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Board decides to forgive loan

October 24, 2012
By ARTHUR CLEVELAND , The Leader Herald

FONDA- The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, in a majority decision, agreed to forgive the balance of a grant-based loan for an Amsterdam town business.

The resolution would conditionally forgive the debt - more than $300,000 - of a loan issued through the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant to Power Pallet Inc. of Route 30 once the company meets certain job creation conditions.

The company has to create an additional 11 positions to meet a 40-job threshold and maintain those jobs for six months.

The original $487,500 grant was issued as a county Industrial Development Agency loan to help pay for an expansion at the company's site. The company has created 29 full-time jobs, employing 149 people. However, the loan was supposed to create 65 new positions. State criteria requires at least 40 jobs.

The money saved on the loan would be used toward a $1.2 million expansion project for the plant.

Glen Supervisor Lawrence Coddington was questioning the logic of forgiving the loan, but decided to approve the measure out of concern aboutcausing fewer jobs to come to the area.

"I agree that I had a problem with this, but I look at it and see jobs. The last thing I want to do is cause a problem with those jobs, because they're few and far between," Coddington said.

John Thayer, board chairman and Root supervisor, had similar misgivings.

"I know what a struggle it is to make payroll and pay all your bills, and I try to do business in good faith, so I fought with myself on this," Thayer said. "I wasn't going to support it, but I was under the assumption the company had a [Payment In lieu of Taxes]. But there is no PILOT tied to this, so that's what swayed me."

William Strevy, Florida supervisor, said that to vote against the resolution would be questioning the judgment of the Montgomery County IDA.

"Why put people on the board if we don't trust them to make decisions on the loans?" Strevy said.

The vote was 12-3 for the resolution in favor of forgiving the loan. Amsterdam 5th Ward Supervisor Michael Chiara, St. Johnsville Supervisor Dominick Stagliano, and Amsterdam 2nd Ward Supervisor Jeff Stark all voted against the resolution

"The company has not done exactly what they said they would do. They promised to create 65 jobs; they created 29," Stark said. "If they want to come back in six months, when they've created the 40 jobs, and retained them for six months, I'd be happy to vote for it, but tonight, I cannot."

Chiara also questioned the message it sent to forgive a company's loan when "mom and pop stores" are struggling.

"My decision is based on what people out there are struggling to do," Chiara said. "What do we do about that? So I see that as a different type of issue."



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