Town office move still unclear

By Bill Toscano

There’s still no definite answer to the long running question: Where will the Whitehall town offices move to?

Town Supervisor Richard “Geezer” Gordon said last week he has switched his focus from the Skenesborough Volunteer Fire Company to the former Garden Time building on U.S. Route 4.

He said he is attracted to the Garden Time site because of the amount of space and parking it offers and because it may be possible to rent part of the building to help defray its $215,000 cost. Gordon said he is having engineers look at both Garden Time and Skenesborough to determine what it will cost the town to renovate the interior for its use.

If the inspections can be completed, Gordon said, he might be able to bring the issue to a vote at the regularly scheduled Feb. 9 town meeting.

Village Mayor Francis “Fra” Putorti said Monday that he will be at that meeting to present a document from the village that will acknowledge the town’s ownership of the Skenesborough building and land. “The only thing the town cannot do is sell it commercially,” Putorti said. “As long as it remains a municipal building, it is the town’s.”

That is a change from an earlier village board vote saying that if the town left the building for any reason, ownership would revert to the village.

The town has been using the New York State Canal Corp.’s Visitors’ Center building as offices for a number of years and has been asked repeatedly to move to a new site.

The town board approved the move to the Skenesborough building and would pay $20,000 a year up to a maximum of $150,000, but would cease payments if a new fire district was established.

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