NIAGARA FALLS, NY (WKBW-TV) - Millions watched Nik Wallenda make history in Niagara Falls last month and it gave the region free publicity internationally.
"i think that's hard to calculate I think it's worth millions of dollars," says Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster. "But that doesn't change the fact that under the legislation we're supposed to be collecting this money."
Dyster says according to state legislation that allowed Nik Wallenda to walk over the horseshoe falls last month, the promoters and event organizer would cover all costs associated with public safety. If that's true than Dyster says Nik Wallenda owes the City of Niagara Falls $25,000 for police and fire overtime costs.
"They were arguing that they weren't responsible for the costs but that wasn't our interpretation of the legislation," says Dyster.
On Monday the Niagara Falls city council voted 4-to-1 to forgive Wallenda of the costs but Dyster says it's not that easy.
"Since the council didn't establish the fee I'm not sure if the council can forgive i," he says. "If this were something instituted by the city then the council would clearly have the power to rescind or forgive the fee."
Dyster says he asked the state comptroller for an opinion to whether or not the city should continue to pursue this debt...
State Senator George Maziarz says he is disappointed in the city's actions and says that Wallenda has already paid over "200,000 to cover costs.
Maziarz says he is focused on the long term gains.
"I'm trying to get Nik to create a permanent venue, a permanent attraction on this side of the border," Maziarz replied, "and I think this is not going to help with those efforts."