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Niagara Falls mayor threatens to pull fire coverage at Seneca casino

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WBFO News file photo
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Seneca Niagara Casino, Niagara Falls, NY

Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster says he has no plans to lay off any firefighters to help deal with budget crisis. 

However, the mayor added that continued financial troubles could mean the city's fire department might not respond to alarms at the Seneca Niagara Casino.  At a 9-11 remembrance event yesterday, Dyster said that he cannot guarantee casino fire coverage if he has to implement a disaster budget for next.

"Here I am facing the possibility of a budget that lays off firefighters and it is caused by the fact that the casino is not paying the state and the state is not paying the city," said Dyster.

Niagara Falls is owed more than $50-million of casino revenues, but it has not been paid due to a dispute between the Seneca Nation and New York State over raceway casinos.  The Seneca's say the state is violating its casino compact by allowing the raceway gaming.  

Payments are also being withheld from the city of Buffalo and Salamanca.  

But Dyster said his budget situation is "very dire." 

"I want to call Seneca president Porter to talk to him about this," said Dyster. "I think the city of Niagara Falls is being taken for granted in this process.  That has to end," said Dyster.

Mark Wozniak, WBFO's local All Things Considered host, has been at WBFO since mid-1978.