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Hidy: Village will consider $60,000 contribution to BDC

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MASSENA - While Mayor James F. Hidy acknowledged that he is only one vote on of a five-member board, he said on Thursday that he is prepared to recommend the village provide the Business Development Corporation with $60,000, the same amount to be provided by the town board for the agency’s 2014 budget.

“We can broach the idea with the town board, I don’t have a problem doing that,” he said. “I will put it in (his 2014-15 budget proposal,) and it will be up for discussion.”

When BDC Board President Daniel S. Pease presented his budget to the town board on Wednesday, it showed a $75,000 contribution from the town and $60,000 from the village. The town did give the BDC an additional $15,000 in funding for next year through a budget transfer that will be made before the close of the current fiscal year.

“I think the BDC is going in a direction now that’s more economical and job creation driven,” Mr. Hidy said. “There are some things we can contribute to and some things we can’t. The BDC is one we can contribute to and have been.”

As for organizations they can’t contribute too, but the town can, Mr. Hidy said state law makes it clear the village cannot contribute to the Downtown Revitalization Committee or the Boys & Girl Club.

For downtown revitalization, we, as a village, cannot contribute taxpayer money to that,” he said. “The same goes for the Boys & Girls Club. As much as we would like to we can’t appropriate funds to those programs.”

Quoting a binder containing information from the New York Conference of Mayors (NYCOM), Mr. Hidy said, “Absent a contract with a private entity to provide a statutorily recognized municipal purpose, the offices of the state comptroller or the attorney general have opined that municipalities may not... make a gift to a boy’s club.”

A different section of that chapter also state, “A municipality may not... appropriate funds to assist in preparing property for occupancy by a desirable industry.”

“People have to understand that’s the luxury of gaming compact monies,” he said. “Those are not taxpayer dollars.”

Mr. Hidy said those comments were made in response to conversation at Wednesday evening’s town board meeting when Councilman Thomas C. Miller asked how much money the village was contributing to the Downtown Revitalization Committee.

“They should be less concerned about what the village is going to do. We will do everything possible to keep positive programs,” he said. “Too much is being played back and forth. They should take care of the town and we’ll take care of the village.”

Mr. Hidy said the bottom line is the village will do whatever they can - within the law.

“It all boils down for us to do what is in the best interest for the village residents,” he said. “We’ll certainly do whatever we can to promote positive programs, and I’m sure the town will too.”

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