Town discusses firehouse clause

B y Keith Lobdell

It’s the ol’ “double-reverter.”

The Whitehall Town Council talked about its resolved move to the Skenesborough Volunteer Fire Company and the matter of whom the property should go to if the fire company were to no longer exist during its Nov. 10 meeting.

Under the current deed, the property would revert back to the village of Whitehall if the company were to no longer exist. The town has sought that the “reverter” clause be changed to the town in order to assure that it would be able to continue to use the building as an office.

Last month, the Whitehall Village Board said it they would accept that request, but added a request that if the town were ever to leave the site, the property would again revert back to the village.

“You are looking at a ‘double reverter’ here,” said attorney for the town Christian Morris. “What the village is looking at is that if both the fire company and the town move out of the building, then it goes back to the village. If the town is there, then it will stay the town’s forever. If they leave, though, then it would revert back to the village. If the town is in there for 50 years, then this would never go into effect.”

Town Councilman and Skenesborough company President Jim Putorti said he was concerned that the town would be giving an upgraded building back to the village without receiving any compensation.

“If they want that, then they would have to give us back whatever we put into the firehouse as our investment into the community,” said Putorti.

Town Supervisor Richard “Geezer” Gordon continued to say that he was against any new clauses.

“If there is any clause, then let’s go someplace else,” said Gordon. “We can call the Canal Corp. and tell them that we are going to stay here for a little while longer.”

Councilman Farrell Prefountaine said that he still wanted to go to the firehouse.

“I want to go over there and I want to fight for it,” said Prefountaine.

Councilman Richard LaChapelle said he was still concerned that the board made a decision on where to move without looking at all the facts.

“Feelings are now starting to get hurt,” said LaChapelle. “We did not have all of our ducks in a row and now we are finding out that we were not ready to make a decision.”

The following day, Gordon said that he was “frustrated” during the meeting, but wanted to work with the village and fire company to get the matter resolved.

“We’re going to move,” said Gordon. “I just want to make sure it’s done right.”

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