Andes sets move to new town hall; board puts brakes on Rally NY plan
By Matthew J. Perry
The Andes Town Board held what should be its last meeting in the Main Street town hall last week Tuesday. On June 6 and 7, moving trucks will arrive to ship office supplies and furniture to the new facility in the pool building on Delaware Avenue.
Town Justice Joseph Grieco, who has acted as overseer of the project, presented a positive report on the finances and construction of the new offices, which will serve as the site for the next town meeting on June 17. Since 2000, funding has been sought from a variety of sources, ranging from the MARK Project, an O’Connor grant, resources from the budgets of the town and the dissolved Village of Andes, to state grants. Supervisor Marty Donnelly announced at the meeting that two new grants recently had come through for the project, one from the office of State Senator John Bonacic, the other from the state assembly, each in the amount of $10,000. To date, $117,000 has been raised for the project.
All town offices will now be housed in the building with the exception of the town court, which will remain in its present location. The ultimate fate of the old town hall is uncertain.
New roof and more
While the building is in need of a new roof and would likely have to be brought up to code to be maintained, finishing the new town facility has been given top priority. More grant money could be available from the state’s unified court system to repair the Andes court, but acquisition would be contingent on the involvement of a state appointed architect.
Town officers expressed satisfaction that the move has neared completion without a hike in taxes. “There was no way I could justify spending $500,000 on the new town hall when there were other ways of getting it done,” Donnelly said.
The supervisor’s report included details on the continuing attempt to construct cellular phone towers in Andes. Land leases for towers have been submitted to two landowners for review; JNS Enterprises was identified as the company in negotiations with the town. The project will be an unlisted action under State Environmental Quality Review. The board, acting as lead agency, gave Donnelly the power to sign all SEQR documentation. A public hearing on the project is set for June 17 at 7:30 p.m.
The May 13 meeting was also occasion for a testy showdown between the board and representatives of Rally New York, which had requested use of seven Andes roads for a sports car rally event on October 31 of this year. Rally New York had last held an event in Andes in 2002, which ended with controversy after an altercation with a security official and arguments over payments to the Andes Fire Department. During their privilege of the floor, Rally NY president Ivan Orisek and Deputy Clerk Rich Otis tried to smooth over past differences and convince the board of the economic potential, safety and community spirit of their proposed event. Their attempt fell flat, however, after several residents stood up to complain about the inconveniences the rally would create and to cast doubt on the benefits of having a host of “Al Unser wannabes” crowding the town on Halloween.
The town board, apparently sharing the viewpoints of their constituents, voted unanimously to deny Rally New York a permit.