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Village tables office space lease with Harrietstown

SARANAC LAKE — The village Board of Trustees tabled the renewal of its lease of office space in the Harrietstown Town Hall on Tuesday.

The decision came after Trustee Allie Pelletieri raised concerns about the amount of rent the village would have to pay and other stipulations in the proposed two-year agreement with the town of Harrietstown.

The village offices have been located on the second floor of the town hall since December 2011. Previously, they were located in the three-story former Paul Smith’s Electric Light and Power and Railroad Company building at 3 Main St.

Under the first year of the proposed lease, the village would pay the town $15 per square foot for the 2,861 square feet of office space it uses, for a total of $42,915 per year or $3,576 per month. In the second year, the rent would increase by 2 percent to $43,773 per year or $3,648 per month. The lease would run for two years from Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2018.

Among other clauses, the village’s rent would be reduced by $750 per month so the village can pay rent for use of the parking lot next to Wholesale Furniture & Appliance, which is owned by Paolo Magro. The village’s rent payment also includes water, sewer and heating costs.

Trustee Tom Catillaz said he thinks the rent is “kind of steep.”

Pelletieri agreed and said there’s a few things in the agreement he didn’t like, particularly a clause that allows the town to be part of any negotiations the village enters into for high-speed, fiber-optic cable internet service in its offices, so the town can get the identical service. The village signed a contract with Slic Network Solutions last year that, among other things, would provide the village with high-speed fiber-optic service in the village offices.

“How can we ever tell somebody else what to charge somebody else?” Pelletieri asked. “We have no control over if Slic wanted to charge them whatever their amount is. Let them go out on their own.”

Pelletieri also said he compared the cost of the village’s lease to the lease Franklin County has with the town for the Department of Motor Vehicles office on the first floor. While he noted the DMV has a “prime, first-floor location,” Pelletieri noted the county pays $225 per month, or $2,700 per year, for about 600 square feet of office space.

“That equates to $4.50 per square foot. The town wants $15 from us. To me, that’s not negotiating in good faith or fairness,” Pelletieri said. “We shouldn’t be treated like that.”

The board voted 4-0 to table the proposed lease. Mayor Clyde Rabideau asked Pelletieri and Catillaz to approach the town to discuss the issues they raised and bring come back to the village board.

“With something more equitable and more appropriately treating a sister municipality,” added Trustee Paul Van Cott.

Later, Trustee Rich Shapiro said the village should start thinking about where it wants its office space to be in the future.

“Our negotiation position right now is rather weak with the town because we don’t have an alternative place to go,” he said. “Now is the time to figure out what we’re going to do two years from now.”

The options could be the former state armory on Route 3, returning to 3 Main St. or staying put, Shapiro said.

“I think we have options right now, but better options can be had for sure,” Rabideau said.

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