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Massena officials mull building improvements

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MASSENA — Town officials have a “to-do” list of repairs and updates to municipal buildings, but haven’t yet decided whether and how to fund them.

The Massena Town Hall facade and steps are deteriorating and need to be repaired. Town barn updates must happen soon to keep the building functional, Highway Superintendent Frank J. Diagostino said. And additional security measures may be installed at those buildings.

“If we’re going to do this, we need to decide what we’re going to do and how much we’re going to bond for,” Supervisor Joseph D. Gray said.

Mr. Gray said the improvements and repairs will be necessary.

“We’re not talking extravagance. We’re not talking about building anything new. We’re talking about maintenance and improvement,” he said. “When chunks of the facade have fallen down and could hit somebody, we’ve got to do something about that sooner rather than later ... I just don’t think you have a choice.”

A piece of stone fell off the building last year and hit the bill drop box, near where Bookkeeper Nancy A. Fregoe was standing. Officials said the grout holding the stones together needs to be replaced.

Mr. Diagostino urged the board to act soon on town barn improvements.

“The roof leaks. The floor’s bad. The break area is a mess,” he said. “If you’re going to keep the building, we’re going to have to do something to it before it falls down.”

The town has a responsibility to make the improvements, Deputy Supervisor Albert N. Nicola said. The town board had a similar discussion on building improvements last summer.

“You’ve got buildings. You’ve got infrastructure,” he said. “You just don’t let them deteriorate.”

Mr. Nicola said the projects are moving forward.

“We’ve identified the projects. We’ve prioritized the projects ... If we don’t have the money, we’re going to have to bond,” he said.

Three different engineering companies are providing the town with cost estimates on a project-by-project basis, Mr. Nicola said.

“We’ve got to wait until these people respond back to us,” he said.

Mr. Nicola said the town should be able to borrow for the projects.

“I don’t think we’re near our debt ceiling,” he said.

Town board members said they would have to review project cost estimates before proceeding any further with the repairs.

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