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Website to track spending of Falls casino windfall

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

For State Senator George Maziarz, the web is the way to a new level of transparency on the way public money is spent. He is setting up a website to list how the City of Niagara Falls is spending its share of revenues from back payments to the Seneca Niagara Casino. Of $89 million from Seneca Gaming Corp., the city can spend $35 million. The website will show where that money is going.

"They will, in real time, be able to see how the casino money is being spent. How it is allocated is up to the money and the city council," said Maziarz. "But clearly, the residents of Niagara Falls have a right to know how those dollars are being spent.

Speaking at a news conference this afternoon in City Hall, Maziarz says Niagara Falls government has used the delayed casino cash as a response to every problem.

"The mayor and the city council, for the last several years, have faulted the lack of casino revenue money for just about problem that the city faces: poor housing, crime, unemployment, poverty," Maziarz said.

Maziarz, a Newfane Republican, says he is using his Senate mailing account to send a post card to every home and business in the Cataract City to explain how to find the website, with its constantly updated reports on where the cash goes.

Maziarz says from his door-to-door campaigning, he's found people most want the money spent on street paving.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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