Common Council meeting highlights for 2-6-2018

Council hears pitch from Collar City auctions

The Amsterdam Common Council heard from a representative of Collar City Auctions in regards to the possibility of them running the upcoming auction of foreclosed properties, tentatively scheduled for this summer. According to the representative, the Collar City would only charge a 10% buyer’s premium, in comparison to 11% which was charged by the last auctioneer,, to run the city’s auction in 2016. He also said that the company would not charge the city anything for their marketing efforts. Controller Matt Agresta said that the previous company charged the city approximately $6,500 for marketing. The representative said that due to concerns about liability and safety, they would only show a limited number of properties that are in good physical condition. The previous auctioneer organized open houses for all the properties up for auction, but according to Agresta, in most cases, access was not given to the interiors of the structures.

New VoIP phone system could save city thousands

The council gave approval for the mayor to sign a contract with Liberteks to provide voice over internet protocol (VoIP) phone service for the city. Liberteks currently provides the city with information technology support and service. According to Controller Matt Agresta, the move will cut the city’s phone service expense from approximately $3,700 per month to approximately $900 per month, saving the city approximately $33,600 per year. Agresta said the cost includes the price of new hardware for the system.

Golfers can pre-pay fees at 2017 rates before probable increase

The council approved a resolution which will allow golfers to pre-pay their membership and cart storage fees for the municipal golf course at 2017 rates before an expected rate increase is instituted on March 3. Golfers can pre-pay at the controller’s office at City Hall between 8am and 4pm.

All bids for MVGO bathrooms rejected

Bids to construct bathrooms near the south entrance of the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook pedestrian bridge came in much higher than expected, prompting the council to pass a resolution rejecting all bids. Mayor Michael Villa said he was expecting the cost to come in under $200,000. He said that he will look to revise the design and seek new bids. The cost of the structure is planned to be paid for out of a portion of a $650,000 grant awarded to the city for improvements and artwork along the pedestrian bridge. The majority of the grant, $400,000, is allocated to pay for two statues, one of which is already installed at the south entrance, as well as a decorative gate for the south entrance.

NY State conducting audit of city finances

Controller Matt Agresta reported that he is in the process of working with state officials to complete an audit by the New York State Comptroller’s office. The last audit by the state office was completed in 2013 and found multiple deficiencies in the city’s financial records, prompting a long process to correct the problems.

Agresta first mentioned the audit at the last council meeting in January. At that meeting Agresta said that the state office usually tries to audit municipalities every three years.

“I don’t get the feeling from them that there’s any specific reason that they’re coming here, just that its our turn again,” said Agresta. “So they’ll come out, they’ll look at all the operations and see where they think the biggest need is and focus on those areas.”

Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of Anthem Websites Inc. which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.