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From the Supervisor: Looking for public input on town hall relocation

Since taking office, many people have asked me — “how’s it going?” I’m pleased to report that it’s going very well. I’ve had wonderful support from all of our dedicated staff. Allan Wellington’s crew is an impressive group. When our schools closed due to the risk of frostbite, the transfer station was still open and the highway and water department workers were out clearing ice in three different locations. Thank you, gentlemen, for taking good care of us.

The hot topic now is the possibility of moving the town hall into the old fire station truck bay area on Fennell Street. The village made an offer to the town — they would subdivide the building and give the town the undeveloped property in return for an easement for access to the roof mounted solar panels. Although the opportunity raises some questions, I believe there are lots of reasons to pursue this offer. The current town hall houses many services and a conference room on the second floor. For some residents, climbing stairs is difficult at best, and for some it’s not an option. My hope would be to configure the truck bay space so all services would be accessible to all residents. One person said to me that being able to park her car and easily get to the town offices would be worth a million dollars. That’s an exaggeration of course, but it does indicate the frustration some people feel about the ease of accessing town hall. I was also told by one of the people who work in the county executive’s office that they were very pleased to see the village’s offer. The county is looking for ways villages and towns can cooperate, and will support those efforts financially.

Many of our residents are not native New Yorkers and aren’t familiar with the concept of a village and town with the same name and different responsibilities. Mistakenly, residents will go to the village hall to get their transfer station tag or to the town hall to pay their parking tickets. The two buildings are close, but it would be much more convenient if they were housed in the same building.

So what are the next steps? The 2008 space-needs-assessment will be updated. We’ll explore funding sources and we want to hear from residents. In addition to input on the potential relocation, we welcome input on other subjects as well. Please let us know if you have any questions, concerns or suggestions.

Mary Sennett is the Skaneateles Town Supervisor, her column will be appearing once a month in the Skaneateles Press. She can be reached at 685-6726 or msennett@townofskaneateles.c om.

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