A Seneca Nation offer to pay for added police presence around the Seneca Niagara Casino was rejected this week by the City Council after some Council members argued the money should come from the state.
The Seneca Niagara Falls Gaming Corp. offered to pay $27.50 per hour for each police officer called for traffic duty or to patrol the area around the casino, as well as $37.50 per hour for each captain and lieutenant on duty. That was an increase of $2.50 an hour from this year.
City officials expect the Senecas will pay the city $6,000 this year for such protection.
Legally, the casino isn't obligated to pay anything to the city for police aid, said Mayor Vincenzo V. Anello, who submitted the measure.
"This is something they are accepting to do. The Senecas feel they've done their part by having the compact with the state," he said.
The real cost for police overtime is about $44 an hour for patrol officers and $54 for supervisory officers, said City Controller Maria Brown.
Council Chairman Charles A. Walker, who voted in favor of the agreement along with Councilman Robert Anderson Jr., said he thought the Council should take help wherever it is offered.
"If you don't accept this agreement, then you get nothing. We're responsible for maintaining that traffic, whether we get paid for it (or not)," he said.
The deal was shot down, though, by a 3-2 vote because Council members felt that the state should pay for the costs, not the casino. Councilmen opposed the measure were Candra Thomason, a Republican, and Democrats James C. Stewart and Lewis "Babe" Rotella.
Although the state's finance law makes it responsible for reimbursing the host municipality of a casino for costs incurred as a result of that development, City Administrator Daniel S. Bristol said the city has never been paid by the state for its extra police, fire, water or sewer costs.
Anello said the state is supposed to pay for those services before it splits slots revenues agreed to under a compact with the Seneca Nation of Indians, 75 percent to the state and 25 percent to the locality.
The mayor wants to send a bill for services to the state Jan. 1, and all Council members told Anello they would support that move.