Massena Town Council to spend $140k of casino funds on variety of projects
Thursday, May 22, 2014 - 6:22 am

MASSENA -- The Town Council has ratified spending up to $140,258.10 from its most recent casino compact payment of $937,000.

The Massena Chamber of Commerce will get $6,000 to help staff the gift shop at Eisenhower Lock for the season. That was approved 4-1 Wednesday, with Councilman John Macaulay dissenting.

The board discussed the issue for more than 20 minutes. Macaulay believes the venture should be self-sustaining and noted the chamber already gets $9,500 from the regular budget. He noted that other town entities have cut back on seasonal youth positions, including the highway department and at the town hall.

Other board members felt the money is well-spent because the gift shop workers will act as ambassadors, directing tourists to Massena and informing them about the area.

“It’s money that’s going to come full-circle,” Councilman Samuel Carbone Jr. said.

The board unanimously approved spending $44,258.10 to market the town.

They will contract with Civic Plus of Manhattan, Ks. to update the town’s website. Town Supervisor Joseph Gray said the current site, www.massenaworks.com, is outdated. The new site would adapt to mobile devices and town residents would be able to use it to pay fees like taxes and dog licensing.

He said there are no local web designers who can provide the level of service the board wants.

“I want people to come up to us and say ‘Wow, you’ve got a nice website.’ That’s never happened,” according to Gray.

Massena will be featured on a national broadcast of a television show called “Communities of Distinction,” which will cost $19,800.

Gray said a film crew from Florida-based USM Studios will be in town for a day, possibly as early as June, and shoot 60 to 90 minutes of footage. They will condense that into a five-minute segment of a 30-minute show hosted by NFL legend Terry Bradshaw. They are guaranteed to have one episode shown on the Discovery Channel nationwide and 19 broadcasts on regional affiliates with networks such as ABC and Fox. The town will then own the rights to the five-minute segment, plus the B-roll footage.

For $500, Massena is getting a sponsorship with professional bass fisherman Chris Flint of Potsdam. Gray said Flint competes on “lower echelon Bassmaster tournaments, not the Elite series” and will display the logo on his jersey, truck and boat. Flint will also promote Massena’s fisheries on social media including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, Gray said.

The town hall, museum and public library will get security upgrades, not to exceed $80,000, the board decided. They will include card-swipe readers on the entrances to the town hall and police station, and several doors inside the town hall. All of the buildings will have an IP network and new security cameras installed.

Several town offices will get new computers at a cost not to exceed $10,000. Gray said the computers in question use the Windows XP operating system, which Microsoft no longer services. He said the old system also poses security risks. They will be upgraded to Windows 7.