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The Common Council on Tuesday voted to forgive penalties and interest on back taxes accrued on the Statler building before it was purchased by developer Mark D. Croce.

The Council also voted to forgive penalties and interest on two other city buildings in “unique” circumstances, one downtown and the other on the East Side.

The back taxes were not forgiven, as the Council has no authority to do so.

The Council forgave $203,000 in penalties and interest on the Statler that accrued while the building was in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

“It is unfair that he would have to pay the back … penalties and fees for when he did not own it,” said Ellicott Council Member Darius G. Pridgen, who sponsored the resolution.

Croce purchased the building and renamed it Statler City in March 2011, and has since spent nearly $6 million renovating it.

The developer said he will pay $226,891 in back taxes. He said he is current with other taxes.

“Now that this issue is resolved, I’m in a position to pay all of the back taxes that accrued prior to my ownership,” Croce said.

The Council also forgave $13,253 in penalties and interest at the Western New York Book Arts Center, 468 Washington St., and $2,695 in penalties and interest at 949 Broadway, which houses Despensata Corp.

Both properties had situations relating to lapses in tax-exempt status, where penalties and interest accrued.

The Western New York Book Arts Center hosts classes and sells prints made by local artists and is a landlord for the Just Buffalo Literary Center.

Despensata Corp. is a not-for-profit organization that focuses on neighborhood development and historical preservation. Its relief was sponsored by Fillmore Council Member David A. Franczyk.

In other Council business:

• A task force was formed to explore ways to control the city’s population of outdoor cats.

• The Council voted to ask the Erie County Legislature to investigate “irregularities” at the Board of Elections. Franczyk voted against the measure.

• A measure seeking a comptroller’s audit of city lighting was passed. Prior audits have saved the city money, as compensation from National Grid was owed for nonworking lights.

email: jterreri@buffnews.com