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Lewiston gets its share of Seneca Niagara Casino funds

LEWISTON – The Town of Lewiston was presented with a ceremonial check of $54,843, its share of nearly $1 million in annual casino revenues that Niagara County has begun sharing with area towns.

The check was presented prior to the meeting by Niagara County Legislators Clyde Burmaster and William Ross, who represent the Lewiston and Porter area.

Burmaster told The Buffalo News prior to the check presentation that the new initiative by the state “rights a wrong” of just giving millions of dollars to the City of Niagara Falls and excluding other communities.

The City of Niagara Falls will still independently receive casino revenues, about $20 million per year, but will be excluded from sharing in Niagara County funds, which are being distributed outside the city.

Ross told the board that Niagara County received an annual payment of $900,000 in gaming revenues and the Legislature made the decision to share 75 percent with the 12 towns in Niagara County and use the other 25 percent for economic development. Each town will receive a share based on its population and it will vary each year based on revenues.

They said that economic development money went to many groups in the Lewiston area such as the Lower Niagara River Chamber of Commerce, Artpark, the Lewiston Jazz Festival, the Lewiston Art Festival, Old Fort Niagara, Porter on the Lake park and local historical societies.

In another development, the board also approved a 15-year cable franchise agreement with Time Warner Cable. The previous agreement expired seven years ago.

The agreement will bring over $3 million in franchise fees to the town over the 15-year course of the agreement and would provide courtesy cable to the Town of Lewiston Senior Center; Lewiston-Porter; Sanborn, Upper Mountain and Lewiston #1 fire halls, Sacred Heart Villa School and Niagara Wheatfield School. Cable was also extended to include the Water Treatment Plant, Stella Niagara, Lewiston #2, the highway garage and the Lewiston Police station.