Nearly $90,000 in casino funds to go to fire and rescue, business development, Fishcap, downtown revitalization in Massena
Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 12:09 pm

By ANDY GARDNER

MASSENA Five local agencies and efforts will get a boost from a casino compact payment, the Town Council decided Wednesday. The vote was 4-0-1; Councilman Thomas Miller abstained because of his involvement with the fire department.

The BDC will get $15,000; $10,000 will go to FISHCAP; $35,000 will go to the Massena fire and rescue departments; $20,000 will go to the Downtown Revitalization Committee; $8,240.81 will go to airport promotion and improvement.

The downtown committee’s portion was met with some resistance – council members thought the money could be better spent helping the Business Development Corporation makeup a $106,000 shortfall in their railroad project funds. They had asked the town for the money earlier during budget talks.

“I’m not sure it’s a return on the investment,” Councilman John Macaulay said.

“I’m against putting it in downtown,” Councilman Charles Raiti said. “If the downtown wants $20,000, put it into the railroad and wait for the next check.”

Supervisor Joseph Gray noted the town can submit a plan to the state that allocates the money for the Downtown Coalition and later change their mind and give it to the railroad project, should they choose to do so. They both are economic development projects, a criterion for casino revenue spending.

The BDC’s money will be to offset a pledge the town had made during the earlier budget talks.

Gray said he’d like to see the airport money spent in improved signage on the highways, making it easier for people to find. He said he was also considering approaching Cape Air to go halves on billboards advertising the airport and Cape Air services, either on the U.S. or Canadian side of the border.

The fire department will get $33,600 to buy new thermal imaging technology and upgrade to digital radios; the remaining $1,400 will buy the rescue squad a new Stokes basket, which is used to get patients out of hard-to-reach areas.