Discussion approaches on Town Hall work

Interior renovations proved to be touchy topics last year, and are still under review

The Bethlehem Town Board will likely discuss at its next meeting (April 13) a package of Town Hall renovations that, when proposed last year, spurred lengthy arguments among board members.

The board heard a presentation on the proposed project Wednesday, March 23, but did not deliberate on the matter. That was in part to give the board more time to review the details and to research how the town would pay for the $385,000 of interior work, said Supervisor Sam Messina. Though there is about $570,000 in the capital reserve, town leaders have said it would be folly to spend them down too far, meaning borrowing will likely come into play.

I'd like to take the time to work with staff internally to see if there's something we can do, Messina said of the financing issue.

The board on Wednesday did sign off on bonding $470,000 worth of exterior work to Town Hall, which will cover a repair of the parapet wall lining the roof and the leaky roof over the courthouse. That work does not include about $60,000 in emergency repairs that will be made to the east side of the parapet wall, which fell away March 1 and crushed four cars.

The non-emergency exterior work should occur in the summer building season, said Deputy Commissioner of Public Works Erik Deyoe. The town had looked into removing the parapet, but that would not only be inadvisable but would violate the building code, Deyoe said. In fact, the code stipulates the wall should actually be taller, but since it was originally built shorter than the current requirement maintenance to keep it at that level is acceptable.

As for the renovations to the interior of Town Hall, several departments would see some significant changes should the project be approved.

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