Buildings and Facilities Task Force

Monday, May 2, 2022 - 9:00 am



Steve McNally - Chairman


Chairman McNally called this task force to order at 9:00 am with the following in attendance: Clayton Barber, Robin DeLoria, Stephanie DeZalia, Derek Doty, Shaun Gillilland, Charlie Harrington, Roy Holzer, Ken Hughes, Steve McNally, Jim Monty, Matt Stanley, Ike Tyler, Meg Wood, Mark Wright, Jim Dougan, Mike Mascarenas and Dan Palmer. Noel Merrihew was absent.


Also present: Dina Garvey and Chris Maron - Westport Chamber of Commerce.


News Media present - Tim Rowland - Sun Community News



MCNALLY: Alrighty, open up Facilities Committee meeting, Jimmy, do you want to give us a quick update?


DOUGAN: Yeah, Iíll try and make it quick. I handed up my updated planned projects for the year. Weíre continuing to procure somethings.

This bathroom, out here is going to start this month. We do have to get with you, Dina and talk about the area that weíre going to disturb, ahead of time and make room for that. So, that will start by the end of this month.

The doorís been ordered for Treasurerís. The plans for all the carpet and stair treads are with Purchasing to bid.

The windows replacements, those windows showed up, actually, just the end of last week, so theyíre here a little sooner. The second floor air conditioning, along with a number of other air conditioning units, split system units and some rooftops, those have all, those are with Purchasing. We will then put a bid out for that equipment.

The card reader system, Personnel is starting to receive those new units, is what Iíve been told, so weíll coordinate that, those new units going on the wall and the cards being used for both time and entry of the building.

Carpet and paint; again, thatís with Purchasing.

Probation; that mini split unit that, the specs are done, thatís with Purchasing.

Fire alarm panel; that contract amendment was prepared and now the materials have been ordered.

The roof is just about done, sorry for the typo there. They pretty much finished it up on Saturday and now weíre cleaning up and demobilizing for the courthouse roof. Thereís a picture there of some of it in progress.

Water supply and leak monitoring; weíre trying to do specifications now.

The pump station control panel, we gave those bid specs to purchasing. Weíre going a little farther with that. Weíre going to replace the two pumps, as well, that are in that pump station and replace the cover to the pump station, so that it has a hatch rather than a manhole, so we get those in and out, a little better.

HVAC; again, specs.

Public Health; the drawings and specs are with Purchasing, again, to order that flooring. The handicapped accessible bathroom in the basement, weíll start that one after this one here, at the main complex is done.

Specs for the rooftop unit for Public Safety are with Purchasing. We donít have the specifications done yet, but we should get them done this month for bidding for the sewage pump station control panel. Again, those HVAC units with Purchasing. Carpet with Purchasing.

Mental Health; weíve procured that door. Anticipated 8 weeks for the door to come in. Waiting for some details from Terri Morse and her group on the remodel sheíd like on the inside.

We plug along at the bathroom building at the Fish Hatchery, as we have time. The well, Todd is making some specs. FEMA repairs; weíre waiting for FEMA, as always. The roof on the lower building we completed this month. Thereís a picture of it, almost done. The slip lining; those drawings and specs are with Purchasing. SPEDES with DEC is an ongoing thing.

Fairgrounds; we didnít receive any bids for painting Floral Hall. So, we got that, weíre trying to find bidders, locals, that might be interested and when weíre going to get that back out to bid.


TYLER: Jim, did you, I gave you the name.


DOUGAN: You did.


TYLER: They never got back to you?


DOUGAN: Not yet, but I did get the name of them.


TYLER: Theyíre kind of a different kind of group to work with, thatís for sure. I think theyíre really busy and they, I donít know, for whatever reason, because I asked them about another job in town, a year or so ago in Westport and never got back to me.




TYLER: Because, they did a great job at the town hall.


DOUGAN: Yup, I appreciate you sending me the name. I didnít hear back from them. Iím just trying to find some locals to reach out to.


TYLER: Alright, just making sure you got my email, I wasnít sure.


DOUGAN: I did, thank you.

Storm water; we did investigate that, the pipe that comes from the infield to the piece of storm water work that we had done last year. It looks like it is in pretty good condition. Once we receive bids for our slip lining project at the Fish Hatchery, I may ask them to provide us a price to do that work, as well.

Community Resources; we did install those windows. I gave you a picture of one set of those. We added a piece of concrete that needs to be replaced at the south end of that building, thatís in pretty bad shape. Weíre going to try to do that this year.

And then the Old Jail, weíve continued to do some more investigation; which is the other sheet that Iíve handed out and weíll come back to that in a minute.

For DPW; the canopy on the salt/sand storage shed was completed this month and we started getting prepped for the installation on gravel and paving.

Soil and Water; weíre hoping to be done, expect to be done by the end of May, here, to have them opened up to have the whole basement. Weíve procured the other man-door for the main garage and we started prepping for that concrete slab getting in the addition at DPW.

So, I tried to keep it a quick rundown, Steve.


MCNALLY: Thank you, Jim. Anybody have any questions on this? Or concerns?


DOUGAN: Yeah, you want to talk about the other item that I handed out?




MCNALLY: Oh yeah.


