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CITY AVERTS BLACKOUT AT MARKET

The city has come to the rescue of the Broadway Market again, issuing emergency checks that will prevent a power shutoff.

The latest fiscal woes are being blamed on a delay in the receipt of $106,000 from Erie County, funding that was promised last summer after a new board was appointed to run the city-owned facility.

County officials, however, have yet to hand over the money. A county official said Monday the market could receive a check by the end of the week.

In the meantime, Paula Alcala Rosner, one of the market's most visible board members, stunned insiders Friday by resigning her post. Rosner, a city economic-development planner who helped write the market's strategic plan, said in her resignation letter that "increasing time demands" prompted her to step down.

Rosner could not be reached Monday to comment. Some insiders said they think that continuing dissension among market management contributed to her resignation.

"I'm extremely disappointed," said Ellicott Council Member Karen R. Ellington, who appointed Rosner to the board last fall. "Paula told me she was very frustrated because there are people out there who are extremely difficult to work with and just can't pull things together."

David Dale, board chairman, confirmed that the market recently received a power shutoff notice.

Tony Farina, executive assistant to City Comptroller Anthony R. Nanula, said the city issued checks amounting to $49,633 -- double the amount that Buffalo is obligated to pay to cover the market's unpaid electric and gas bills dating from December.

"They asked for our help, and the administration (of Mayor Anthony M. Masiello) backed the plan," Farina said. "We were sensitive to the fact that the Broadway Market is ready to move into its busiest season."

The market typically draws about half its annual customers during the Easter season. Masiello said the market's new board of directors and city officials clearly have "a lot of work to do" to make the 113-year-old market financially viable.

Last year, the market was on the brink of insolvency as unpaid bills threatened to force a shutdown. The city made an emergency appropriation; officials revamped the facility's board; and new bylaws were passed. Last month, managers unveiled a 34-point strategic plan that includes aggressive marketing.

Officials said they expect the market to repay the city in the near future. But Dale said uncertainty about receipt of the county aid has clouded the market's short-term financial prospects.

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