The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Homeland Security are demanding a payment of $170,000 from the village of Gilbertsville, "immediately," according to Mayor Mark Muller.
In a "Mayor's Blog" post Tuesday, July 28, which was subsequently shared on Facebook, Muller said FEMA/DHS have sent the village a request for the money, which they claim was an overpayment made in 2010. The money was for remediation after flooding in 2006.
Muller shared the text of an email he said came from FEMA, which is an agency in the DHS.
"Although we have attempted to reconcile this matter numerous times with your predecessor in the past, dating back to 2015, it is imperative that the village of Gilbertsville remit payment of $170,000 to the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) immediately," the email read. "The disaster liquidation date was 3/30/20. The federal government has mandated this disaster be closed. NYS cannot meet this requirement until the village of Gilbertsville returns this funding."
In his blog post, Muller said the village has reached out to its representatives for help and is researching the alleged overpayment.
When he shared his post on Facebook, to the group "Gilbertsville, New York: Historical Village of the Butternuts," many people commented asking him if it was a hoax. He responded by saying, "As much as I would love for this to be a scam, there are letters in the files that go back to 2010, requesting this money."
Muller added: "We are doing our best to find the discrepancy and resolve the issue."
An email from The Daily Star to the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services on Wednesday seeking more information was not returned.
Muller, who was elected in 2019, and replaced fellow Democrat Ken Nolan as Gilbertsville's mayor, could not be reached for further comment.
Nolan took over as mayor after defeating Diane Gallo in a 2013 runoff election. Gallo had replaced Shirley Musson in 2012, after Musson died while in office.
In a 2013 interview with The Daily Star, Nolan seemed to acknowledge the debt, when he said: "I’m going to read the minutes for the last year and talk to the town attorney and the lawyers for the town about our FEMA problem and try to garner as much information as I can, so I know what’s happened in the last year or two."
Musson's 2012 obituary in The Daily Star credits her with securing $2.5 million from FEMA for flood relief money.