DOUGAN: So, last month we looked at all of those pictures of electrical and we were thinking we might have to run a whole new service to deal with this. In the Probation Building, thereís two main lines that come into Probation, two services and in the basement of Probation thereís actually two disconnects that one of them runs things over in the Old Jail and the other is in Probation and then thereís some lines that come all the way over and run things in the rest of the Main Complex. So, what we would propose to do is actually just upgrade the two existing panels, keeping one of those panels in the basement of Probation and adding another one in the basement under Treasurerís, is how we propose to do that one, rather than running a new service and by getting rid of the Old Jail, getting rid of the Pod, getting rid of those electrical services, those, all those circuits, that would free up some space in just those two panels. So, I think that would work. So, that simplifies that a little bit. The coordination will be difficult, you know, in right now the Old Jail does still have heat in it and there are some light circuits, thereís obviously heat and lights in the Pod. So, the question would be if you would want me to start this work and then continue to feedback to those other units that are going to come out of there or are we just going to wait and do it, just before we do demolition? And we just recently moved, we made a space for the Coroners in the front corner of the Old Jail, as well. But, I think all of our guys can do it, if I order the materials. I donít think we need a contractor to do that electrical relocation. We just have to schedule some work on the weekends, so that people, all of our other staff still have electric.


MCNALLY: Alright, do we have a new home for the Pod?


PALMER: We donít.


MCNALLY: We do not. Is that a done deal that thatís not going to happen?


PALMER: I donít know about that property.


MCNALLY: It looks like we might be having an election, like 4-5 this summer, the way the redistricting is going, so weíre going to definitely need that Pod this year.


DOUGAN: The water, weíre continuing to investigate. It looks like and I say it looks like, it looks like thereís a value in the main complex that was put in when the addition where, you know, where weíre sitting right now, thatís the original and this side is an addition that was done. It looks like the service that once ran the Old Jail was disconnected and then it was run through here. Itís all old galvanized line and itís pretty good sized, itís 2Ē and 3Ē, Iím a little concerned about playing with that isolation valve, unless I know that I can shut it off, outside and thus far we havenít found anything indicating a shutoff on the outside. So, Iím continuing to look for that, but thatís where we stand, right now, with water. And what TwinState did, last month, they pretty much showed that thereís only a few data lines that run between us and the Courthouse that could easily be relocated.


DOTY: No other path for water supply, Jim?


DOUGAN: Oh, thereís probably other paths. The Courthouse is connected out front, along Route 9.


DOTY: Yeah


DOUGAN: Thereís that, thereís a line here in the back, you know, potentially you could dig that up and maybe put a shutoff valve on. In talking with the Town of Elizabethtownís Water Operator, who recently retired, he doesnít recall there being any actual shutoffs, back there. There is a shutoff here, at Park Street, which would shut this line off, but I donít know if that also shuts off Horace Nye or not. Weíre trying to figure that out.


MCNALLY: Youíll know once you turn it off. That wonít be much of a mystery, will it?


HOLZER: So, itís twofold, as far as, moving ahead on this? Finding a home for the PodÖ




HOLZER: And then moving ahead, I think you should move ahead on disconnecting the power to the old jailhouse and disconnecting any breakers and blocking it off, so when weíre ready to go, weíre ready to go. Otherwise, weíre just, if we wait until weíre just about ready to tear down the building, I think itís just going to prolong it that much longer.


DOUGAN: I agree. Iím just trying to free up the space and not run new circuits or reconnect circuits, if we arenít going to keep the Pod.


HOLZER: It doesnít look, according to this it doesnít look like youíre going to have that, itís more of disconnecting the old jail, right?


PALMER: Well, youíve still got the power running into the pod.


DOUGAN: The power and some heat and there is still water in that building.


PALMER: You have the heat in the Pod and you have to maintain a network in the Pod.




HOLZER: Well, do we have a timeline that we want to try and do this in?


DOUGAN: You know, thatís, this Board tells me, you guys tell me where you want to go. I mean I can order panels.


PALMER: Yeah, why donít we get a price, pricing for the panels.


DOUGAN: I can order that and have it here and we can, I think thereís some relocation you can do, or upgrade of the panel, right in Probation; okay? To handle whatís in Probation, get that moved over, while not touching whatís over here for the old jail. The panels are these little, tiny, 16 and 20 breaker panels that were put in.


HOLZER: Fuses or breakers?


DOUGAN: No, theyíre breakers, theyíre breakers, but there are, thereís a good half dozen sub-panels, between those two main panels, here, there and everywhere. No, Iíll get pricing done for the two panels and the breakers and some wire to be prepared to do that.


MCNALLY: Is there anybody using the old jail for anything?


PALMER: Yeah, itís storage.


DOUGAN: Storage and the Coronerís are in the corner, over here, closest to Treasurer.


MCNALLY: Alrighty, so, youíll come back with the prices on the electrical?


DOUGAN: I will, yup.


MCNALLY: And of course, youíre going to continue to do research on the water?


DOUGAN: Weíll keep trying to find the water, yup and see if we can find some shutoffs.


MCNALLY: And the pod, are we still going to look for a home for it?


PALMER: Yeah, weíve got to do something with it, or either weíve got to relocate them to somewhere else, or move the pod. At some point you have to move the pod, whatever the cost to move it is.


HOLZER: So, the land at the end of the parking lot is not viable?


PALMER: Well, I havenít really, they talked about doing something else with it, that was the rumor that I was hearing. Noelís not here, is he?


HOLZER: That sounds like it would be the easiest way.


PALMER: Yeah, it would be.


