The future of the Plattsburgh city marina may hinge on a decision about a moldy food stand. The Plattsburgh City Council and the Mayor are at odds on how to move forward.
The Plattsburgh food stand was deemed an "unsafe structure” when it flooded after Lake Champlain overflowed in April 2011 and then it was abandoned and infested with mold ever since.
City leaders say the former food stand located at Plattsburgh's marina is what's standing in the way of its growth. It's also left the City Council and the Mayor at odds.
“When it comes to process, the charter really clearly states that the Mayor is in charge of process and that was the part that really bothered me about the discussion,” said Mayor Jim Calnon, (I/R – Plattsburgh).
The discussion Mayor Jim Calnon is talking about happened at Plattsburgh's last City Council meeting.
Calnon proposed a $17,000 expenditure: $4,300 for mold assessment testing at the food stand and the rest for engineering designs if the building was deemed fixable.
The Council voted it down saying it did not want to allocate money for something that may not happen.
“I think it's just a matter of process,” said Joshua Kretser (Ward 6 – Plattsburgh). “I've been hearing from my constituents just questions and concerns regarding the fact that the building does lie in a flood plain. It's quite probable that it could flood in the future so I think the taxpayers are just a little nervous that we might be putting money towards something that wouldn't be a sound investment for our waterfront."
“A kind of belief that if I was authorized to spend $17,000, I was required to somehow spend all of it which is contrary to fact, and contrary to good sense. That's contrary to efficient government. Councils are legislators. They're there to authorize things and fund things and the Mayor is the head of the executive branch and the executive branch is the one that actually gets these things done,” said Mayor Calnon.
Eventually, all the councilors present agreed to fund the $4,300 mold assessment and to hold off on the rest.
“This is a process we went through. We're learning how to work together. I hope that in the future we can communicate better and collaborate better,” said Rachelle Armstrong (Ward 1 – Plattsburgh).
A Plattsburgh company, Atlantic Testing Laboratories, will be performing the mold study.
The hope is that, if the food stand can be cleaned and used, it will be a part of a greater improvement project at the city marina.