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Board OKs resolution to look into borrowing money for property, construction project



WAS JULY 12 AGENDA TOO VAGUE OR ON POINT? Geneva — Item No. 12 of the July 12 Town Board agenda: "Resolution for authorization to borrow funds." Apparently, that item pertained to two resolutions — one to authorize the investigation of borrowing no more than $2 million for the proposed Town Hall solution, one to authorize borrowing no more than $500,000 for a proposed fire/EMS substation. On Monday, Town Chairman Dan Lauderdale said he placed the item on the agenda this way because, at first, both items were going to be addressed in one resolution. Later, he decided there should be two separate resolutions. But what about the fact that neither issue is mentioned on the agenda? Lauderdale said he believed it covered what the board was going to discuss. He said previously, he has been open about both issues. As for the Town Hall dilemma, he said one reason he created the Ad Hoc Committee was to keep the issue in the public eye. "I try to limit the size of my agendas and at the same time try to be as descriptive as possible," Lauderdale said. He said there were other items on the July 12 agenda which were just as terse, such as item No. 7: "CAN/AM presentation," which concerns an upcoming hockey event being planned in the town. "Certainly, I'm not trying to hide anything," Lauderdale said. "I'm just brave enough to address these issues." He said people can call the Town Hall offices and ask questions about the agendas, which are posted 10 days prior to a meeting. However, when asked if he could have included the phrases "fire station" and "Town Hall" at the end of item No. 12, Lauderdale nodded. "I'll concede that it could have been added," he said.
July 28, 2010 | 08:53 AM
Geneva — Late Monday morning, a woman walked into the rear of a white building with dirty siding.

A few steps down, she strolled through a narrow corridor in a basement, past a window behind which the town's clerk of courts has a desk, in a room about the size of a walk-in closet in the master bedroom of some moderately-priced apartment.

This woman walked past the deputy clerk's desk and into the largest room in the basement.

It is a room with a low ceiling, packed with filing cabinets, office equipment and desks for several town officials, including the clerk-treasurer, administrator and chairman.

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This is where some key decisions take place in town government.

This is the Geneva Town Hall.

But town officials are looking into some sort of new Geneva Town Hall structure.

On July 12, on a 3-2 vote, the Town Board approved a resolution to investigate borrowing funds to possibly buy property and build a new structure.

Supervisors Steve Kukla and Larry Kulik voted against the resolution.

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Town Chairman Dan Lauderdale and Supervisors Bob Kamps and Keith Millard voted in favor of it.

According to the resolution, the amount which may be borrowed wouldn't exceed $2 million.

Although the town hasn't yet borrowed the money, Lauderdale said it's a step toward showing town residents its commitment to solving problems with the Town Hall dilemma, which grows increasingly more severe.

"Our furnace malfunctioned in the last one to two months," Lauderdale said. "Elkhorn Fire Department was summoned to the scene when the building filled up with smoke."

He said the town had to replace the furnace.

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However, he said it was fortunate the Town Hall was occupied at the time of the incident, because "the loss of records would have been disastrous."

The problems aren't just inside the current Town Hall.

"Over the last winter, our handicapped-accessible, concrete ramp dilapidated very badly due to ice and weather conditions," Lauderdale said. "It has been Band-Aided."

Such are the signs which, last year, led Lauderdale to initiate the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee to advise the Town Board on a solution to the dilemma.

Town Building Inspector Audrey Boss, who also is a member of the committee, said it recently suggested the board keep the existing Town Hall in use and build a smaller municipal building on a different piece of property.

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She said committee members took the current economy as well as the different municipal departments into consideration.

"It was the most feasible solution to keep the cost down," Boss said.

She said members didn't believe the resale value of the Town Hall is that high.

Although the committee also suggested separating the headquarters of municipal departments, Boss said members believed the committee shouldn't decide which department would stay where.

She said it's the Town Board's decision.

"We didn't want to commit to one department or another," Boss said.

The woman who visited Town Hall Monday wanted to know if she could operate a vegetable stand near Hawk's View Golf Course on Highway 50.

Lauderdale, Administrator Margaret Downing and Boss were among the officials in the office.

But the woman's request required someone to access the Internet — a simple chore in most offices, but one which took Lauderdale and Boss several minutes to answer.

One reason? The computer's Internet access is slow.

And three people in this main office creates an invasion of personal space, especially when it comes to maneuvering through the filing cabinets.

That speaks to why Lauderdale created the resolution.

"My resolution is to send a message to the Ad Hoc Committee of the town's desire to move forward with its plan," he said. "The resolution is the first step in a very long process (but) now the Ad Hoc has a vision to the intent of money the town is willing to spend while it investigates site opportunities. …

"This is something that has been needed for quite some time."

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