GLOVERSVILLE - Mayor Dayton King wants the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth to turn over a loan fund to the city so it can loan money to local businesses.
An irritated Mayor Dayton King on Thursday criticized the center at the group's board meeting for taking too long to answer the city's request for the $3 million loan pool.
"We have two existing businesses and one potentially new business that want to borrow from the CRG loan pool," the mayor said.
A CRG official this morning said the agency is working toward transferring the loan pool to Gloversville.
King didn't name any of the businesses during the CRG session, but he later alluded to loan help needed by The Downtowner Restaurant, which wants to reopen after closing this summer, and downtown projects by Broadalbin-based Two Great Guys Realty.
King, accompanied by Councilman-at-Large James Robinson, came into the meeting midway through the session and were not on the agenda. When asked by CRG Chairman Dustin Swanger if they wanted to discuss anything during "city reports," King let the board know of his frustration.
He said he made a request six to eight months ago to have the existing CRG loan pool that's dedicated to Gloversville switched to city government control.
He wants the loan pool controlled by the city's Community Development Agency office, run by Nick Zabawsky.
"What can we do to move along the process?" King asked.
CRG President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Reese said his agency already has prepared a draft agreement to transfer the loan pool. The agreement was reviewed by Gloversville City Attorney Anthony Casale. He said the proposal was drafted by CRG attorney Charles Tallent.
CRG officials told Gloversville officials they hopefully will get an answer on the loan issue soon.
"I think we've been very patient," King said. "Hopefully, we can move it forward and we'll have some more businesses in the city of Gloversville."
Reese said this morning the CRG handles four revolving loans, which include two for each of the Glove Cities. He said Gloversville's loan pool was established in the late 1980s and early 1990s through grant money to help businesses. He said some of the money came from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development office in Buffalo.
"We're not trying to drag this out at all," Reese said. "We want to move forward on it. We want to do it correctly."
He said the CRG has had to do its due diligence in checking with HUD on whether it was legal to transfer the loan pool to the city.
Outside the board meeting, King said there's no reason why the CRG can't give the city back its own money. He said the city is being "held hostage."
King said he, Casale and Tallent met about two weeks ago about the loan pool transfer and he got the feeling the CRG had "brushed off" the city.
He said Tallent wants the city to "hold harmless" the CRG is future loan activity.
"Our city is willing to loan this money," the mayor said.
He also said the CRG is using loan pool money to pay administrative salaries, something Reese didn't dispute.
Reese said today there are certain fees involved in running the loans at the CRG. His staff also does collection work.
He said some of the administrative work to run the loan pools does go toward salaries, as "has been done for 20 years."
King said he suspects he "won't be well liked" for awhile by the CRG because of his public comments, but he is trying to help the city and businesses.
He also said he doesn't understand how the CRG can dispute it is a not a public agency. He referred to the fact the state Supreme Court's Appellate Division will hear arguments Oct. 10 in Albany on whether the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth should remain private or be deemed a public agency.
"They're using public money to be a private entity," the mayor said.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.