Courts may join in firehouse

T he town and village are working together toward moving their court system to the former Skenesborough Fire House.

The village passed a resolution during last week’s Board of Trustees meeting to move its court to the firehouse if it’s deemed affordable and feasible.

The current courtroom facilities are largely inadequate.

The court is located on the second floor of the village offices and there is no handicap access. There is also a lack of sufficient parking and of rooms for clients to meet with lawyers.

Town and village officials met with Justice Julie Eagan last Monday to discuss the potential relocation of the court and they believe there is grant money available to help facilitate a move.

The court may not be the only municipal entity making the move.

Officials would also like to see the Whitehall Police Department relocated to the fire house.

“There are a plethora of reasons to move,” said Bartholomew.

First and foremost would be an increased police presence in the center of the community. It would also decrease the likelihood of the police being isolated from the rest of the village if there were a train derailment.

If a train were to derail on South Williams Street, as one did in February 2011, officers would have to take a lengthy detour to access the village.
Before any move can occur, however, Mayor Peter Telisky said the village would need an agreement with the town that clearly delineates its rights and responsibilities in the building.

He said if the police department or the village were to move, an idea that has been suggested but not decided upon, they would be willing to pay their share of utilities and contribute to the maintenance of the facility, but they would not pay rent.

Village officials also want assurances that if the town were to ever move from the building, they would take the village with them.

If the village were to move, they would need to sell their current building, and they don’t want to be in the position where they don’t have offices if the town ever left the fire house.

 

In other matters, officials asked what legal recourse the village has against John Tracy Adams, the owner of the dilapidated flat-iron building on Main Street.

The building features a litany of problems, including a breached roof, a wall that is beginning to buckle, and a porch that is not fastened securely to an exterior wall. The problems have caused officials to hang security tape and place cement barricades around the base of the building to keep people at a safe distance.

The village and the county have tried to make contact with Adams, but to no avail.

Telisky asked if it would be possible to issue a warrant for Adams’ arrest, but Erica Sellar Ryan, the village attorney, said the issue is a civil matter and therefore not an arrest-able offence.

She said the best option is to continue to apply pressure and hope he responds.

If he does not, the village will eventually have to determine if it is willing to pay to have the building taken.

In other matters, the village received a check for $3,633.50 for timber harvested near Pine Lake.

The next meeting is to be held at 6 p.m. on Sept. 4.

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