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Friday, October 24, 2014
Amsterdam, NY ,
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Financial review sought Town park plans put on hold

Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - Updated: 10:11 AM

By CAROLINE MURRAY

caroline.murray@recordernews.com

BROADALBIN -- Plans to develop the town park along Route 29 are on hold until officials discuss finance options with the youth commission.

The town board on Tuesday agreed to postpone selecting a bond option until a public hearing is held with the commission.

The town board completed the state environmental quality review process and declared no negative environmental impact. Construction plans are under way, but the town board is not comfortable making a financial decision until discussing all the details with the commission.

"I am not to keen on jumping into this without having a lot more answers," Supervisor Thomas Christopher said. "I know it would slow the project down."

The town board is the lead agency on the project.

Youth commission director and town park committee member Keith Buchanan said Christopher is concerned about whether the commission can afford to pay back a loan.

Christopher said the site is the town's property, so the town has to borrow the money.

However, Christopher said the commission is making the payments, and he wants to review the numbers before making a final decision.

Christopher said any action could potentially affect taxpayers, and the board wants to be careful about which option it chooses.

"We want to see how we can best utilize those finances, give us the cheapest rate, and afford all that," he said.

Buchanan said the commission has to match a $500,000 grant the state awarded the town last December in order to start any construction on the site.

The commission has raised $120,000 through various fundraisers, but the total cost for the project is estimated at $1.2 million.

This leaves the commission more than $600,000 short.

"We would love to get the project going, but we want to make sure we can handle it, and it won't be a burden on the taxpayer," Buchanan said.

He said besides money the park committee already raised, the commission would also pay back the loan using revenue generated by the park.

Buchanan said concession stand sales, tournament fees and advertising funds will help pay off the loan.

Town attorney Kara Lais said Christopher should meet with NBT Bank and discuss whether the board should invest in a long-term or short-term financing option.

"You could do short term with this project for five years. After five years you are going to have to finance that into some sort of long-term financing," Lais said. "Or, you can do it right away, but I recommend you at least get the project completed to the extent that the grant moneys have been received."

She said with long-term financing, there might be payment penalties. Lais said if they select a short-term option, it will be difficult projecting what the payments will be in five years. She said an official at the bank may be able to help him with that analysis.

Buchanan said Tuesday's meeting was the first time he heard the board speak about finances.

He suspects a meeting will be held next week during which the board will go over exact numbers with the committee.

     

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