Town and village complex readies for October opening

The Whitehall Town Board toured the northern end of the town’s municipal center, which will soon house the police department and eventually the local court system and possibly one day, the village offices.

The tour was conducted by Supervisor George Armstrong and Councilman Richard LaChapelle, along with an assist by Village Trustee and Police Commissioner Ken Bartholomew.

The three men concentrated on showing the north end of the building, which will house the village police department. Bartholomew reported that video cameras were being placed outside of the new town and village office complex, while LaChapelle estimated that the official “Open House” of the complex would be the second week of October, “at the latest.”

Earlier in the meeting, speaking strictly as a Whitehall resident, Bartholomew made a suggestion to Supervisor Armstrong that the town section off its meeting space, and “give it over to the town court.”

He argued the town could get by with a smaller space.  

Bartholomew suggested the town board could meet in the court room adjacent to police headquarters, which would also serve the purpose of providing more room for the village if and when it moves into the Municipal Center.

Bartholomew added that village and town court met only a little more than eight times a month. “Ninety-nine percent of your meetings,” Bartholomew said, “can be in the court room.”

Councilman LaChapelle said that the more interior walls the new complex had, the easier it would be to heat.

“It’s a good choice,” Bartholomew said, “a more efficient use of space.  But it’s your building, and I’m speaking as a resident.”

Nothing either way was officially decided but Armstrong said he would take the suggestion under advisement.

The town and village have committed to moving the local courts into the municipal center, but there is not presently a timetable for when that move will occur.

The municipalities received a $60,000 grant in May to help facilitate the move, but little progress has been made.

The police department is another matter and LaChapelle thought the department could be in its’ new offices by the first week of October.

Trees to be trimmed

By the time the new department opens, its exterior will have been improved by pruning of three large Silver Maple trees, just south municipal complex along Skenesborough Drive.

Supervisor Armstrong said that Gould’s Lawn and Landscaping Inc. would “crown the trees and thin the branches of dead wood” for a price of $1,000 for each tree.

It was suggested and the board agreed that Gould’s would inspect other trees along the historic drive that need pruning and that such trimming would take place in spring.

Background check policy

In other business, Town Attorney Christian Morris presented a tentatively written application form for town employment which permits background checks and fingerprinting.

Morris recommended that the application form have a section permitting the town to conduct periodic as well as initial background checks on job holders to make sure that their record remained clean.

Armstrong said that he wanted to “check with Washington County” to see if Whitehall’s application was the same as the county’s and all 17 towns within the county. He also asked Bartholomew if he could provide a copy of the Police Department’s background check policy to use as a guide.

The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 9.

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