By Matthew Saari

It was surprising Granville Mayor Paul Labas was standing upright at the end of the village board’s meeting Monday night, after enduring a nearly hour-long inquisition from village residents.

Granville mayor Paul Labas

The verbal barrage started after an otherwise dull and uneventful meeting, with the mayor and trustees concluding their regular business in less than 20 minutes.

Then Labas opened the floor to the public and the deluge began, with every interrogator hammering the mayor on the controversial purchase of the former TD Bank parcel on Main Street.

John Freed led the charge, leveling a half-dozen questions at Labas which included why move the village hall, requesting public access to the engineering report of the Main Street property, how long has the village been eyeing a move, whether the town and village are merging, will the move take traffic away from Quaker Street businesses and just what is the all-in cost of this endeavor going to be.

“I’ve been here 59 years it’s news to me,” said Freed. “I miss one meeting and we bought a building.”

Throughout Freed’s questioning Labas didn’t skip a beat, each time having an answer at the ready.

The purchase, Labas said, has its genesis that both the town and village offices are in need of repair, with Labas conceding that the town offices are the worst of the two.

“I’m not going to deny the fact that we do need some work,” said Labas, who singled out roof repairs and a heating system replacement as examples.

There is no engineering report available, Labas said, because LaMont Engineers, the firm the village contracted, was hired to solely inspect the building, likening it to a home inspection.

Labas denied the allegation that the town and village of Granville are consolidating.

“This is basically consolidation of the building…as of right now,” he said. “Talks to start consolidating everything else is a whole other ball of wax.”

However, Labas added, he can foresee the two municipalities perhaps being forced into consolidating by the state “in the next three to five years.”

“They’re trying to dissolve these little villages,” Labas said. “I see the handwriting on the wall and I see the step of doing something like this as a forward-moving step.”

 

This is only a preview of the story published in the Granville Sentinel. To read the full story, pick up a print copy of this week’s paper at the newsstand or read it online here.

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