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Local News

July 18, 2013

Mayor moves to salvage brewery deal

Schoharie County will be squandering a golden opportunity to bring jobs and economic activity to the shuttered Guilford Mills plant if it doesn’t agree to back financing for an offshoot of Butternuts Beer and Cooperstown Brewing companies, Cobleskill Mayor Mark Galasso said Wednesday.

Galasso said the investors behind Long House Holdings LLC — the craft-brew company that has stalled on completing the transaction to buy the 40-acre industrial site because county lawmakers have balked at holding a second mortgage — will likely walk away from the deal to take over Guilford Mills in Cobleskill unless the county reverses its decision.

Galasso told The Daily Star that the village of Cobleskill trustees unanimously backed a resolution Tuesday night that calls on the county to agree to the second mortgage.

The mayor said he will personally appeal to the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors at its meeting Friday to drop its opposition to the arrangement.

The majority of the board has argued that to have the county get involved in a second mortgage on behalf of the business would have calamitous consequences for taxpayers should the brewery fail.

“I think the risk that is being discussed — and I’m not saying it shouldn’t be discussed — is being completely overblown,” Galasso said.

The beer company needs a $1.3 million loan in order to make repairs to the building, which has been vacant for eight years, the mayor said.

“The building needs to be repaired or it’s going to collapse,” he said.

Schoharie County Treasurer William Cherry said he’d like to see the beer company become a phenomenal success at Guilford Mills, but it would imprudent for the county to take such a big financial risk by agreeing to hold the second mortgage. If the deal breaks down as a result, Cherry said, the county can then market the property to other companies.

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