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Marcellus Town Hall project shot down

There was a steady flow of community members streaming through the Marcellus Fire Department shortly after polls opened Wednesday.

All of the residents were heading into the training room to cast their vote in -- and choose the fate of -- the $3.2 million Marcellus Town Hall project. Polls opened at noon and within the first hour there were more than 100 votes cast.

But at the end of the night, those first votes of the day were tallied with the hundreds of others, both live and absentee ballots, and the referendum was shot down. According to Supervisor Dan Ross, the final numbers were 269 in favor and 700 against the town hall project.

"We're back to the drawing board," Ross said shortly after 8 p.m. when all votes were counted. "We have no proposal, no approval to move forward at this time."

The project, if voters had approved it, would have included renovating the current facility (approximately 3,000 square feet) and building a 7,000-square-foot addition. The addition would have housed most town offices, the court, public restrooms, private offices and meeting spaces and also be 100 percent handicap accessible.

"I think it's good because I don't like walking up those stairs," Jean Males said about the current town hall.

One the main floor of Town Hall, Clerk Karen Pollard and other staff members share a small office that doubles as a hallway to the rear of the building. In the shared meeting room and courtroom, the town tax collector makes her office against the east wall.

Codes and zoning offices reside on the second floor of the building and is not handicap accessible. An old wooden staircase, which has a few turns in it before reaching the upper level, and no elevator make it difficult for residents to do business with the offices. Instead, town employees run up and down the stairs for forms and other paperwork as they try to accommodate residents.

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