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Schenectady YWCA eyes loan to avoid foreclosure

Schenectady YWCA eyes loan to avoid foreclosure

The YWCA will take out a loan to put an end to a series of foreclosure notices.

The YWCA will take out a loan to put an end to a series of foreclosure notices.

The Schenectady agency is yet again scheduled for a foreclosure auction, this time on July 19.

American Tax Funding has filed foreclosure papers against the YWCA three times in the past seven months. Although the YWCA’s properties on Washington Avenue are tax-exempt, the agency must pay sewer and water fees, and it fell behind in 2004. The city sold the liens for those bills to ATF, which has added 21 percent interest.

Executive Director Rowie Taylor said the YWCA is struggling because it’s not bringing in enough money to pay the bills. She had hoped ATF would cut a deal and reduce the interest owed on the water and sewer fees.

“Our attorney’s been working with them to get some abatement on the interest,” she said. “They could’ve said, ‘Hey, we’re done. There’s no abatement on the interest.’ ”

Instead, ATF filed for foreclosure — again.

“It’s awful. It’s extremely embarrassing,” Taylor said. “It really affects our ability to be viewed as competent businesswomen in the community.”

The agency gave ATF $20,000 to begin paying off the bill after the first foreclosure notice in December. Then they began dickering over the interest.

“We just wanted to make sure it was the right amount,” she said. “I understand it’s their business, but they are really difficult to work with.”

The YWCA runs a battered women’s shelter and a city pool, as well as many services. Taylor said that work is not in jeopardy.

“It’s not going to happen,” she said of the foreclosure. “We play a hugely important role in the community and we certainly intend to continue that.”

But it’s not easy.

“Cash flow is really difficult,” she said.

In December, the YWCA reached an agreement with ATF to immediately pay the principal of the sewer and water bill and then pay the interest back slowly. Taylor thought the agency owed $32,316 in principal, and said the YWCA paid $20,000 up front.

In March, ATF sued to foreclose again, for $12,000 in principal and interest on sewer and water bills. This time, Taylor said, the bills were for the YWCA’s property at 38 Washington Ave. She had believed the agreement in December included both that building and the main building at 44 Washington Ave.

Taylor said it was negotiations over the interest owed on 38 Washington Ave. that led to the most recent foreclosure notice.

ATF did not return a call seeking comment for this story.

The YWCA employs 80 people and has an annual operating budget of approximately $3.1 million.

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