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AUGUST 19 - AUGUST 27, 2014

One Niagara Pays Back Taxes to City

August 19, 2014

The battle is over: One Niagara has settled its longstanding tax dispute with the city and paid more than $1.6 million in taxes Monday.

The owners of One Niagara, the sometimes controversial building at 360 Rainbow Blvd. that has been battling with the city for years over taxes, on Monday delivered a check for $1,627,472.01 to the city to finally put the matter to rest and possibly usher in a new era of cooperation.

"We were paid and the check has been deposited," City Controller Maria Brown told the Niagara Gazette.

Councilman Andrew Touma, who delivered the key vote in last week's special council meeting on the tax settlement which passed 3 to 2, had called earlier Monday to advise that the city had received the check that was owed as part of the back-tax settlement approved by the council.

"We're certainly glad to get this done, and hopefully we can now move forward in a positive way," said Touma the freshman lawmaker who was joined by veteran council members Glenn Choolokian and Bob Anderson in voting to get the tax issue resolved. Voting against the settlement were Chairman Charles Walker and Kristen Grandinetti, long-time opponents of settling the long-running tax dispute.

Controller Brown confirmed that in addition to the property tax payment to the city, another payment was made ---$57,186--- to cover part of the property taxes owed by One Niagara to the Niagara Falls School District.

Under the agreement approved after months of negotiations between the city and the owners of the building, headed by Lewiston attorney Paul Grenga, One Niagara paid $1.6 million (plus fees) of the $2.3 million in back property taxes and had its assessment, a long-time bone of contention, dropped from $2.4 million to $1 million.

Touma and the other lawmakers who supported the settlement, now hope that relations between the One Niagara group and the city can move forward toward a new beginning, one that will enhance the prospects for full development of the prime downtown parcel in conjunction with other projects on the horizon for the Rainbow Blvd. block just a few hundred feet from the state park and the Rainbow Bridge.





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