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Wall Street firm lowers Niagara Falls' credit rating because of casino cash cutoff

Fitch Ratings, one of the three major Wall Street bond rating firms, reduced the City of Niagara Falls' credit rating Wednesday to BBB, a one-level reduction to a level just above junk bond status.

Fitch also changed Niagara Falls' fiscal outlook from stable to negative because of last year's cutoff of Seneca Niagara Casino revenue. The casino had provided about $13 million a year. The city is spending almost all of its casino reserves this year.

"Fitch anticipates that the state will work with the city to secure new revenue streams to balance out, and eventually replace, casino moneys as a more stable long-term funding source," the report said.

Modest growth in other revenue sources is outweighed by rising employee benefit costs, the firm said.

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