NYPA Says It Wants To Negotiate

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Massena-area governments and schools say they deserve more money from the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and say the authority won't negotiate.

That's why state senators Patty Ritchie and Joe Griffo are telling the Power Authority it better come to the table and play nice.

"I don't really know that they are coming to the table in earnest and trying to look at this fairly and really be sensitive to the community in which they reside," Griffo said.

Right now, NYPA pays out $2.1 million dollars a year to local governments and schools, but they're angry because a similar plant in western New York gives out seven times that amount.

In a statement, NYPA said it's offering plenty, like $40 million in electricity discounts, but can't legally give governments and schools the money they want.

"They cannot legally give us money, but they can legally give it to Buffalo and Albany," Massena Mayor Jim Hidy said. "It's a double-edged sword. They make the rules, they're the ones with the power. They're lying."

Assemblywoman Addie Russell says NYPA has a point, but laws can be changed.

"We had another issue where NYPA wasn't allowed to do something because of existing state statutes," Russell said, "and we were able to change the law to allow an agreement to be implemented."

In the 1950s, the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project was constructed and started generating electricity in Massena. But for that project to happen, 38,000 acres along the river --  including homes and streets -- had to be flooded. That's why Hidy says NYPA owes them that money.

"They took taxable property and put it underwater," he said.

NYPA says it will come back to the table to negotiate. Hidy says he hopes it does, because places like Massena are dependent on the money.

Friday, September 19, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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