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GHA gives nod to $2.41M budget

GLOVERSVILLE — The Gloversville Housing Authority Board of Commissioners this week approved a $2.41 million operating budget for fiscal year 2021 that reduces spending by just over 1 percent from the current year’s budget.

The $2.41 million 2021 operating budget is balanced by approximately $1.61 million in projected operating income and $872,636 in anticipated contributions from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

By comparison, the 2020 operating budget came in at $2.44 million balanced by $1.6 million in operating income and $872,636 in anticipated HUD contributions.

The Board of Commissioners approved the adoption of the 2021 operating budget during a special meeting conducted remotely via Zoom on Wednesday, the final day for public housing authorities to submit annual budgets to HUD. The board last year adopted the 2020 operating budget in August.

Board Chairman John Poling attributed the late adoption of the budget in part to the challenges of conducting meetings amidst the coronavirus and general coordination difficulties as the GHA continues to search for a permanent executive director.

The board appointed Damaris Carbone interim director of the GHA in December while the authority continued to search for a permanent replacement for former Executive Director Heather Reynolds who resigned in November. But Carbone was already employed as the executive director of the Amsterdam Housing Authority and has continued to serve in that post full-time while leading the GHA part-time two days a week.

Following the board’s approval of the budget on Wednesday, Carbone noted that the budget would be submitted to HUD electronically later in the day to meet the deadline.

Although Poling pointed to the coronavirus as creating challenges to conducting regular activities, he noted that the GHA has not suffered any apparent losses in rental income despite the moratorium on evictions for non-payment currently imposed by the state to stem the possible rise in homelessness as residents potentially face lost income related to the impacts of the coronavirus.

“For the moratorium, you have to show proof you lost a job through COVID-19, but most of the people [at the GHA] are either not working or retired and that has had very little impact,” said Poling.

Still, Poling raised some concerns over the potential impact of the coronavirus on rental income moving forward as the turnaround time to fill vacancies has lagged in recent months.

“Right now, people are reluctant to move,” said Poling. “When we do not rent apartments, keep them moving, it’s going to impact our income.”

Yet the approved budget projects rental income will rise in 2021 to $1.07 million, up from an estimated $1.06 million in the current year’s budget. Both of those figures fall below the $1.09 million in rental income included in the 2019 budget.

The 2021 budget largely maintains expenses at their current levels. Poling said that no positions were added or removed in the budget, attributing some savings in salaries to the continued part-time employment of Carbone at a daily rate of $500 and recent retirements with one of the resulting vacancies to remain unfilled.

The budget also includes provisions to cover the salary of a permanent executive director. The final salary for the position will be negotiated the identified candidate based on experience, but will likely come in somewhere around $70,000, the annual rate at which Reynolds was hired.

Overall, Poling voiced support for the 2021 operating budget, pointing to the current financial position of the GHA as balanced.

“I think we’re in a good position considering everything,” said Poling. “I’m satisfied, we’re all satisfied with the numbers.”

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