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Spafford faces tough decisions on future of buildings

The town of Spafford is dealing with several building issues as well as discussing long-term plans for the highway garage (above).

The town of Spafford is dealing with several building issues as well as discussing long-term plans for the highway garage (above). Photo by Joe Genco.

The Spafford town leaders are in the process of dealing with both short term and long term decisions regarding its building needs.

In addition to dealing with a roof replacement and minor repairs to the town hall, the Town Board board must make a tough decision about the future of the highway department garage.

The highway garage was cited for several code violations last December and though those issues are being addressed now, the building is ultimately too small for the highway department’s needs, Supervisor Mary Bean said.

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One of the I-beams that supports the front of the highway garage has rusted all the way through. The town is in the process of repairing them.

Though the town has budgeted money for the roof replacement, the other repairs have not been planned for by previous administrations and the town does not have a long term plan for the highway garage, Bean said.

With minimal reserve and contingency funds and a small operating budget, doing major renovations to one of its buildings, or constructing a new building, would likely mean borrowing money, which would result in a tax increase, Bean said.

“Certainly if we build [a new structure] or even remodel the current highway garage, you’re looking at a tax hike. There’s no way we can not raise taxes,” she said.

Bean explained the situation to residents in a town newsletter:

“One of the first tasks of a newly elected supervisor is to evaluate the assets of the town to ensure that all our buildings and equipment are in good working order in order to provide the services that you need. Your elected officials also have a responsibility for providing town employees with a safe, clean work environment and preserving the town’s assets.”

The highway garage was inspected by Town Codes Enforcement Officer Howard Tanner last December. He found several code violations, which he recommended the town immediately address.

In order to fit in the building, a snow plow had to be parked against a wall that contained an electrical conduit. The town has already paid to have an electrician come in and move the conduit, Tanner said.

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