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January 31, 2024 (41)

A special meeting of the Village Board was held January 31, 2024 at 6:00 PM in the Firehouse, 16 Saratoga Ave.

Mayor Pasquarell called the meeting to order & led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call: Trustee Bedell, Trustee Brown, Trustee Halliday & Trustee Kelly were present.

Don Rhodes, Laberge Group, gave a presentation detailing the Village’s efforts to move Village Hall to a more suitable location and presented options that had been and are currently being considered.  Mr. Rhodes pointed out no funds have yet been obligated, a letter of intent has been signed, no purchase agreement has been signed.  Any purchase agreement would contain numerous contingencies regarding financing, appraisals, and inspections.  The current Village Hall was donated to the Village in 2008 and minimal upgrades were made; the Village began exploring other options in 2019.  The full presentation is available on the Village website.

Rehabilitation of the current building is needed to gain ADA-compliant access to the basement record storage and second-floor offices as well as public access to handicap parking.  Currently the building has a shared driveway and no handicap parking.  The current building has no room for features mandated by NYS.  A building feasibility study undertaken by Laberge Group in 2019 has evaluated rehabilitating the existing building, rehabilitating the former police building, constructing a new building, sharing a building with the Town of Corinth, and acquisition of a building to serve as Village Hall.

Rehabilitating the former police department was determined to be infeasible because of the high cost and remote location.  Building a new building was determined to be infeasible because of the high cost of acquiring property and new construction.  A shared building with the Town was determined to be infeasible as the Town was planning an independent building.  Acquiring 97 Main Street, formerly TD Bank, is being considered as it provides enough space for the Village Hall while offering accessibility by being one story.  The drive-thru could be utilized and there is handicap parking.  The building is also adjacent to current Village owned property of the sewer pump station and parking lot as well as the Beach.  Revenue from the Post Office lease would help offset the debt payments and become a revenue stream.

Estimated cost of the three main options available at this time are as follows:  Renovate current Village Hall at an estimated cost of $1,500,000 with a projected annual debt payment of $117,000.  Build a new Village Hall at an estimated cost of $2,430,000 with a projected annual debt payment of $190,000.  Acquire and retrofit 97 Main Street at an estimated cost of $1,600,000 with a projected annual debt payment of $125,000 which may be reduced by an annual $48,000 post office lease.   If the Board chooses an option and pursues bond financing the bonding would be subject to permissive referendum under NYS law.

Atty Buettner outlined the legal steps to purchasing the building including a sale agreement with contingencies for due diligence of appraisals, inspections, etc.  Municipal financing of the project would include a bond authorization with a resolution setting a length of time and maximum amount to be borrowed subject to permissive referendum.  Residents wishing to send the matter to vote would need to file a petition with signatures of 20% of registered Village voters within 30 days from the date of the resolution.  There is also an additional 20-day estoppel period to challenge the resolution as unconstitutional.


Members of the public that voiced opinions and asked questions regarding the project were:

Toni Hall
Bob Hudak
Lorraine Tefft
Mary Beth McCue
Jennifer Kietzman
Jennifer Michelle
Alison Clark
Jim Murray
Matthew Izykowski
Terry Miller
Zachary Marcell
Robin Schumacker
John Tangora
Kendra Schieber
Jason Petrovitch
Patty Saunders
Tony Peris
Josh Lytle
Mick Sumner
Beth Wessler
Bonnie Potter
Joel Duguay

The following questions were asked by the public with answers provided by the Board, Don Rhodes, Clerk-Treas Colson and Atty Buettner.

Q: What about 97 Main Street structural engineering, environmental inspections, heat source and flood zone status
 A: Current flood zone mapping does not show the property as being in the 100- or 500-year flood zone.  Due diligence would include extensive professional inspections of the property: structural inspections, inspection of the new roof, electrical and HVAC inspections, as well as a commercial appraisal.

Q: Is there a deadline for ADA compliance of the current Village Hall and how extensive are the problems at the current building?
A: There is no compliance deadline, public buildings are expected to be compliant and are subject to legal action if a complaint is filed.  Current Village Hall has no handicap parking, is not fully accessible to all staff, and has electrical and sewer issues.  There is not adequate space for NYS mandated features at the current location.  The Village does not own the driveway accessing the rear parking lot, further limiting accessibility.

Q: What are the space needs for the Village Hall, how many employees are there?
A: There are three full time employees, two part-time employees (including the mayor), an office for Emergency Management coordinator and records storage.  A Laberge Group architect determined approximately 2600 square feet are needed based on industry standards and his 40 years of experience.

Q: Are there grants available?  What is the financial plan?
A: No grants are currently available.  The Village would use a bond anticipation note for the purchase price of the building with the intention to bond the full rehab amount once inspections determine the extent of actual work needed.  The current Post Office lease is assumable and currently offers $48,000 per year which would help offset debt payments.  The current Village Hall would be sold, and proceeds would go toward debt repayment.

Q: What is the Village’s current debt?
A: The Village has approximately $25.5 million in timed debt.  This includes $2,525,000 in General Fund debt and $23,017,678 in the Water and Sewer Funds.  Any financing for the Village Hall would be paid exclusively from the General Fund.

Q: Why is 97 Main Street being considered instead of used for retail space?  Will the Post Office still be on site?
A: The bank side has been vacant and offered for lease since 2014, neither owner since has been successful in attracting businesses.  The location is adjacent to the Village Beach and River St Sewer Pump Station at a main entrance to the Village, acquiring the building will ensure the property is well maintained and used for community purposes.  A continued lease to the Post Office is planned and potentially could offer extended access to post office boxes.  The current lease is assumable and if the building is purchased a new lease would be negotiated upon expiration.

Q: Have the former Stewart’s building on the corner of Main & River St, the dentist office on Palmer Ave, the Main Street School or the downtown vacant properties on the corner of Main St & Sherman been considered?
A: The dentist office on Palmer Ave is under contract, the building owned by Stewart’s has just recently become vacant and could be considered.  The Main St School is still owned by the school and would also require extensive renovation.  The vacant properties on the corner of Main and Sherman are owned by four different property owners that have asked for a high purchase price.

Q: Can the Firehouse property be used for the Village Hall as well?  Has there been a feasibility study to relocate the Firehouse?
A: No feasibility study has been completed for relocation of the Firehouse and it is not considered viable to add the Village Hall to the current property at this time.

Q: If 97 Main Street is purchased how would renovations be handled?  Could local contractors be hired?
A: Any renovation or installation contracts would be put out to bid as required by law.  Local contractors may have an advantage in bidding due to lesser mobilization costs.

Q: What is the difference in assessed value of the two buildings?
A: 97 Main Street is currently assessed at $425,000, full market value is $461,957.  244 Main Street is assessed at $176,200, full market value is $191,522.

Trustee Halliday addressed the public to state that the Board did not disclose the potential purchase of 97 Main Street until a price had been set to avoid any increases due to it being a municipal sale.  The Board has planned to solicit public input from the very beginning of the process which is why the Letter of Intent sent to the property owner included numerous conditions and specifically included public participation.

Motion by Trustee Brown, seconded by Trustee Kelly, that Board adjourn, 7:58 PM.
Carried – 4 – 0

Nicole M. Colson