Holley LDC mulls its future after sale of 8 houses

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 28 November 2017 at 7:11 pm

HOLLEY – The first major project of the Village of Holley Development Corporation (VHDC) – the acquisition and sale of the eight “Diaz homes” in the village – was successful, but the Board of Directors and members of the local development corporation are currently pondering their future.

The board of the VHDC met Monday evening for the first time since May 8. The board met to review final details of the sale of houses that were vacated after a leak by the former Diaz Chemical in January 2002.

The VHDC also discussed what it said were burdensome New York State reporting and training requirements that create a substantial challenge in moving forward to other projects for an LDC (local development corporation) of their size.

Dan Schiavone, president of the board, reported that he has spoken with all the buyers of the former Diaz homes. He said the transition from EPA to VHDC ownership and then the sale to private owners earlier this year was a success.

“The homes are in private hands, and hammers can be heard in some of them,” Schiavone said, noting that many new owners are in the process of improving the homes which stood empty for more than a decade.

The VHDC received 10 percent from sales of the properties and the EPA received 90 percent. Schiavone said the VHDC received $15,000 from the sales.

He discussed the challenges he has faced since the VHDC was formed in 2015, meeting NYS reporting requirements which include a certified financial audit and annual report. Schiavone said the level of the audit necessary will cost the VHDC $5,000 – meaning the VHDC could run out of money in just a few years simply by trying to comply with state requirements.

The VHDC had to seek out an accounting firm in Rochester to find someone with the certification to complete the audit and annual report, and Schiavone said the state so far has refused to grant any waivers for the reporting requirements even though the VHDC has only had a handful of financial transactions in its history.

“With the sale of the eight Diaz homes, our mission is accomplished,” Schiavone said. “We have no reason to be gloomy.”

However, he explained he is not optimistic that the state will back-off on financial and training requirements for board members which may make it difficult for the VHDC to continue.

Holley Mayor Brian Sorochty, who has been a major proponent of the VHDC, attended the meeting. He encouraged the VHDC to try to continue and said he has contacted Assemblyman Steve Hawley’s and State Senator Robert Ortt’s offices to see if any help can be provided.

VHDC members also discussed reaching out to other local LDCs to inquire how they cope with the expense of staying in compliance with the state.

Board members decided to wait and see what responses they get from legislators and other LDCs before deciding the best way to proceed.

Schiavone said if the difficulties involved in continuing the VHDC are too great, it could cease to operate and the $15,000 would be distributed, “to community projects which meet our mission and vision.”

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