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State board eyes IDA

Colonie officials are questioning why its Industrial Development Agency is in the crosshairs of a state oversight board, which began looking into the agency last week after it missed budget filing deadlines.

The Authority Budget Office was formed two years ago to keep up on the state's public authorities and has a long list of public authorities subject to board review, but Colonie town officials and former Colonie IDA Chairman Peter Hess are questioning why Colonie is on that list.

When I looked at the Authority (Budget Office) Web site, there were all these other IDAs that are a lot larger than ours, and they're not providing oversight for them, said Nicole Criscione-Szesnat town board member. "It just seems that there are bigger ones that they could be going after. Why is it Colonie?"

The ABO is defending the compliance review. Colonie's IDA will be the fourth review the ABO has conducted, said Matt Anderson, ABO spokesmen.

"They are a fairly active IDA. The town IDA was delinquent in their expense reports. It's almost 15 months late at this point," said Anderson.

The Colonie IDA failed to file its 2006 and 2007 budgets, as well as a 2006 annual expense report, said Anderson. Under the newly formed ABO, IDAs are required to attend certification courses and open records up to the public, as well as file their budgets with the ABO.

IDA members are chalking the late budgets up to a communication breakdown as Colonie's Comptroller and Planning and Economic Development offices changed staff in the wake of the November elections. According to former IDA Chairman Peter Hess, each of those three documents were prepared and reviewed by former Comptroller Ron Caponera and Denise Sheehan, former director of the Planning and Economic Development department.

"We did everything we needed to do at the last (2007 IDA) meeting because we didn't know if we were going to be retained, and we weren't," sad Hess.

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