Town officials took some time last week to tour their future home as they begin to lay the groundwork for their eventual move from the Canal Corp. Visitors Center to the former Skenesborough Volunteer Fire House.
The tour served as a sort of brainstorming session as officials try to determine where and how offices will be laid out in the 10,000-square-foot building.
The plan is to have the town offices located inside the former fire company’s meeting room, just beyond the bay doors at the southern end of the building.
The space would include a room for the town budget officer, assessor, clerk and supervisor, as well as a vault.
On the northern wall of the room, officials plan to cut a space to install a large sliding window where customers would be able to seek the services of the town clerk.
The exact layout of the room is still being determining but some work is already in process.
Molding is being installed along the interior and exterior of the windows and an opening is being cut for a service window. Some electrical work is also expected to be done.
Once work in that space is complete, the town will begin the process of moving its offices to the firehouse.
Supervisor George Armstrong wouldn’t set a firm date for when that would happen, but it’s possible that it happens in the next couple of months.
Because the rest of the building is going to require more work — the extent of which is still unknown — meetings will likely continue to be held in the Visitors Center.
In March, the town applied for a grant worth up to $400,000 for municipal improvements with the intention that some of the money would be used to renovate the firehouse and cover expenses incurred during the moving process.
Officials expect to learn if they’ll receive any of those funds later this month.
The plan all along has been that the town and village courts would also move into the firehouse, as well as the police department and possibly the village.
But a lot of work would need to be done to accommodate such a facility, including installing additional rooms, cosmetic and potentially structural renovations, electrical and plumbing work, and some exterior work as well.
“It’s a huge uncertainty as to how much the move will cost,” Armstrong said.
An environmental site review was completed earlier this year and it ruled out the presence of mold, asbestos and lead paint.
If any grant money is rewarded, it would help cover the cost of the town, and potentially the village’s move. The courts and police department would have to find their own sources of funding, although it’s believed there are a number of grants available to help finance such a move.
The town should develop a clearer picture of exactly what will be done after it finds out if it will receive any grant money.
In other matters, Julie Millett, town clerk, said Michael Gazzillo will begin auditing the town books for 2011 on May 29.
Officials have pledged to conduct audits on a routine basis following a recommendation by the comptroller’s office last year.
The town is also restructuring some of its insurance coverage after it was determined that some coverage may be too high and some too low.
The next town meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 13.