AIDA cuts funding for Amsterdam grant writer

In the past four years he has won the city $8 million in grants, but now city grant writer Nick Z


In the past four years he has won the city $8 million in grants, but now city grant writer Nick Zabawsky is out of a job.

The Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency decided in January not to renew Zabawsky’s contract, a $30,000 line item in the agency’s $300,000 operating budget.

“We just can’t afford it,” AIDA board chairman Dan DeRossi said Sunday afternoon. “We can’t afford $30,000 a year.”

Zabawsky said he received a letter from AIDA at the end of January that retroactive Jan. 1, he was no longer employed as the city’s grant writer.

DeRossi said the seven-member board, which received four new members this year, is reviewing all its contracts.

“We’ve got to stop the financial bleeding. We don’t have the millions that we had before.”

Zabawsky served as the city’s grant writer since the 1990s, under the Paul Parillo and Mario Villa administrations.

His contract was not renewed under the John Duchessi administration, but he was reinstated under the Joseph Emanuelle administration, with AIDA picking up the tab for his position.

Zabawsky said he plans to go before the AIDA board at its next meeting to plead his case. According to his math, for every $1 AIDA paid him over the last four years, he won $76 in grant money.

“That’s a pretty good deal,” he said. “If you look at the last four years, you’re going to lose $2 million a year to save $30,000 a year on a grant writer.”

Zabawsky said there were several grants he was working on, including a Community Development Block Grant from the state Office of Community Renewal, to potentially fund a housing project in the neighborhood of Hibbard and Jay streets.

The city has been successful in winning about $1.8 million through the program that will fund a portion of the Bridge Street reconstruction project on the South Side, and has funded the city’s storm water separation project to prevent sewage from flowing into the Mohawk River during heavy rains.

Categories: Schenectady County

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