Fate Of Busti Town Hall To Be Discussed Next Week

BUSTI – Dr. Rudy Mueller continues to be a proponent of moving Busti’s town offices into Lakewood’s village hall. On Monday, he enlisted the help of Habiterra Architecture to explain his reasoning.

David Walter, Habiterra’s senior vice president, discussed a draft plan which offered alternatives to purchasing the Tordella’s Surfaces building at 125 Chautauqua Ave. Walter was speaking at Monday’s Busti Town Board meeting on behalf of Paul Hedin, a Habiterra board member who had been working with Mueller.

“One option I think has been discussed is taking over the indoor parking area,” Walter said. “This is where the police cars are parked now. Obviously, the police department would have to give that up.”

Walter said by Busti moving into where the police are currently, they wouldn’t need to worry about the problems moving to the second story of the village hall would bring.

John Bentley, Lakewood-Busti police chief, said he needed the space for everything he is required to keep by law with secure access. This ranges from evidence to records.

“I have to have a space that big,” Bentley said. “For what it’s worth, it’s close to overflowing right now.”

Rick Thor, Busti town councilman, said the town court requires at least 7,000 square feet, and there was no way to do that at the village hall unless they took over the second floor. That move would also bring its own set of problems and costs, including bringing the building up to code.

Lakewood Mayor David Wordelmann said Lakewood had no reason to get involved if it cost the village money.

“Right now we have no reason, we’re fine,” Wordelmann said. “If it costs us money, it makes no sense for us to be involved. We’re not spending anything right now.”

When it was brought up that an architect would need numbers, Thor said Charlie Smith, Lakewood code enforcement officer, had those numbers and Mueller had a discussion with Smith. He then asked him what Smith had said concerning moving into Tordella’s versus moving into the village hall.

What Thor was referring to was Smith’s comment at Lakewood’s last village board meeting where he said economically, it was smarter to move into Tordella’s. Mueller replied it may be expensive, but it was an investment. Thor brought up that the estimate for the village hall was close to $1 million.

“Why don’t you let an architect come up with a number? What are you afraid of?” Mueller challenged. “If it is $1 million, it is a $1 million. Whatever condition you make, if you buy that building, it will be for the rest of our lifetime.”

Due to time constraints, Habiterra was unable to give numbers pertaining to their proposal. Busti officials have moved their town board meeting that will discuss the move to Wednesday at 6:45 p.m. Mueller spoke Monday because he will be unable to attend that meeting due to a scheduling conflict.

In other news, the resolution for the disinterment policy was tabled once again, and Jeff Swanson was appointed the temporary part-time-in-training code enforcement officer for Busti and Lakewood to take over when Smith retires in June.

“The mayor and I have been working on this for a year for shared services, and this is another step in the right direction,” said Busti Supervisor Jessi Robbins.

The board accepted the resignation of Michelle McIntyre from the zoning board of appeals and appointed Robert Whitman as chairman of the zoning board. They also approved the purchase of the liability and property insurance for 2014.

Bentley would like to remind citizens to keep doors and windows locked to protect themselves from home burglaries, and if they see anything suspicious, to call the police.