IDA responds to Nichol’s request for First Arena money, maintenance

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The Chemung County Industrial Development Agency, who own First Arena, released a lengthy statement regarding the arena’s future.

According to the IDA, under the lease, CAN-USA, run by Robbie Nichols, is obligated to pay $125.00 per month, property taxes, and all expenses related to routine repair and maintenance of the building and outdoor premises.

Nichols recently brought the arena up to code after Chemung County released a list of violations the areana faced. The Elmira Enforcers owner says he’s put about $120,000 into the arena that the IDA should pay him back.

“CAN-USA has made several public statements suggesting CCIDA is withholding repayment without justification,” said Christina Sonsire, Secretary to the CCIDA Board of Directors. “To the contrary, CCIDA has an absolute duty to taxpayers to make every dollar we spend is done appropriately.

“The expenditures CAN-USA has asked us to make raise many important questions that we must answer before any money can be paid. Specifically, many of the requests appear to be related to routine repair and maintenance, something CAN-USA is required to pay.”

“Under the lease, CAN-USA is obligated to pay $125.00 per month, property taxes, and all expenses related to routine repair and maintenance of the building and outdoor premises. The lease required CCIDA to pay the first $103,000 of First Arena utility bills issued to CAN-USA, after which CAN-USA assumed responsibility for them. CCIDA honored its agreement to pay the first $103,000 of utility bills. Responsibility for these bills has since shifted to CAN-USA.

The lease also requires CCIDA to reimburse CAN-USA up to $200,000 for repairs it makes to the First Arena’s ice plant along with capital improvements completed within the first year of the lease. All claims for reimbursement must be made in accordance with a process set forth in the lease that calls for at least two estimates and prior approval of CCIDA, and must meet the definition of capital improvements, i.e. a permanent structural change or the restoration of some aspect of a property that will either enhance the property’s overall value, prolongs its useful life, or adapt it to new uses.”

“The future of the First Arena is very important to CCIDA and the community,” Sonsire said. ‘We are working very hard to make sure this valuable asset is protected while also honoring our duty to the taxpayers to be watchdogs for their money.”

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