TUESDAY JULY 15, 2008 Last modified: Tuesday, July 15, 2008 11:08 AM CDT
Boards review latest SF plan
By DAVID L. SHAW
SENECA FALLS — The town and village boards got a look at the latest drawings of the joint municipal building during Monday night’s shared services meeting.
“This is not a final plan, just a look by the engineers at the best location on the site for a 19,947-square-foot building,’’ said Peter Same, town supervisor.
The town has proposed building on 2.53 acres on Canal Street, which it would buy from Seneca Knit Development Corp. for $125,000.
The village’s offices, including the police department, would have space there, too, rent free.
A shared building would replace village hall at 60 State St. and the town offices at 31 Fall St.
If both boards endorse a plan, petitions would be circulated to hold a permissive referendum.
“This is down in size from the original 27,000 square feet, but it is still not final,” Same said, noting that the Center for Government Research’s shared services study isn’t finished, either, and the municipalities’ needs will be studied more to determine the size of the final design.
He distributed a drawing of the parcel with the building located on the lot. It calls for:
- A public entrance on the east side; and the town court entrance, on the north or canal side.
- Police and court offices taking up much of the west end, with 3,172 square feet for the court and 4,983 for police.
- Town offices, 3,011 square feet; village 2,705.
- Commons space of 1,081 square feet; 3,666 square feet of hallways; and 1,329 of walls.
- Separate entrances for village and town employees on the east side.
- A new boat house, small park and additional parking on the far east end.
The village has a state grant for the boating and park facilities along the Cayuga-Seneca Canal south wall.
A pole barn on the west side would have to be torn down, Same said.
“We have visited some other communities with joint municipal buildings, such as Adams, Scottsville and Dansville,’’ Same said, then invited members of either board to attend if more visits are set up.
First Ward Village Trustee Thomas J. “T.J.” Ikewood noted that with building costs higher than ever, the project would cost at least $7 million, closer to $8 to $9 million, based on $200 to $250 per square foot.
Same disagreed saying it would be closer to $4 million.
Ikewood questioned why information presented by the Center for Government Research to a special shared services committee is not being made public; and why the committee’s meetings with the consultants are not open to the public.
The committee consists of two members from each board and three community members.
Same and Mayor Diana Smith said the information presented is not complete and, in some cases, not accurate.
It was noted that when Town Councilors Stephen Dougherty and Timothy Snyder asked for the information presented at the last shared services committee meeting, they were given it, with a caution not to make it public yet.
Smith gave the information to village board members after Same gave it to town board members.
“We want this information to be accurate before we share it with the public,” Smith said.
Ikewood and others sparred over the issue a bit longer, and it was suggested that a legal opinion be sought on whether the meetings should be open.
Robert J. Freeman, head of the state Committee on Open Government, was not in his office Tuesday.
They all agreed that one full-time person could handle code and zoning enforcement for the town and village. Still to be determined is whether that would mean a single zoning board of appeals and a single planning board.
Same said the town attorney is preparing a memorandum of understanding for the two boards to consider soon.
On another shared services issue, Same asked the village to provide a quote for trash pickup service in the town, and they agreed to by Aug. 15. Same said the town’s private hauling contract expires at the end of the year, and the service will have to be put to bid.
The village resumed its own trash pickup in 2007 and will soon have two trash trucks, one with an automated arm to pick up village-provided trash totes.
Regarding totes, the village opened bids Monday and announced that the low bid was $51.49 per 96-gallon tote and around $35 for the smaller totes.
The village also agreed to provide water to the town to test its new water line along River Road, which should be completed within a week.