GHA optimistic on collecting debts

GHA executive director Heather Reynolds said Tuesday that the collection firm recently appointed by Board of Commissioners will begin submitting quarterly reports informing the authority of any recouped fees. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

GLOVERSVILLE — The Gloversville Housing Authority has not received any feedback from a recently hired collection firm, but GHA executive director Heather Reynolds is optimistic.

During Tuesday’s GHA Board of Commissioners meeting, Reynolds said that she met with the authority’s collection firm, Upstate Collection Center Inc. of Niskayuna, earlier in the day to discuss the service, requesting that they provide the GHA with quarterly reports.

The GHA board voted to sign a contract hiring Upstate in October after being forced to write off $15,450 that was deemed uncollectible, owed by former tenants in 2017 in back rent and property damages.

At the time, interim executive director Daniel Towne said that the GHA had written off a similar amount in 2016 and about $3,500 in 2015.

Board member John Poling pushed for engaging Upstate in October, having worked with the agency previously through his position at a credit union.

Poling said that the agency has no upfront costs, instead keeping 33 percent of any collections made on behalf of the authority as payment. The agency’s pay rate is increased if the collection goes into further stages.

As of Tuesday’s meeting, Reynolds said that a total of $25,800 owed to the housing authority across all three properties had been sent to Upstate for collection since the contract was signed, and the GHA has not received feedback on the status of the collection so far.

Reynolds said that she met with the firm to establish the quarterly reporting schedule and to go over the collection process as she was not with the housing authority when the contract was signed.

Reynolds was approved to fill the executive director position by the board during the Jan. 17 meeting with a start date of Feb. 1. Towne agreed to stay on for a few weeks to assist Reynolds during the transition.

Reynolds did not speculate on the prospect of collecting the owed fees, but was optimistic that the service would prove beneficial over time.

“With any collections it takes time, it’s not overnight. We’re going to give it a shot and see where we go with it and just make sure that we keep in touch with the company,” Reynolds said. “Hopefully as soon as we start receiving some it will be a very good thing.”

While Reynolds has been working to familiarize herself with the processes at the GHA, she is seeking to get to know the tenants and their needs better through a meet and greet at Kingsboro Towers in the community room today from 1-2 p.m. The event is open to residents from all three of the authority’s properties.

Reynolds, maintenance supervisor Joe Battaglia and tenant relations assistant Linda Lizio will be on hand during the event to introduce themselves and answer questions from residents.

Reynolds said that she wanted to organize the meet and greet to give residents and the new management team the chance to get to know one another better. She added that employees and residents are a team of equals who need to work together.

“I want everybody to understand that we’re all a team. Maintenance, the office, myself and the tenants we’re all a team and we want GHA to be a really nice place to be. In order for us to do that we need to work together and get to know people and they need to get to know us and how we’re going to operate as a team,” Reynolds said.