due the city from the Senecas’ Niagara Falls casino. NYPA’s help doesn’t resolve the larger issue, Dyster said, but it does change his city’s budget outlook. “Difficult decisions will still need to be made, but I will submit an amended budget to the City Council for its consideration, as I am eager to work with them in addressing our fiscal situation,” he said. The NYPA money was promised to Niagara Falls as part of the 2007 relicensing of the Niagara Power Project. But instead of doling it out to the city over 44 years as planned, NYPA’s board of trustees agreed to pay it in a lump sum. The Seneca Nation operates three western New York casinos – in Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Salamanca – under a 2002 compact with the state which obligates the 8,000-member tribe to share 25 percent of slot machine revenue with the state and host cities. But Seneca leaders in 2009 halted casino payments, citing the state’s expansion of casino gambling at horse racing tracks and elsewhere as a breach of contract. The compact promises the Senecas gambling exclusivity in the area housing their casinos. The dispute is in arbitration. Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.