Town board still not interested in LaFlamme’s; votes to purchase new loader

S tan and Brenda Woodruff addressed the town board at last Wednesday’s special board meeting.

The couple, who own the building that is currently occupied by LaFlamme’s at 120 Main Street (the store is moving next to the former Aubuchon Building next month) and had offered to rent the building for $1,000 a month (or $120,000 to purchase it outright), were there to address concerns the board had risen about the building.

At the Nov. 9 board meeting, the town had rejected a motion to move into the building, citing concerns over handicap accessibility. Members of the board had questioned whether a wheel chair could fit through the front door, and if a handicap ramp and bathroom needed to be installed.

“We’re basically here to address any concerns you may have with the building,” Stan Woodruff said.

He went on to tell the board that wheel chairs would have no problem fitting through the front door and a ramp and bathroom could be constructed with relative ease.

He said that although there wasn’t a firm deadline for a final decision, the couple needs the income from renting the building and couldn’t wait forever.

“I’m not here to force you into a decision but we can’t wait for months,” he said.

The board told Woodruff not to wait and if they had the opportunity to rent the building to someone else to do so.

“Whatever you have to do, you should do it,” Councilman Farrell Prefountaine said.

Supervisor Richard “Geezer” Gordon said that there’s still a chance the town may move into the Skenesborough firehouse.

Local resident Darrell LaChapelle asked the board how long it would take to move into the firehouse even if the situation was resolved, considering there would need to be a number of improvements made to the building before they could move in.

Gordon said as long as they have a plan in place the state will not evict them from the Canal Corp. Visitor’s Center.

Councilman Richard LaChapelle said he had spoke with Skenesborough Volunteer Fire Company chief Jeff Benjamin and were planning a special meeting to come to a final determination of what to do. 

 

In other matters the town board approved the purchase of a 2012 John Deere 624.

The purchase isn’t expected to add additional taxes to next year’s budget and will be paid for by a combination of funds from the highway equipment fund and the trade-in of the town’s current loader.

The total cost of the loader is $115,970 on state contract. To offset some of that cost, the town will trade in a 1996 John Deere 544G loader for $40,000, dropping the balance due on the new loader to $75,970.

Highway superintendent Louie Pratt said the town will use another $25,000 from the equipment fund at the time of the purchase and will take out a two year loan to cover the remainder of the balance.

Pratt said he plans on paying off a dump truck purchased in 2009 during the first quarter of 2012 at which points the payments for the truck will switch to the loader.

He said by paying off the dump truck early, the money the town saves in interest can be applied to the new loader.

Pratt said the reason for purchasing a new loader was two-fold. First of all, interest rates are historically low and the worse rate the town would get from a local bank would be 2.5 percent.

He also said the town stands to save thousands of dollars by purchasing a loader before manufacturers are forced to switch to engines with a higher emissions standard.

The federal government allots a certain number of credits that allow companies like John Deere to produce engines at old emissions standards, but those credits will soon run out. At that point every company will be required to manufacture equipment with more advanced engines (called a tier IV engine) and that could result in an increase of $10,000 to $15,000 for a similar piece of equipment.
The board approved the purchase 4-1, with Supervisor Richard “Geezer” Gordon the lone voice of dissent, saying that although he thought it was a good idea, he couldn’t add any more costs to the town.

 

The board also gave approval to budget officer Kathy Jones to refinance a loan related to the Troy Shirt Factory. The current loan is close to five percent and Jones believes the town could save money securing a new loan close to two or two and a half percent.

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