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Rotterdam dissolves IDA

Assets transferred to town; ability to recover stipends paid unclear

— Buffardi said the IDA was in a better position than the town to encourage economic development because it didn’t have the government restrictions the town faces.

“If there is anything good about this, it has reinvested Metroplex to give this a second look, to get invested in this again,” Buffardi said. “Now that IDA is going to be moving out, Metroplex is going to be joining us in this effort to go forward.”

The state AB0 sought to terminate the Rotterdam IDA because it fails to comply with a provision of the General Municipal Law requiring any IDA to hold outstanding bonds or notes.

Another recommendation by the ABO is proving more difficult to follow, as the town looks into what legal authority it has to recover approximately $29,000 in stipends paid to past IDA board members. Stipends were received until 2010, with the exact start of compensation still being looked into by the town.

According to state Municipal Law, board members are to serve without compensation.

Councilman Robert Godlewski pointed to the recommendation during the meeting and said the town should seek to recover the stipends.

“I was told that there is nothing in General Municipal Law that allows us to do that,” said Godlewski about recovering the stipends. He suggested the town should sue the individuals to collect the funds.

Town Attorney Kate McGuirl said the town doesn’t have the authority to sue to collect the stipends, but a taxpayer may sue for the money to be returned. Also, McGuirl said the District Attorney’s Office could prosecute any type of wrongful action by a town officer.

Godlewski argued the town is assuming the rights of the IDA through the dissolution, and since the IDA could sue for the funds the town would now have the right. McGuirl said there is no precedent for the situation.

“As I was looking for the authority that made it mandatory as opposed to permissive, it is not located in General Municipal Law,” McGuirl said about collecting the stipends.

McGuirl said she hoped the issue could be addressed through the state Comptroller’s full audit of the town, which is expected at a later date.

“If the Office of the state Comptroller can direct us to do something that not only is mandatory, but would be permissive … I think that would certainly be something that the board would be interested in,” McGuirl said.

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