MCNALLY: Good, okay. Next up, might as well stop kicking the can down the road, what are we going to do with Cornell?


GILLILLAND: Do you want to brief the meeting that we had, Mike?


MCNALLY: We did meet or Mike, you probably know the players better than I do, who was there?


MASCARENAS: Bill, Nancy, codeís George, Crawford and Sterns who was the architect that did the study, quite a few years ago, now and then, myself, Shaun, Dan, Jim. What they provided us was an update to what they had produced to the Board; which essentially added about $400,000.00 to the cost that they had initially given.


TYLER: I have that report today, so it will be handed out to all the Supervisors.


MASCARENAS: Yeah, so itís about $1.8 million, I think, was.


TYLER: Well, it depends. Again, you donít know the scope the project, so I donít know how you put a price on it, if you donít know the scope.


MASCARENAS: Well, the scope that they provided us, I think, was at $1.8 million.


TYLER: Right, you donít know if thatís the scope the County wants or not.


MASCARENAS: Well, thatís really the issue and I think thatís where the Boardís gonna have to, at some point make a decision on the scope and what weíre actually going to complete for work.


TYLER: That should have been years ago.




GILLILLAND: A lot of things should have been done years ago.


TYLER: Well, the scope should have been the first thing, Shaun.


GILLILLAND: We specifically took a look and I asked them.


TYLER: Iím not going to sit here and argue with you.


GILLILLAND: No, I had a meeting with, why donít you listen to me for a second?


TYLER: You donít want to listen to what I say anyway, so it doesnít matter.


GILLILLAND: Thatís not true, Ike.


TYLER: Youíve wanted to tear this building down, right since the beginning. So, just bring up a motion to tear it down and weíll let it go where is goes.


GILLILLAND: Ike, Ike, did we change the resolution going to Congress?


TYLER: Oh, thank you very much, but now, you know, this is, it is very frustrating for me and Iím trying to stay calm, because you guys have been totally disrespectful to this whole committee, the whole time.


GILLILLAND: That is not true.


TYLER: It is true and I have proof.


GILLILLAND: Really?I met with them at the bank.


TYLER: Did you storm out, last meeting you were at?


GILLILLAND: I did not storm at any meeting.


PALMER: No, he did not.


TYLER: Yes, he did.


GILLILLAND: No, I did not.


PALMER: We did not.


TYLER: Youíre going to stick up for him, Iím sure.


GILLILLAND: That is interesting. Okay, so.


MASCARENAS: No, I had a disagreement with one of the individuals at the meeting. Other that, if youíre talking about the meeting up at DPW, nobody stormed out.


TYLER: Whatever.


MASCARENAS: But, essentially I donít disagree, scope does need to be defined, absolutely needs to be defined on what needs to happen. Thatís been really the hiccup in this whole process is that weíre really not talking about apples to apples when weíre talking about remediation versus a new structure. So, itís hard to give the Board a real good option when we donít know.


TYLER: Exactly


MASCARENAS: How to do that; right? Jim Douganís been asking for 2-3 years, now, probably go back through the meeting minutes.


DOUGAN: 6, 6, Mike.


MASCARENAS: Well, yeah, Iíve been working on it for 22, but.


DOUGAN: Itís in the meeting minutes, I asked for the scope.


MASCARENAS: My ultimate failure has been the Cornell Building, but the, been asking, what are we going to use the facility for; right? And we keep asking those questions and trying to get what we want, I think what everybody can agree on, the folks from Westport that met with us, is that ultimatelyÖ


TYLER: Itís just not Westport. The people that you met with are mostly from Westport, but this whole group is just, thatís just the voice that come here. Thereís a group of 10-15 individuals that have been coming to meetings for all over the County.




TYLER: I mean thatís a fallacy here, you say itís Westport that wants to save the building, people from all over the County.


MASCARENAS: Iím sure there are, itís neither here nor there. I think what we can all agree on is the Cornell Cooperative Extension we would like to relocate them back there, where they originally were. We would like to have that programming where itís been for years and I think we would like to create a youth opportunity at those fairgrounds, I think moving forward. We think that the youth opportunity there is where itís at, to get not only the greatest use of the fairgrounds, you know, traditionally, youíll probably agree with me on this, there used to be a lot of ballgames there. The school used to use the field as an overflow field, right?We had soccer camps there, we had Little League games there and sometimes have some softball tournaments there. That could take a little bit of, not a lot of cost for the County in terms of getting those fields ready to play and itís certainly a need, when I look around as the Youth Bureau, countywide in terms of field space, it doesnít exist, a lot of communities donít have that and for a little bit of money, I think that makes a lot of sense to utilize that structure to be able to support whatever we do at the fairgrounds, moving forward.


