Town studies center funding

"At the time we were putting together the proposal for the bank. Whether the bank would give us the mortgage without that letter, I don't know because I'm not the bank," said Hogan.

At the time, the center had only studies that showed citizen favor for a recreation center. But there was no membership, Hogan said. The center was shifting focus and expanding services and the board "liked that," said Hogan. To help, the board handed the youth center the letter of commitment to include in its mortgage application, he said.

Mahan said she would work out the agreement between the town and youth center with Town Attorney Mike Magguilli, who raised legal concerns with the financial promise.

According to Magguilli, under state town law, Colonie can't just hand the money over. There are some strings. First, the youth center would have to itemize everything it plans to spend the donated money on, and, second, the town would have to have financial records showing how the money was used. Every year, those records would have to be audited by the town and the board must vote on whether to continue funding. Mahan had been in discussion leading up to last week's decision to suspend the $200,000 increase with current Colonie Youth Center Executive Director Nikki Caruso, who, Mahan said, had no knowledge of the funding increase and what it was for.

"The $125,000 the Colonie Youth Center has received for years had been for programs and services. With the opening of the Ciccotti Center, we've been able to double our offerings," said Caruso.""

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