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KIWI REQUEST FOR IDA LOAN STILL IN THE AIR

Kiwi International Air Lines' request for a $550,000 loan is still circling the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency, waiting to land on the board of directors' agenda.

Kiwi is seeking the loan to pay start-up and marketing costs for proposed passenger service from Niagara Falls International Airport.

Executive Director John R. Simon told the board Thursday that Kiwi still has not provided all the financial documentation the agency requested.

"They are still being cooperative, but we still do not have a full package for the revolving loan committee to review," Simon said. "Kiwi is a very fluid organization right now. They're very busy. They're somewhat apologetic."

IDA Finance Manager Gary E. Kelsey said the agency sought help from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority in hiring an airline industry consultant to help review Kiwi's submissions.

Simon vowed, "We're going to make sure we protect the taxpayers' money by doing our due diligence." Once that happens, he said, a special IDA meeting would be called to vote on the loan. County Legislature action would have to follow.

Kelsey said promoters are still trying to sell advance tickets and round up $100,000 in in-kind advertising and marketing services from local media, chambers of commerce, and other groups.

In other action at Thursday's meeting, the board adopted a 1998 budget of $604,190, up from 1997's $544,032. It projects a shortfall of $138,000, but Legislator David A. May, chairman of the IDA Budget Committee, said the budget never attempts to predict how much the agency will receive in project fees.

He noted that the IDA predicted a similar shortfall for 1997, but in fact will run in the black by about $263,000, which will be carried over to the 1998 budget as revenue.

Also Thursday, the board appointed a committee consisting of May, Legislator Robert R. Villani, and agency vice chairman Frank V. Roma to review its legal, administrative, financial and procedural policies by Jan. 1. It will handle a wide range of issues, Simon said.

Among them will be guidelines for what companies are eligible for IDA aid, consequences for defaulting on loans or bonds, agency fees and use of loan proceeds, informing the County Legislature and municipalities of IDA activities, and what to do about companies already receiving IDA assistance who plan expansions.

The IDA set a public hearing for 9:30 a.m. Nov. 12 in the Niagara Falls Public Library, 1425 Main St., on Benderson Development's $8 million continuation of its Niagara Consumer Square plaza on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Niagara Falls.

Benderson is constructing a connection between the existing Tops and Target stores, and four other buildings on the site.

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