Salina Supervisor Mark Nicotra supports a major change to the way the town does business by moving the town hall and highway garage into what is now a car dealership. Monday night, the town board decided voters will make the decision in a November referendum.
Nicotra says the Salina Town Hall is in major need of repair to its roof, heating system and other areas. He says the Town Highway Garage on Factory Avenue is in such bad shape, it's beyond repair. He says it would be better for taxpayers to move the town operations rather than fix up the existing facilities.
"There's no question it would be cheaper to move than to renovate." Nicotra told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon.
He explained it would cost $7.8 million to renovate the town hall and replace the highway garage. Nicotra says it would cost $5.9 million to move into the Burdick dealership building for a savings of nearly $2 million.
Monday night, taxpayers got their first chance to see what the new facility would look like and hear first hand why elected officials say it's needed. "Doing nothing is not really an option. That's what we've been doing over the past 3 years which is just bandaiding ... we can't do that anymore." Nicotra said.
"I think it would be a great idea," said Salina resident Herb Werner. "Everything would be on one floor."
Even though there is a savings, a homeowner with a $100,000 house would still pay $15 to $20 a year for the sale.
"My biggest concern is we're coming off of a 73% county property tax increase here in salina and to ask taxpayers, right now, for such a significant investment in a new building is really kind of scary," said David Stott who is running for a seat on the Onondaga County Legislature.
Highway Superintendent Mike Geno says the highway garage is in such bad shape, it is "sinking." Geno showed Kenyon large cracks in the walls and floor. He says the garage was build on an old dump in the '70's and is slowly sinking into the ground.
At Monday's meeting there was concern over the highway trucks adding more traffic to Old Liverpool Road. The busy street is going to get even busier once commercial vehicles are banned from Onondaga Lake Parkway. "The heavy traffic that's going to be taking place here with the parkway trucks, its going to be nightmare. Getting in and out of a new hall there, would probably require a new traffic light," said Armond Cannella who lives in the Town of Salina.
Do you think Salina should move into a former car dealership?