Montgomery County supervisors OK $100K for town of Amsterdam

Montgomery County will spend up to $100,000 to help the town of Amsterdam cover demolition costs for

Montgomery County will spend up to $100,000 to help the town of Amsterdam cover demolition costs for the Pioneer Street Mill.

County supervisors agreed to appropriate the money on condition the transfer is approved by the state Comptroller’s Office.

Some supervisors expressed reservations about using county money for such a purpose while others said the move will open the door for other municipalities to seek money from the county to tear down buildings.

The town of Amsterdam received a $211,500 state grant last year to help pay for the project, which is aimed at getting rid of the contaminated eyesore that’s stood vacant in a residential area for years.

The one-acre parcel adjacent to the Chuctanunda Creek was once the Rural Hosier Mill built in 1871, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The town is required to conduct an investigation and analysis of what to do with contamination on the site which includes drums, compressed gas cylinders and materials containing asbestos.

So far, the cost of the work is estimated at $740,000 and Amsterdam town Supervisor Thomas DiMezza said the town can’t afford to bear the entire burden.

DiMezza said he believes the county has a stake in the project because if the town is unable to tear down the building, it could stop paying taxes on it and the property would ultimately revert to the county.

Citing a belief that the state Comptroller’s Office disallowed a loan program for 2006 flood victims using county money, some supervisors expressed concern that the county may not be allowed to send county money to the town.

Minden Supervisor Thomas Quackenbush said that after the flood the county started organizing a no- or low-interest loan program to be directed to private property owners but someone from the state Comptroller’s Office said that was not allowed.

Quackenbush said officials changed the idea instead to loan the money to localities which could then loan out the money to residents.

“Again, we were told no,” Quackenbush said.

Palatine Supervisor Sieds Jonker said he was unsure if the county could use county taxpayer money for non-county purposes.

County Attorney Doug Landon said it would take months to get a formal opinion from the state Comptroller’s Office and said state approval might come in the form of a conversation.

DiMezza said if the measure is approved, the county will give the money directly to the town of Amsterdam which will then use it to pay for part of the costs of the building’s demolition.

Amsterdam 4th Ward Supervisor David Dybas said he wanted to support the idea because the city of Amsterdam has numerous buildings that need to be torn down and he wants the city to be “accorded the same piggy bank.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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