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Granite Quarry board sets date for one-day retreat; Town Hall renovations on agenda

GRANITE QUARRY — A building committee of Aldermen Jim Costantino and John Linker has quickly realized that deciding on renovations to Town Hall requires considerably more time and input.

Linker told the full Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen on Monday night that renovating the administration building, which also includes the fire and police departments, is a huge and expensive project.

Linker said he would like to make it “a major item of discussion” at the board’s retreat in early 2019.

“We’ve got to have everybody’s buy-in,” Linker said. “It’s a very complicated, detailed issue.”

For quite a while, the town board has discussed possible changes to both the interior and exterior of Town Hall, looking at various recommendations and drawings.

The aldermen have hoped exterior changes, for example, could be a catalyst for other property owners to make improvements in the central business district.

Alderman Jim LaFevers asked that one aspect of the changes at Town Hall be taken up sooner — the possibility of purchasing a digital marquee out front to replace the sign board with changeable letters.

One of the latest cost estimates the town has for a new digital sign is about $15,000. At LaFevers’ request, discussion of that item will be on the board’s monthly meeting agenda in January.

Otherwise, the broader Town Hall issues will be taken on at a February board retreat. In recent years, these annual retreats, often looking at capital needs in departments and long-range projects overall, have been held over one-and-a-half to two days.

Linker said Monday night he thinks a retreat could be more productive if held just one day, not two.

What often happens with two-day retreats, Linker said, is that the agenda maker feels obligated to fill up the scheduled time slots with some things that are not necessary.

“I don’t want to go through another budget retreat where nothing happens,” Linker said.

Mayor Pro Tem Jim LaFevers agreed. “Sometimes we have things we don’t need,” he said.

Instead of scheduling outside groups to make presentations, LaFevers said, he would like issues with more meat, “to deal with our problems.”

Town Manager Phil Conrad and Mayor Bill Feather have usually put together the retreat agendas, but they also have asked board members for input on what those agendas should be.

They noted Monday night they usually do not receive a lot of input.

Going into Monday’s meeting, the board was asked to consider a retreat for Feb. 22 and 23. After hearing some of the discussion, Conrad suggested scheduling the retreat for Feb. 22 — a Friday — and leaving the following Friday open in case aldermen feel more time is necessary.

In the end, the board agreed to hold its retreat Feb. 22, starting at 8 a.m. The day probably will include a working lunch.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

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