GILLILLAND: The issue at the meeting was, was trying to get an apples to apples, so to whether weíre going to renovate or build a new one and you have to build that upon requirements. What are the requirements that we have? And I think Iíve discussed it with this Committee and members of this Board, what are the requirements? I asked the other, the Preservation Committee also, talk to the possible tenants that would be there and the possible tenants. The possible tenants, at this time are Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Fair, probably our own Fairgrounds Coordinator and possibly Soil and Water, if we decide to send it back, although we invested in a lot of money in keeping them at DPW. So, what are the requirements there? So, kind of hashing it out, and what I presented there, the fact that this particular building, this particular site is the only heated building out there for public use and so, if weíre going to have, if weíre going to make those fairgrounds push forward, so itís a 365 use facility, then we should have programming spaces and things in that building that will allow for that, for events and festivals and all those other things, during the winter months, that was one. Two; that it continues to be a youth and teaching building that CCE would be there. So, the other things we asked for in the requirements is comparing, was a commercial kitchen. The kitchen thatís in there now, is not a commercial kitchen, it is called a demonstration kitchen, so therefore it could not be used for, prepare meals for like the Adirondack Harvest Festival, you know prepare meals there and then go out and serve, because itís just a demonstration kitchen. So, if itís a commercial kitchen, then, you know, that much more. Then the other one was a greenhouse, a teaching greenhouse there for the use of the Master Gardnerís and also for Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Regional Representative for Cornell in the fruits and horticultural, crops and to have a facility for teaching and programming, you know for 365. So, those were the things that I was, personally, was pushing forward and I think, and Cornell was the ones that had brought these wants up, as well as, office space on the second floor. So, those are the things that after I met with the bank, with the members of the Preservation Committee, about please go find out what those requirements are and we can build to our requirements; okay? Or we can plan to our requirements on that. So, when we met at the DPW there, that was supposedly what they were going to bring forward and they didnít. So, you know if anybody has a disagreement that thatís the way we should look at this is, because I personally look at it as a fact, that you know, yes, preservation is nice, but we need the requirements for our citizens and the vision of what we have as the County moving forward should take precedence over just simply, weíre going to preserve it at all costs, because do we have a use for it, as it is, preserved at all costs. So, I think thatís the fair way to look at apples to apples. So, I throw that out there for discussion.


MCNALLY: Well, Iíve been doing this for 8 years, too, and we go in big circles, but this is my first thing, we need to get Cornell back there. Water and Soil should be down there and we should have the Fairgrounds have an office there, if theyíre going to run programs during the year down there and it has to be a 4 season building. But, the takeaway that I got, that was a little disturbing is, at the meeting, is the architect said, well, I said, we got to do this according to code and he said, well, some of these codes we donít have to follow and that is a fallacy, if the Countyís going to be involved in this process, we have to follow the codes. If the hallwayís got to be 48í upstairs and theyíre currently 36Ē, theyíre got to be converted to 48Ē. If the building needs a sprinkler; which it will, we have to follow those guidelines. Thereís no, we cannot skirt codes or I will not skirt a code. Skirting codes might save us a couple hundred thousand dollars here or there, but when someone dies in that building or something like that, weíll all pay for it. So, that has to be in the forefront.


TYLER: Are you done?




TYLER: Youíve been saying that since the beginning and a sprinkler system does not need to go in that building. I have a codeís officer in the Town of Westport that has been doing this for, going on 30 years. We didnít have to put it in our building when we did it, a 100-year old building. You want to put it in? Sure, put it in, thatís an added thing, but you donít need to for codes.


WOOD: I thought it depended on the percentage of what was happening to the building as a whole?


TYLER: No, it has nothing to do with that.


GILLILLAND: I am going to have to disagree with that. The research that weíve done shows that if itís over 50%, based on square footage than it has to be.




GILLILLAND: Okay, well, thatís what came from the State.


TYLER: Thatís wrong.


GILLILLAND: Well, Iím sorry, but thatís what came from the State.


MCNALLY: Well, I know that I justÖ


TYLER: Who said that?


MCNALLY: I built a pavilion and had to put aÖ


GILLILLAND: Itís in the State code.


TYLER: I know my codeís officer knows a lot more about codes than anybody sitting in this room, by far and heís not just saying that. You know, this has been an issue since Iíve been trying to fight for that building. Ike wants to save it, because itís in his town and thatís the furthest from the truth and nobody wants to listen to that. The true is, Iím sitting in a building, every day, when I go to work, thatís a 100 years old, that was in worst shape. Thatís the truth and I look around and see what can happen out at that building. Thatís why I want to save that building and you hear from these different people on this Committee, the negative remarks towards, I got to, listen, bring it up to the town, the whole Board, and I have a right to speak at that motion, that resolution and weíll just go through that and if you want to tear the building down, which youíve wanted to do since the beginning, I know, I hear it, weíll just go ahead and tear the building down and move on. Thatís fine. I mean, as far as trying to compare this, saving that building to a new one, there has been, for Steve to even mention those codes, he has not listened one bit to whatís been going on in our conversations.


DELORIA: Iím not on Committee, but my experience in dealing with architects, theyíre going to stamp the drawing and that stamp is going equal the New York State Building Codes.


TYLER: Right


DELORIA: So, whatever he puts down there, you know, heís going to determine, youíve got to determine your use and how the buildingís going to be used and youíve got to come up with plan that theyíre talking about that does not exist, right now. Iím not hearing, Ike, at this meeting, and Iím not on Committee, Iíll voice out, because you know me, I speak my piece, Iím not hearing teardown the building. Iím hearing, letís figure out what the hell weíre going to do with it to see if it can be paid a 365 and whatís the cost of that going to be and what type of phasing in are you going to do to get it that way.


TYLER: I agree, Robin.


DELORIA: You may only be able to use it for certain aspect at this point in time, but the architect, when he stamps that drawing, thatís code.


TYLER: That building was originally built, people donít know, for a year around building.


DELORIA: But, if the use changes and it exceeds a certain criteria then that architect is going to say, oh, by the way, I thought we didnít need it, but we do now, because of use.


