News Column

Lockport bailout plan awaits Cuomo's signature

June 21, 2014

By Thomas Prohaska, The Buffalo News, N.Y.



June 21--LOCKPORT -- The City of Lockport can't move forward on borrowing money to pay off its deficits until Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signs a bill that passed the State Legislature Thursday night and Friday morning.

"I don't have a timetable or estimate on how long that might take," Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey said Friday.

"This bill will allow the City of Lockport to get on a better financial footing and I'm glad we could get it passed for them," said the sponsor, Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane.

The Assembly passed the bill, where it was sponsored by Assemblywoman Jane L. Corwin, R-Clarence.

The city will use the borrowing authority to sell bonds to be used to pay off deficits that accumulated from 2011 through 2013. The city will be paying off the bonds for 10 years. The interest cost is unknown, and the bill says the State Comptroller's Office will determine the exact amount of the bond issue.

As a condition of the deficit financing, the Comptroller's Office, which recommended the plan to McCaffrey June 13, will be reviewing all budgets, borrowing and major purchases by the city for the next 10 years.

The Common Council called a special meeting and public hearing Tuesday to vote unanimously in favor of the home rule request to Albany. The city used an emergency loophole in the Open Meetings Law to hold the hearing without the usual one-week notice.

Lockport Police Department Detective Lt. Todd Chenez drove the corrected paperwork to Albany in a police car Wednesday afternoon, after the first version carried by City Treasurer Michael E. White proved unacceptable because of incorrect filing instructions given by a Senate staffer.

McCaffrey has said the city would run out of money to pay its bills this summer without the borrowing authorized by this bill.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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(c)2014 The Buffalo News (Buffalo, N.Y.)

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Source: Buffalo News (NY)


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