Sherman residents cool to new Town Hall idea

by Rodney Schroeter
of The Review staff

SHERMAN — Residents attending the town’s 169th annual town meeting the night of Wednesday, April 18, made it clear that they saw no need to spend money on a new town hall building.

About 20 residents attended the meeting, despite the late-season snowstorm.

The town currently uses a portion of the building housing the Silver Creek Fire Department. Town Chairman William Goehring explained how the idea of possibly building a free-standing town hall came up.

First, Clerk/Treasurer Rhonda Klatt needs a larger and more secure area to keep town records locked up. Second, some board members thought it was time to consider a separate building for the town hall.

It was asked where the new hall would be located. Goehring replied that placing it near the transfer station had been discussed. However, if residents supported a new building, a committee would be established to consider options, including its location. Then, once plans are in place, residents would decide through a referendum whether to go ahead with it.

Residents expressed doubts that the town needed a new building, instead of working with and expanding the current facilities.

Silver Creek Fire Chief Todd Stange said the fire department had discussed the issue.

“We as a fire department are in no way interested in having the town of Sherman leave this building,” he said. “It works out well for both parties. Obviously, it saves money. Shared resources is huge. Somebody’s out here snow plowing tonight. That’s a shared resource.”

Stange said members of the department had discussed the town’s need for secure storage of documents. “We did give the OK to renovate the town room” for that purpose, he said.

Firefighter Tony Hurley added there has been a long history of cooperation between the town and fire department. “I would prefer to see it go that way as a town of Sherman resident.”

Supervisor Kris Klein explained how the idea of a new town hall started. About a year ago, Klatt had told the board of her need for a secure area that only the clerk and chairman would have access to.

“We’re stacking filing cabinets on top of filing cabinets in [the vault], and our meeting room/office is getting smaller and smaller,” Klein said.

An option the board discussed in recent months was to build a wall in the already-small town office, to provide a secure area for town records. Klein said the fire department was approached with that proposal, but the town had not received any encouraging reply.

“After thinking about it, and I’ll take some of the heat because I brought it up, I said, ‘We do need to update our transfer station.’” Klein said use of open dumpsters will eventually have to be phased out, and trash compactors installed. That would mean bringing electricity to the transfer station, which could also be used by a new town hall building.

“But again, that was just one idea,” Klein said. “But we do need more room. And it would be nice, if we are going to stay here, for us to be able to work a little more with the schedule.”

He hoped Town Board meetings could be held in the main fire hall (as this night’s annual meeting was), instead of the current town office, which is often filled to capacity.

“It wouldn’t be half-bad to have our name out front, too,” Klein said. “‘Town of Sherman and Silver Creek Fire Department,’ so people actually know where our town hall is.”

Hurley assured the board the fire department is open to discussing how the town’s needs can be better met. He said representatives of both sides had not yet sat down to discuss this. “We’re willing to work with the Town Board on this,” he said.

The discussion focused on how to keep the town government in the present building, upgrading as needed. Not one remark favored a new building.

Goehring said the discussion was very helpful.

Klein gave an overview of work done on town roads in 2017. The financial report, given to all attendees, gave some detailed numbers on the Abbott Drive project, which Goehring went over.

Supervisor Patricia Horne reported that the cost of running the transfer station in 2017 was $5,729. She said that was after money received through recycling grants and sales of stickers. Supervisor Robert Boehlke added that the staff there are doing a good job. Goehring said, “We have a very well-managed transfer station.”

The board and electors approved:

• Accepting the financial report for 2017.

• Authorizing Goehring and Klatt to sign checks for the town, with Klein and Supervisor James Fahney as alternates.

• Keeping salaries for town officials unchanged.

• Setting May 19 and October 20 (both Saturdays) as brush collection days at the transfer station.

Goehring remarked that he thought the town was working well, and expressed appreciation for the efforts of the board. He thanked Klatt for her work, and other board members added their thanks to her.

Goehring thanked the Plan Commission and its members, and the transfer station staff.

Goehring thanked electors for re-electing him to the County Board. He said the new county shed at County J and State 67 is nearly complete and will have an open house on June 15. He said the newly formed library system has made more resources available to library users.

The county sales tax, Goehring said, has been in place a little over a year and has helped municipalities with road maintenance.

Klein said he is often asked if all other county sheds will close, with the new one opening at J and 67. He said this will not happen. Four county sheds will continue to operate.

After the meeting, Klatt allowed those interested to look in the vault area. Several attendees also toured the town office and learned what kinds of records needed to be retained.

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