Auditors spur Valatie paper chase

VALATIE – Mayor Diane Argyle said at the Village Board’s regular meeting that the village had been audited by the state multiple times within the last month. The state is looking into funds awarded to the village for the Energy-Onix company and the Senior Center, as well as the sewer project and its workers compensation policy.

The sewer audit went well, the mayor said after the meeting, and the state has decided to reschedule the workers comp audit for a later date.

But as for the audit of the Energy-Onix grant, “We are missing a lot of paperwork on that,” Mayor Argyle said. The village received a $516,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) administered by the state with funds from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Renewal. The Local Development Corporation (LDC), a village agency, loaned funds to Energy-Onix, a manufacturer of tube and solid state transmitters for AM, FM, shortwave and industrial applications. The company occupies a historic mill building on River Street.

The mayor said because of the missing information, the auditor from the state said the village has not met the requirements to complete the audit. The mayor said the auditor “believes the federal government will be coming to us to ask for reimbursement for the $516,000.”

The Energy-Onix loan was made by the previous administration. Since taking office last year, Mayor Argyle has taken issue the LDC’s performance, though she did say this week that has been in contact LDC Chairman Jason Nastke about the reports that need to be filed with the state. Mayor Argyle sod of the LDC, “They are in trouble.”

Village Attorney Rob Fitzsimmons told the mayor that the village had no basis to refuse if the state asks for the grant money back, but he did say at the Tuesday, April 8 meeting, “The state will come to you for the money but you don’t have it.”

The state auditors will be back later this month to look into the grant for the Senior Center building, which was also over $500,000 and administered by the former mayor and Village Board. Mayor Argyle says she is not sure the current administration will have found all completed paperwork for that project by the time the state comes on April 24.

Also at the meeting the board discussed having the newly formed committee that includes the chairs of the Planning and Zoning boards and Village Trustee Phil Bickerton look into two existing zoning laws that involve construction in the village. One law says that if a homeowner in the business overlay district, which includes all of Main Street and parts of Route 203, does any upgrades that total 50% of the assessed value or 50% of the floor plan the owner must make part of the home a commercial space. The Village Board also talked about the senior housing laws in the village that allows senior housing, which has different rules for construction on a lot designated as used senior housing.

Mayor Argyle also said the board plans to increase the fines for not getting certificates of occupancy when new tenants move into an apartment. Mr. Fitzsimmons said he would look into increasing the fine.

The village will host a curbside clean-up day on May 17. Residents can put small furniture and other trash for pick up on that day. Also brush pick-up will start on Monday, April 21. Brush and tree limps, shorting then 4 feet, will be picked up curbside on Mondays until June 2.

The board is working on next year’s budget. The fiscal year for the villages is June to May, and the budget must be submitted to the state by early May. The board plans to hold a budget hearing on April 23 at 6 p.m. in the Martin H. Glynn Building.

The next regular meeting will be Tuesday, May 13 at 7 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .


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