Mayor Rosie Hoag at a City Council meeting Wednesday said state and other leaders are beginning to understand some of the problems confronting the city because it is located on an Indian reservation.
Mayor Hoag, who traveled to Albany July 15 to meet with state and other officials, said City Attorney Ross Peters "did an excellent job presenting our case."
Another meeting is scheduled for September, the mayor said. "We need a permanent solution to our problems," she said.
The problem that Mayor Hoag has given priority to is the continuing erosion of the city's tax base due to property tax exemptions for Native Americans who purchase property in the city, most of which is on the Allegany Indian Reservation.
In the first six months of this year, 23 properties were transferred to Native Americans resulting in a tax loss of $20,620 to the city.
In all, the city has 286 properties exempt from taxation, representing $5.8 million in assessments.
"We each now have our jobs to do, and we followed up already with letters," Mayor Hoag said of the Albany meeting.
The meeting was coordinated by Assemblywoman Patricia K. McGee, R-C-Franklinville. Also attending were Sen. Jess J. Present, R-Bemus Point, as well as representatives of the governor's office and Rep. Amory Houghton Jr., R-Corning, and Cattaraugus County Legislature Chairman Gerard Fitzpatrick.
The mayor also addressed a freedom-of-information request to the city from resident Patrick Morris for a document listing 28 concerns the city has regarding its operations.
The list was shared recently with Houghton and other officials but was not given to all Council members. Peters gave a copy of the list Wednesday to Alderman William Taylor.
Mayor Hoag said the list includes "reasons why it is very difficult to run a city on leased land."
"It's my notes, and when it comes to my notes they are not documents," she said. "This is ridiculous."
She and Peters said the list is not a public record and is not available to the public or press.
The list was compiled by Mayor Hoag, Peters, city developer Lance Anderson and City Clerk April Vecchiarella.
In other business, the Council approved two resolutions asking the Seneca Nation and Present to push for the resumption of state lottery sales in the city.
The state terminated lottery sales in the city July 8 at the request of the Seneca Nation, which does not have a compact with the state permitting the sales.