Joint Town and Village Board Muncipality Explored

Photo by Holly Lipka.

The New Paltz Town Board and Village Board are currently examining the possibility of building a joint government municipality on Route 32 and Veterans Drive. The building is proposed to be a four story, 30,000-square-foot facility where both the town and village board would work closely yet maintain themselves as separate governments.

“I am a big proponent of brainstorming,” said New Paltz Village Mayor Tim Rogers. “If we are working in the same building, the ability to speak everyday in person will increase the efficiency of pursuing various projects for the community. This will also potentially lead to shared services and reduced government costs.”

Rogers said there is an ambition for the possible facility to add additional government offices. These would include the New Paltz Police Department and New Paltz Justice Courts. Rogers also added that Albany is in favor of collaborative governmental facilities because of cost efficiencies in combining many office and building costs.

Town employees currently operate in rented trailers at the town Highway Department site on Clearwater Road since black mold was found in the Town Hall in November 2014. New Paltz Town Supervisor Neil Bettez said that these trailers are an additional cost to the New Paltz government and taxpayers that could be cut down if a new municipality were to exist.

Although the estimated cost of construction for the proposed project amounts to $10 million, Bettez explained that there is a number of costs for maintaining two buildings that would be decreased if one building were to exist. Possible shared service costs that have potential to save the New Paltz government money include a shared Internet Wi-Fi contractor, copier machines and building maintenance.

According to Bettez, possible grants from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) could be received if the new municipality made movements towards running on green energy. Grants could amount up to approximately $50,000 from the NYSERDA Commercial New Construction Program, which encourages green energized construction in New York towns and villages. This program provides financial incentive and technical support to local governments to move towards energy efficient improvements in their infrastructure.

The three acre property of which New Paltz Village Hall is located on is jointly owned by the town and village. 2.8 acres are owned by the village, including Peace Park, and .2 acres are owned by the town, which includes the court house.

If this new government building came to fruition, the village hall property and municipality would be sold for commercial or residential purposes. The decision to sell the property as commercial or resident would be a decision made by the village and town collaboratively, according to Rogers.

“Right now this is only a dream,” Bettez said. “We will be   working collaboratively [with village board] to see what we want and what we can afford.”