QUEENSBURY — Warren County leaders have agreed to “loan” up to $1 million to SUNY Adirondack so the college can create a new culinary arts center, but some county supervisors are getting concerned about increased funding requests from the college.
The county board’s Finance Committee agreed Tuesday to advance the college money to create the new culinary center, which will be built at an undetermined site in Glens Falls, with the understanding the college repay the funds when it receives a $1 million grant pledged by the state.
SUNY Adirondack President Kristine Duffy told county supervisors late last month the college cannot take on debt, so it needs to find a funding source to get the project going. The Board of Supervisors had the county attorney’s office and treasurer review the proposal, and both offices found the arrangement was feasible.
First Assistant County Attorney Mary Elizabeth Kissane told supervisors the county can’t legally loan money to the college, but can instead call the funding a “sponsorship” that will be paid back. She said the county undertook a similar arrangement with SUNY Adirondack in 2007 for a different project.
County Treasurer Michael Swan said the county would not advance $1 million, but would pay bills for the work as they come in, with the college paying the money back when grant funding comes in.
The full Board of Supervisors will consider the funding request at its meeting Friday. Some supervisors expressed concern about the possibility state funding will fall through, as the county is awaiting state reimbursement for a number of projects that go back several years.
“What if they don’t get the grant?” Lake George Supervisor Dennis Dickinson asked.
“Then we are out $1 million,” Swan responded.
The money will come from the county’s fund balance.
Although supervisors approved the arrangement, some expressed concern about continued requests for money from college leaders.
College leaders asked last week for more operational funding from Warren and Washington counties, a request that is pending. The two counties have contributed nearly $8 million in support for the college’s recent project to put in nursing, science, technology, engineering and math facilities.
Lake Luzerne Supervisor Gene Merlino said he supports the college’s mission.
But, he asked, “When are we going to stop? It’s put a lot on our taxpayers in Warren County.”