Town closes on new offices site

Town closes on new offices site
Photo courtesy of the Town of Granville's website. A "Welcome to Granville" sign.

The Granville Town Board has announced its closing on the former Manchester Newspapers building at 14 East Main Street, which will be converted into the town’s offices.

The Manchester Newspapers building located at 14 E. Main St. in Granville

Supervisor Matt Hicks said he has the keys to the building and that conversations on placement of offices, the courtroom and logistics have begun. The board aims to move daily operations of the clerk’s office from 42 Main Street to the new building by Thanksgiving.

“It would be our intention that once we fully move in over there, we would put this building up for sale,” Hicks said at the Sept. 9 board meeting.

However, Judge Roger Forando is awaiting approval of a state grant application to build and equip a new court bench as well as furnish the new courtroom, so the town court may have to stay at the current building for the time being.

“I estimate it (the state grant) will be anywhere between $25,000 and $28,000,” Forando said.

While Forando communicates with the state court system, Hicks and board member Tom Cosey will handle the navigation of technology and security needs. The supervisor said he anticipates the board members and town officials to be able to use key fobs to get into the building rather than printing off several keys that could be lost.

Board members Jim Bradt and Matt Rathbun are working with Harrison Steves on needed repairs for the new location and board member Ken Quick is focused on furnishing the offices and building.

Hicks said the state’s timetable of approving the state grant is in question, but the estimation of potential approval is December or January.

“Worst case scenario, the court stays for the time being,” Hicks said via phone call. “We hope to be in here (the 14 East Main Street building) before it gets too chilly.”

During the meeting, the board scheduled a 2022 tentative budget workshop and a public hearing to discuss the eventual decision of either allowing or disallowing the on-site consumption and or retail dispensary of cannabis in the town of Granville. The hearing will be  on Wednesday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m.

“You have the ability to opt out of those things, do one or the other, or both,” town attorney Mike Catalfimo said to the board regarding the cannabis decision. “You also have the option to do nothing.”

If the board fails to make a decision, the town will opt out of both and will not have the opportunity to opt in to either a dispensary or on-site consumption area.

Because of 34 new COVID-19 cases reported in Washington County as of Sept. 9, the board is encouraging and recommending attendees of the meeting to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status.

Two budget transfers were made during the meeting, with funds moved from the general fund contingency.

The first saw $600 moved so town highway superintendent Scott Taylor could purchase new road signs that were stolen. This has been an ongoing issue in the town, although Hicks, Taylor and police are unaware of who is stealing the signs or why.

“(Signs have) been stolen since the spring,” Hicks said. “The one he’s (Taylor) replacing now, they hooked a chain to the pole and ripped the pole right out of the ground.”

The second transfer was $2,000 to pay a bill from a CPA firm that analyzed discrepancies in lost revenue from 2016-2020.

It was determined $161,635 was lost, and that funds from the American Rescue Plan Act stimulus can go toward covering this. The town received close to $405,000 in stimulus funds.

“I think it’s great we’re eligible to use that towards the general fund,” Hicks said.