Officials from the villages of Colonie and Menands and the Town of Colonie have begun a series of meetings, the first two of which were unannounced, to discuss services for which the villages say they are being overcharged.
The task force, made up of Colonie Supervisor Paula Mahan, Village of Colonie Mayor Frank Leak, Village of Menands Mayor Tom Coates, Town Attorney Michael Magguilli, Town Comptroller Craig Blair, Director of Town Operations Peter Gannon, Albany County Comptroller Michael Conners, Village of Colonie Trustee Tom Tobin and Village of Menands Clerk William Smith, is meeting to determine whether there is an inequity and, if there is, how to repay village residents.
On Thursday, Sept. 11, the group gathered at the Village of Menands Firehouse at what Mahan called the first formal meeting.
According to Mahan, the previous meeting, which was held a couple of weeks earlier, was mostly a "meet-and-greet." The second meeting, held Sept. 11, was to discuss several topics, including specific town services village residents pay taxes for but do not use.
Village of Menands Mayor Thomas Coates said one of those services is use of the Colonie Police Department.
"In the Village of Menands, we have our own police department and we also pay for the Town of Colonie Police Department," Coates said. "Our interpretation of the laws around this are that we shouldn't have to pay [for the Colonie Police Department.]"
In addition, Coates said there are smaller, less expensive things he thinks village residents should not have to be accountable for.
"Most of them are things like building inspections " small dollars, small amounts," Coates said.
The task force has not yet arrived at an amount that the villages could have been overcharged, but the group is looking at each item to decide what the villages should not be responsible for.