By Matthew Saari

The interrogation of local officials which began at a Granville Village Board last Monday continued on Thursday at a town board meeting.

Like the village before it, the town’s regular business was a dull affair and officials concluded that in 20 minutes.

Then public comment began.

For the next hour, the town board fielded questions by concerned residents and supervisor Matt Hicks was accused of collusion before the meeting’s end.

“I just want to let you know we’re here for you to address us with your concerns,” Hicks said. “I’m going to tell you now, this is not a debate, question and answer, back-and-forth, tit-for-tat. I’m not going to turn into the village board meeting the other night.”

Among the first questions levied was from Bob Tatko, who asked whether a public vote must be held when a board purchases real estate.

“I’m going to say what I said before, Bob – I’m not going to go any further on it,” replied Hicks. “After consulting with our attorney I believe we’ve acted appropriately and in the best interests of the town.”

John Freed then asked if the town had considered any other properties for the purpose of moving its offices.

“I wasn’t aware of any,” Hicks said.

Piggy-backing off this question, Charlie King asked if the town had considered leasing space from the village instead of purchasing a new structure.

“No we haven’t,” replied board member Matt Rathbun.

As he did during the village meeting, King pointed out that the town wouldn’t have an issue if a preventative maintenance schedule was put in place.

“You shouldn’t have a problem here. It’s a lack of maintenance and continual upkeep on this building,” he said. “You sit here year and year and let it fall in around you – you’ll do the same thing up there.”

John Norton pondered why the town wants to shift its offices at all.

“We did this last month, I don’t want to do it this month and I don’t want to do it next month,” Hicks said with a sigh, referencing the December meeting when he and the board were criticized by town resident Jim Crouch.

“Can I talk about the mold problem we had downstairs…can I tell you about the broken pipes and the sewage…can I tell you about the furnace issues,” Hicks continued. “My concern, John, is we’re going to spend a ton of money in this building; we’ve been spending a ton the last few years.”

Hicks’ laundry list did little to sway Norton.

“If it’s a question of maintenance maybe you should take care of it,” he said, before predicting that the village and town will go into debt because of this venture.

“And the town and village taxpayers are going to pay for this,” Norton added.

 

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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