Glenville Town Hall lacks enough space for employees. The building has deferred maintenance coming due and it generally does not fit the needs of the town anymore.
The police department, which occupies a small portion of the building, faces the same issues. A $1.5 million state grant announced in 2017 to help the department has yet to be received by the town.
Now, the town must focus on whether it wants to refurbish its current facility or build new.
A leaky, ‘outdated’ building
Supervisor Chris Koetzle announced during his State of the Town address Wednesday evening the topic would be a top priority this year for the board.
“Clearly, the building we’re in now is outdated,” he said Thursday.
The entrance area is small and can become cramped with people if a large meeting takes place or the court is busy. That’s a safety issue, especially given COVID right now, Koetzle said.
But on top of that, the number of employees in town has grown over the years and they all need adequate spaces to work. Koetzle said some of the offices include boxes because Town Hall has no storage.
The building, which was once a movie theater before being refurbished in the 1980s, just isn’t cutting it anymore.
A number of maintenance problems are also coming to light.
“We get a good rain or snow melt, we get leaks,” he said.
The building’s heating and cooling systems are also nearing the end of their life 30 or 40 years of use, he said. That leaves some areas too cold, while others might be too warm.
“There’s a whole laundry list of things we have to do just for maintenance alone,” he said.
Koetzle said the deferred maintenance that needs to happen at Town Hall costs around $1 million alone.
The board voted Wednesday during its meeting to address one of the maintenance issues; the heating system that services the police department, which has reached the end of its life. The board voted unanimously to hire McAuliffe & Son, Inc. of Sacandaga Road to replace the unit for over $12,000.
Police department woes
But heating and cooling isn’t the only problem facing the police department, said Police Chief Stephen Janik.
“The amount of usable space we have in the police department has just dwindled,” he said.
The department must keep more records now than ever and for varying periods of time, with little space to store them. Janik said the evidence room, which is about 10 by 15 feet, is and piling up with evidence and other items like guns the department has to seize due to court orders.
But it’s not just the evidence that needs more room either. The patrol area can seat three officers at a time, sometimes there are six working a shift, Janik said. That means an officer would need to wait until a space became available.
Then there’s the small area between where an officer parks his patrol car to bring someone in and the small, two-person seating area where people wait to be released or taken to jail.
He said the small space can become a public safety issue for officers.
Those are just some of the problems.
“The building is starting to fail,” he said.
Both Janik and Koetzle said they want to see an entirely new structure built.
A number of various plans have been discussed over the years, but no decisions have been made on them.
In 2017 the town was awarded $1.5 millions from the State and Municipal Facilities program of the State Dormitory Authority for the police department to use. However, that money has not made it into town coffers yet.
Where that funding is at thought is the big question. Koetzle and Sen. Jim Tedisco’s, R,C-Glenville, office said they are waiting for the Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins’ office to release the funding.
“Sadly, it appears there’s a game of political ping-pong being played between the governor’s office and the senate majority,” Tedisco said. “I understand COVID may have delayed these projects, but now it’s getting ridiculous. The state made a commitment to support this vital public safety project for Glenville residents and they have an obligation to keep their word and do so in a timely manner.”
But, the majority leader’s office said they don’t have it.
“The project was announced by the previous Republican majority and they failed to provide the funding,” said Mike Murphy, the communications director. “However, unlike that administration, the senate Democratic majority have provided the senate minority with significant funding specifically for projects like this exact one mentioned and it is now in the hands of Minority Leader Robert Ortt and Senator Tedisco.”
Getting grant funding can take around a year and half or even up to two years to process, said Adam Kramer, Tedisco’s chief-of-staff and communications director.
Kramer said the last update regarding the grant was that the Dormitory Authority had signed off on giving the town the grant and sent it to the majority leader to also review and then sign off before it heads to the governor’s office for the same process.
“In terms of what Mr. Murphy is talking about, we’d love to see where this funding is,” he said.
With or without the money, Koetzle said the town still has a decision to make regarding the future of Town Hall.