TYLER: Then weíre getting back to the scope.


DELORIA: The scope, exactly.


TYLER: And weíve been fighting about that for years. Nobody wants to come with a scope for the building, because, for whatever reason.


DELORIA: I think Mike, said that itísÖ


GILLILLAND: Ike, thatís not true.


TYLER: It is true, Shaun.


GILLILLAND: I asked them to come look at the requirements and they didnít come with anything.


TYLER: What are you talking about?


GILLILLAND: On this architect who came with this plan.


TYLER: The same architect that you guys voted that was right in 2009, is now youíre saying is wrong.


GILLILLAND: The guy who said he would not be involved in this project? Is that the guy?


PALMER: Yeah, thatís the guy.


TYLER: Crawford and Sterns.


GILLILLAND: He said, no, I will not be involved in this project.


TYLER: Listen, the report is on all your desks out there and I think for this Committee to push something ahead of you guys looking at the report and having questions about the report, youíre really ahead of the game here. I think you should digest that first. Like I said, I am sick of all the animosity and the negativity and all that, that is around this building and the drama. If you want to, if this Committee wants to put on the floor to tear it down, do it, just do it, because youíve wanted to do it for years, so just do it.




TYLER: The conversation I heard with one person on the Committee was that he wanted to tear it down 20 years, so do it now, whatever.


GILLILLAND: Ike, I am, I donít want to make this personal with you, but I got $550,000.00 to renovate that building, me.


TYLER: You told me on the phone, on Saturday or on Friday, Shaun, late in the afternoon, you called meÖ


GILLILLAND: Do you want the building?


TYLER: Let me, can I talk? You said, do you want the building? I said, we canít take the building over without any money. You said, well, you can take a bond out and figure out how youíre going to pay for it. That makes a lot of sense, for the Town to take out a bond, when you already have $1.5 million that could be used for that project. That just tells me right there that youíve been wanting to give us, give the Town of Westport this building without any help for years now.


GILLILLAND: You misunderstand.


TYLER: Oh, Iím sure.


GILLILLAND: You didnít listen to me on the phone. Mike, what does he have to do to be able to get this money? Heís got to bond for it first?


MASCARENAS: Well, yeah, if anybody wanted to use the building, you would recommend that they would bond, while they wait reimbursement.


TYLER: I understand thatÖ


MASCARENAS: Because you donít know how long that reimbursement cycleís going to take.


TYLER: The County already has the $1.5 and for us to go out and get it, that would be, you never know.


MASCARENAS: Yeah, but we donít know when weíre going to get the $1.5 either.


TYLER: At least youíre in line for it now, weíre not even in line, if the Town had to go for it.


HOLZER: So, I was one of the ones advocating giving it to you, not just the way it is. Certainly with the County, you know making the building whole and then turning it over to you, certainly not making you borrow another million dollars. The County, because weíve kicked this can down the road, so much, almost has an obligation to do something there. But, Iíve said all along, Iíve been consistent with this, that I think the building would be better served being owned by the Town of Westport. I havenít changed one bit on that, but I also think we have an obligation to work together with you, if weíre going to save the building, figure out what weíre looking at in budget, once itís done, you guys take it over, you deal with the tenants and whether itís Cornell, Soil and Water, us as Fairgrounds.


TYLER: Well, I think originally, the tenants would have to be, if itís Cornell, because you would have to make it to their specs of what they want in the building.


HOLZER: Right, but then youíre going to need, so youíre not only going to need the rehab money, youíre going to need operation funds to keep the building maintained and thatís where something would come in with some kind of recurrent grant from the different organizations. I donít know, itís just a thought.




TYLER: I agree, I agree.


DOTY: Steve, I hate to turn the time clock back, but Iím one of the four thatís trying to play catchup in all this conversation. Iím going to assume that at some point, the County did a structural analysis or had someone do a report on that building, so at least I could read what the foundationís like, how many modes of heating are in it, whatís been projected, because when youíre looking at an old building and building a new one, weíve got increased costs that we all recognize in the new building market. Sometimes when you renovate, you spend a lot of time, anyway, I would like to have some basis for forming my own opinion here.


TYLER: Maybe youíll get some of those questions answered in the report thatís on your desk, out there, now.


DOTY: Oh, is it? Good deal.


PALMER: So, let me just bring, I was at the meeting and again, for me, I donít care what you use the building for, I donít care whether you do anything with the building. For me, my responsibility is to recommend to this Board how theyíre spending their money and whether theyíre spending it in the best manner that they can. The price they gave us, based upon that meeting was around $1.7, $1.8 million. It did not include a foundation. It didnít include newÖ.


TYLER: It doesnít need a foundation.


PALMER: Just let me finish, okay? It did not include foundation, it did not include new siding, it did not include any kind of an elevator to get to the second floor.


TYLER: It doesnít need an elevator.


PALMER: It didnít even look at the roof. It does not include any new windows. It does not include any new doors. So, your price, the price that they gave us of $1.7 million is, when you go to rehab it, itís going to explode. Iíve seen this happen before.


TYLER: You know where it wonít explode, Dan? Is if you use County employees to help out with the issue.


PALMER: Itís not going to change what itís going to cost to do it.


TYLER: Itís going to change about $700,000.00 - $800,000.00.


PALMER: Youíve got 80 windows and doors.


