The town of Salina held an open house at its highway garage Saturday, Oct. 22 in the hopes that residents would come out, see the poor condition of the structure and vote in favor of a referendum Nov. 8 approving the town’s purchase of the Burdick property on Old Liverpool Road.
“We wanted them to come out and see it for themselves, kick the tires,” said Salina Supervisor Mark Nicotra. “We want people to make an informed decision.”
The town will hold another open house from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. next Saturday, Oct. 29 at the town hall at 201 School Road, Liverpool. That building is also on the chopping block as part of the referendum.
According to town officials, both town buildings are in such poor shape that the cost of renovating them would exceed the cost of purchasing the Burdick property and consolidating the town’s facilities on that property.
The actual language of the proposition being put to voters on Nov. 8 is as follows:
“Shall there be approved and adopted in the town of Salina, New York, a resolution to purchase premises at 604 Old Liverpool Road, being a 78,000 +/- square foot building on a parcel of 9.99 acres, for a town hall and highway garage, at an estimated price of $2,050,000, and to make the necessary alterations thereto at an estimated cost thereto of $3,880,000, which was proposed by the town board on Sept. 26, 2011?”
The cost of renovating the existing town hall would be approximately $1.68 million, Nicotra said. Meanwhile, to repair the garage, it would cost about $6.2 million. The town wants to purchase the 90,000-square-foot Burdick Chevrolet building on Old Liverpool Road, which Burdick will vacate by the end of 2011 when it moves all of its vehicles to Drivers Village in Cicero. Burdick bought the property from Bresee Chevrolet in the spring of this year for $1.6 million. The town would need to make significant renovations to the property in order to make it suitable for the town’s needs; thus, the total cost for the town of Salina would be approximately $5.93 million. On Sept. 26, the board voted unanimously to send the issue to the voters Nov. 8. If approved, the estimated tax increase would be roughly $15 to $20 on a $100,000 home.
At the open house, Salina Highway Superintendent Mike Geno pointed out numerous structural problems at the current highway facility on Factory Avenue in Mattydale.
“It’s in such bad shape,” Geno said. “It doesn’t have proper lighting. Heat is a problem. The floor is moving. You can’t get by the fact that this building is sinking into the ground.”
If the referendum is rejected, Geno said the existing facility, which was built on a former dump, would have to be torn down, the ground underneath stabilized and a new facility built. However, any new building would have to be basically the same size, which no longer suits the town’s needs; instead, something bigger – like the Burdick facility – is necessary.
“This building first went up in 1974 or 1975,” Geno said. “At the time, it was good enough for our needs. It’s not anymore.”
Geno said moving into the new facility would provide much-needed space, as well as energy-efficiency improvements.
“It’s just such a huge step forward for us,” he said. “We need a different facility.”
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club’s Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.