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Village of Adams tables vote to borrow money for fire hall expansion

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ADAMS — A short-handed village Board of Trustees on Monday night tabled a vote to borrow money to fund a fire hall expansion, as it heard several villagers’ concerns about the project.

About 20 residents attended the 50-minute public hearing, prompting a move from the village office’s conference room to the larger courtroom. Trustees say the expansion project, which will add new bays and storage space, is necessary due to a lack of room at the hall.

Dennis E. Crowley complained that the village should not proceed with the spending for the expansion while it had more spending looming in its search for new water.

William J. Doe, chairman of the village Planning Board, repeated his opposition to the project because of its price tag and tax impact. Before the meeting, he delivered a letter protesting the project to the board from him and fellow board members Thomas G. Williams, Arden R. Sharpe and Richard Bushnell.

Mr. Sharpe told the board he was concerned about locking into another long-term spending project.

“You’re putting us in a position we can’t get out of,” he said.

Mayor Patricia C. Sweetland said the village had handled the multiple projects “the best way we know how.”

Trustee Keith S. Perry said that he was confident the expansion project would cost at or below the maximum $1.2 million borrowing level and that the project and its costs had been fully studied.

With Deputy Mayor Nancy C. Murphy and Trustee Todd M. Race absent and Trustee Philip F. Chatterton abstaining because of his connection to the department, only Ms. Sweetland and Trustees Brian C. Thomas, Christopher J. Singleton and Mr. Perry could vote for the project, not enough for a needed supermajority. The board instead voted to table the vote until its Aug. 19 meeting.

“Kids, if you get anything from this, it’s everybody gets their say,” Mr. Thomas said after the meeting to a group of high school students at the meeting for a class assignment.

Following the meeting, Mr. Perry called the delay “extremely disappointing.”

Ms. Sweetland said further delays only added more administrative costs to the project.

Opponents of the fire hall funding will have 30 days after a borrowing resolution is passed to collect signatures on a petition to force a referendum. With the village having about 925 registered voters, a petition would need about 185 signatures to launch a referendum, according to section 9-902 of state Village Law.

The board on Monday also unanimously approved transferring up to $70,000 from the village’s street repair reserve to pay for the repaving and reconstruction of the last block of East Church Street.

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