TYLER: If you use in-kind services, I can tell you that from our own project.


PALMER: Well, again, I would never recommend that you spend $1.8Ö


GILLILLAND: Ike, could you let him finish, please.


TYLER: Yeah, sure.


PALMER: I would never recommend that you spend $1.8 million rehabbing a building that youíve going to have to come back to in five years and do something more.


TYLER: You said that before, too.


PALMER: I have.


TYLER: Let me explain this to you.


PALMER: And I absolutely mean it.


TYLER: Come down to Westport, come down to Westport, we spent $800,000.00Ö


PALMER: I saw what you spent down there.


TYLER: We have no big maintenance left in that building for another 30-40 years.


PALMER: Yeah, you can paint it every 3 years.


TYLER: So, you donít know what youíre talking about.


PALMER: No, yeah, I donít know what Iím talking about.


TYLER: You donít.


PALMER: Iíve built a 100 buildings; I know what Iím talking about.


TYLER: Are they still standing?


PALMER: Yeah, they are still standing.


GILLILLAND: Steve, my recommendation on this, is that at this point, weíre still at the requirements or scoping portion of it, is this Committee, if your Committee agrees that what we described as the requirements is acceptable, then we go to the floor and we ask authorization to spend, I would say, up to $50,000.00 to come up with a conceptual design and scoping of a new building, based on that. So, we can compare apples to apples on this particular one.

Now the one Ike is putting on everybodyís desks this morning, does not go down to the level of acuity of what we described as requirements. So, if we have two different ones sitting there we can say, these are the costs, I mean we maybe in a better position.


MCNALLY: Okay, thatís a good idea, but I mean I think everyone in this Committee or the majority of the people in this Committee would agree that it has to be a four season building. Do we get that? Can we agree on that?


TYLER: I agree.


MCNALLY: Okay, is everyone in agreement that Cornell should be placed back in that building?




MCNALLY: Okay, Soil and Water should be placed back in that building?




MCNALLY: And we need a facility for the Director of the Fairground Operations?


GILLILLAND: And may I add an office for the Fair, whoever runs the Ag Society, whoever runs the Fair?


MCNALLY: And also, are we in agreement that we should have a commercial kitchen? To have any program for Cornell, we need a commercial kitchen.


MASCARENAS: Well, itís not just Cornell; right? So, if youíre going to use the fairgrounds, long term, you got to be able to be self-sufficient. You got to be able to produce food for people that are at events.


MCNALLY: And whatever codes are, and I am not a code expert. Ike said heís got somebody, but whatever has to be done at this building, has to meet the required codes.


TYLER: No doubt, like Robin says, it wouldnít be stamped if it wasnít.


MCNALLY: So, we can basically go and go to Soil and Water and ask them how much space they need.


MASCARENAS: Yeah, I think.


MCNALLY: We can go to Cornell and ask how much they need for their offices.


DOUGAN: You wanted some kind of meeting space, too? I am just writing it. I want to make sure I scope this correct.


MCNALLY: If youíre going to have programming, you need a space.


GILLILLAND: A couple of spaces.


MCNALLY: A couple of spaces, you need a large area to do programming.


DOTY: Jim, was there an issue about water in the building? I am going back a couple of months in our meetings, no?


DOUGAN: No, theyíre off of Sisco Street supply. They arenít tied directly to the fairgrounds. Youíre remembering the discussion on the fairgrounds.


DOTY: Okay


MASCARENAS: One thing, just so everybody keeps in mind, go ahead, you have somebody else with a question.


MARON: Yeah, my name is Chris Maron and Iím here representing the Westport Chamber of Commerce and Iíve got a letter that Iíd can read and I can read it here or at the other meeting about the Cornell Building and I want to see what would be the best place to do that?


MCNALLY: Got time?






MARON: Honorable Board of Supervisors, the Westport Chamber of Commerce, its mission is to advocate for business growth and cultural prosperity, urges you to restore the Cornell Extension Building at the County Fairgrounds, instead of demolishing a structure listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Here are some of the reasons to restore this County treasure.

Youíll be honoring the history of Essex County. Tearing it down and replacing will destroy part of Essex Countyís cultural and historic legacy and convey the message that our history, culture and architectural significant structures are not important.

Two; New York State grant applications for economic development and other purposes through New York Stateís Grant Gateway includes questions about the proximity of historic structures to proposed projects. If there are historic structures nearby, this provides points for the application and increases the likelihood of it being approved. Therefore, restoring the building will help Essex County, its towns and local grant seekers in getting State grants. Replacing it will limit those opportunities and lead to less money being awarded through grants to local government agencies and non-profit organizations. Thus, while there is the position that replacing it will cost less than restoring it, over the long run, tearing it down will be even more costly, because of the grants not awarded for projects in Essex County, because it lacks this historic structure.

Three; the restoration like that which happened with the Westport Town Hall will more likely use local contractors and their employees instead of construction firms from outside the area that specialize in constructing government buildings. The teardown and replace action means that the County funds will go outside our region instead of to people in our local communities. Local construction firms will likely hire younger people who will learn skills that enable them to stay and raise families here.

Next; restoration can involve local volunteers which occurred during renovation of Westportís Town Hall and both the Grange Hall and Whitmanís Garage in Whallonsburg. The restoration of the Cornell Extension Building can bring the community together, as people volunteer to do tasks like painting, cleaning, and more. Envision a crew of local people washing, scraping, priming and then painting the final finish coat, when they finish, imagine the celebration.

