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Falls mayor vetoes proposed fees for Seneca Nation

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Buffalo: Falls mayor vetoes proposed fees for Seneca Nation
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Niagara Falls City Council members recently passed a resolution that would allow the city to charge the Seneca Nation for services, but the mayor thinks it's the wrong approach. YNN's Antoinette DelBel has more on the mayor's decision to veto the resolution.

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — Starting with a clean slate in the midst of casino revenue disputes is something Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster says he wants to do with the Seneca Nation of Indians.

The city council passed a revision to a city ordinance last month which would have allowed the city to collect money from the Senecas.

But Mayor Paul Dyster say's that's not the way to go.

"I'm very sympathetic with this idea that we need to be proactive and trying to get paid the money we're owed from the casino, this is not the way to do that,” said Dyster, (D).

Last week, the mayor made the decision to veto the council's resolution that would have charged the Senecas and Niagara Falls State Parks set fees for city services, such as snow plowing and fire and emergency calls.

"Any fees that would be generated, even if such a resolution were possible, would be chump change compared to what's owed,” Dyster said.

"Right now, something is better than nothing,” said Charles Walker.

Council member Charles Walker says charging the Senecas a fee would help the city's bottom line.

"Trying to raise revenue since we're not getting those millions, to at least get something for our services that we do provide to the Seneca Nation,” Walker said.

However, Dyster questions whether it's even legal for the city to impose service fees.

"This ordinance being put into effect would simply generate cost, because it's absolutely certain we would end up in court. And again, the way that I read the rules here, we would be likely to lose," Dyster said.

Dyster plans to sit down with the new president of the Seneca Nation of Indians, Barry Snyder, on Friday to come up with a way to solve the ongoing dispute.

In the meantime, the council is talking with its lawyers to find out if the ordinance can be enforced. If so, the council says it will likely override the mayor's veto.

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