Next; despite the figures used to demolish and replace, and with all due respect, the apparently exaggerated costs of restoration, renovating the Cornell Extension Building is likely to cost less than it would be to destroy and replace it, plus as noted above, a restored Cornell Building will help with area get State grants, because the process gives points for historic structures and historic structures that contain these types of buildings.

If the building is replaced, hundreds of parents, who as children, attended 4-H activities there, no longer will be able to point out to their children and grandchildren the building where they learned so many important life lessons. People come to a community for its history and culture, having the opportunity to see and enjoy a restored a Cornell Extension building will honor those people and add to their enjoyment of this area. They will likely return and support our businesses and communities.

Next; the restoration helps the Countyís economy, because people see that local officials and the general public have valued this historic building and preserved it, so everyone can experience itís architectural and cultural features.The Cornell Extension building was the central location for Federal, State and Local Agencies working on agricultural matters. When the County Board curtailed use of this building, these agencies moved to separate locations. A building restored in the spirit of preservation and collaboration will provide a welcoming, centralized space for community members, farmers and families looking for support from various agencies.

In sum, restoring the Cornell Extension will promote economic vitality throughout Essex County and of course here, in Westport.

The Westport Chamber of Commerce requests that you honor Essex County history, consider how your actions on this manner have short and long term impacts for our communities and vote to restore this historic and culturally important structure.

Thank you, the Westport Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.


HUGHES: Iím not on the Committee, I just have a question about the scope. Are we allowed to rent out the building for events in the wintertime or, you know, because if weíre going to put a commercial kitchen in there, somebody wants to hold a wedding in there or a reception in there, are we allowed to rent it out?




HOLZER: Thatís the whole idea behind our marketing.


HUGHES: Yeah, yeah, I didnít know if we had talked about outside use.


MCNALLY: A commercial kitchen, say you got a person that wants to rent that kitchen for 2 hours a week to make donuts for resale, thatís allowable with a commercial kitchen.


HUGHES: Sure, I didnít know if it was mentioned in the scope and if the County could collect revenue off of that.


MCNALLY: We have people that do baking.


GILLILLAND: Or a caterer thatís coming in to do a wedding down at the Floral Hall can use it.


HUGHES: Right, I just wanted to put that out for part of the scope, potentially, thank you.


STANLEY: Iím not on this Committee, either and Iím new in here, as well, but, I think I mentioned before about the Essex County Fair and that building, how much it actually means to me and my growing up and your letter actually really points to a lot of those that I see and feel. Thatís where I did go learn how to cook. That is where I went to go do a lot of 4H projects and Horse Bowl and all those things and staying in that building overnight for horse camp. Like the things that that building can do for the County and the history that is actually in this County.

I donít know if Iím just remembering this somewhere, but, like Historic Essex County, I donít know if that was a tagline at one point in time, because of the things that are in this, in Jay, we have the Historic Covered Bridge. Clayton is trying to actually restore a historic bridge in Chesterfield. I mean we have the history of the Olympics and the things that go on in North Elba. Thereís a lot of history in this County and I think we got to save $500,000.00 or a million on something to put something new, weíre just trying to keep up with everything else and everybody else in the world thatís not taking into consideration whatís historic and I mean Iíve been fighting for years at Santaís Workshop. We have that, which is historic in Essex County. So, thereís a lot of history in this County that numbers and cents donít necessarily always make sense, if you will, but I think we have an opportunity to set ourselves a part of the rest of the world, if we donít just replace old stuff with new.


GILLILLAND: Iíve got a Bachelorís Degree in History and I have a Masterís in History. My Mother is a museologist, was a curator at the Smithsonian. I have a big history in historical preservation, I understand that, completely and I appreciate it, completely from a professional point of view. But, I think we need to say, from a point of view that you just canít have historical preservation for the simple effect of historical preservation. We have to say historical preservation is great, is wonderful, it is, and it does, thereís no denying all the attributes and the advantages that came out of that letter, but if weíre going to do that, we also have to provide for our citizens and you know, that they are provided with facilities and opportunities; okay? That right now donít exist and thatís what the whole background with the whole thing of renovating the fairgrounds and bringing it back up and bringing back up. We tried, we got $550,000.00 to help renovate that building, SHPO, time and time, again, Mike wrote multiple, multiple grants and we were denied again and again and again and again. So, it got to the point of saying, whatís more important? Is it to provide for our people or is it just to preserve a building or not? And I say, provide for the people. So, whatever, letís take a look at what our requirements are and whatís the best path for this County to go to, to provide for what we want out of that building and out of those fairgrounds. So, I understand the intangibles, but we have to work in the tangible.


TYLER: Mr. Chairman, can I speak?


MCNALLY: Yeah, go ahead.


TYLER: I think, I believe we can do both. We can provide for the people and restore a historic building. We did with our Westport Town Hall. We can do both, if we want it. If people want to work together and put their opinions aside and work together on this project, this could be a beautiful project for the County, a beautiful project.


MASCARENAS: Yeah, I just have a couple of things. One thing is, the thing weíre struggling with, too, in terms in presenting something to the Board, you know, a lot of the argument has been around code; right? Weíve been talking about that, do you have to? Do you not have to? Some of it is going to be, should you; right? What does the Board want? We have 18 Board Members that are going to ultimately vote on this project and what does the Board want? So, do you want the upstairs to be ADA compliant? Do you have to versus do you want to or should you? Is a whole different debate then what weíre having here; okay? So, when you look at price, thatís going to drive it, the scopeís going to drive it. Do you want access to that second floor? Thatís going to drive cost, whether or not you have to or not? Do you want to try and meet energy code? Thatís going to be a decision this group or the Board has to make?


TYLER: I think thatís very important.


MASCARENAS: Right and thatís where the discrepancies really lay right now, between the new and old, is the should yas versus the shouldnít yas, the wants versus the has to; right? So, until we make those decisions, we arenít going to be able to compare apples to apples.

The other thing that I want to say is, thereís another little angle here. Jim Dougan and I prepared an application that went to Stefanik and we got around a million dollars, a little shy of that, for this structure. Thatís in the hopper, it was really what they consider a pre-application. So, we still have to provide a full application. Somebodyís going to have to do that work.


TYLER: Right


MASCARENAS: That hasnít been done, yet. The first step to do that is to procure an architect and we need to do that utilizing Rural Developmentís criteria. So, anybody whoís worked with Rural Development knows itís probably the most cumbersome program out there. Itís very stringent in terms of what is allowed, what is not allowed. You know, youíve worked with DOS some, Robin and you know what that pain is, well, Rural Development is right up there with that pain; right? They have those criteria. So, Jim and I have had a lot of experience with Rural Development, probably one of the few people in the County, because we were around during the last stimulus run, years ago, Ike, when the Essex Plant got built and some of those things that happened. Jim and I managed those in our other lives. So, we have to do that. We have to procure an architect. My recommendation would be that we try and get an architect thatís worked with Rural Development, itís probably likely not going to happen, but I think we put that in our criteria, in our bid, because getting an architect that has worked with funding streams really matters, itís significant, so that youíre not fighting them every inch of the way in terms of meeting the criteria. Anybody whoís done any project knows that if you donít have a good, qualified engineer or architect, that your projectís going to struggle, because theyíre not aware of the different requirements of the funding programs. So, we have to do that either way, but whether or not you want to have a scoping session that we can get to a common ground of what we want this structure to be, until you know that, you canít put numbers together, because youíre talking about different things.


TYLER: Good idea, Mike, like considering to putting the elevator in, as opposed to a lift. We put a lift in Westport, we saved about $75,000.00. Thatís all you need to do, I mean need to do, but if we had an elevator there, it would be used the same amount of time as our lift, about once or twice a year. So, you know, thatís go along with the scoping conversation of what you want there to be or what you need there and all thatís code stuff and I recommend that we have somebody onboard with that scoping that knows codes, so weíre not sitting around the table saying, well, do we need to do this? What do we have to do here?And thereís nobody in this room that can do that.


GILLILLAND: I will say that the tenant that you want to put back in there, Cornell University requires ADA compliance for their offices, full ADA compliance.


HUGHES: Just some perspective, potentially, I probably have the oldest town hall in the County, in Essex, 1799, I think is when my Town Hall was built. Ron Jackson, former Supervisor, renovated the second floor. So, just for some perspective, the second floor of town hall, if youíve been down there, is a really large area, was renovated, 2019. We do not, we have offices upstairs, Historian, Planning, Codes, Zoning, Town Clerk, we do not have any sprinklers in that building. We do not have any second floor access to that building for handicap, wheelchair, because we couldnít afford it and did not want to put an elevator or a lift out there, it would destroy the exterior character of the building. So, if anybody is an ADA issue, we met with them on the first floor. We have slow burning sheetrock on the second floor. We have self-closing doors on the first floor. So, there are creative ways that we can get around code issues, but thereís no wheelchair going on the second floor of this building.


DELORIA: Ken, the codes did change in 2020, just so you know.


HUGHES: And thatís a fair statement.


TYLER: They change every day.


HUGHES: Yeah, thatís a fair statement, too.


DELORIA: Youíre not going to skirt, youíre talking about the insulation and the heating requirements, youíre not to skirt that.




DELORIA: Because, even renovations, not just new construction needs to meet the current energy codes.


HUGHES: Thatís a fair statement.


DELORIA: And I say that, because we renovated a building in Newcomb, we have a code officer and we were required to gut that and fir out the entire building, so that we had 2x6 walls on a structure that was made with 2x4s and thatís labor intensive, in order to meet the energy codes. So, youíre not going to skirt the energy codes with an old architect, we can do it for this number. Itís got to be apples to apples.


TYLER: Right and I will tell you that our 100-year old building is full ADA compliant.




MCNALLY: Okay, so we got to get out of here, but so, do we need a scope before we go out to bid for an architect or howís this going to work?


MASCARENAS: One of two ways, you either define the scope for the architect or you get a preliminary architect here to define scope; right? So, itís really preference, again.


TYLER: I think the right way is something to eat the frog is to just define your scope before you, tell them what we want to, something that Jimís been looking for, for years.


MCNALLY: Because we have Board in a few minutes. So, the next meeting weíll come up with a scope, so bring your ideas on the scope, we can all agree on the scope and then following we can go to Full Board and hire or put an RFP out for an architect. Is that fair?


TYLER: Sounds good to me.


MCNALLY: Alright, anything else? If not, weíre adjourned.








Respectively Submitted,




Dina Garvey, Deputy Clerk

Board of Supervisors