Split Legislature stalls plan for new Lewis County building

Lewis County building

LOWVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - The Lewis County Board of Legislators is split on whether or not to build a new county building.

The board met in a special session Tuesday to discuss options. It's something that's been talked about for years.

“Let’s make a decision that we are going to move forward in one shape or form that we are going to commit ourselves to build a building,” District 4 legislator Bryan Moser said. “I don’t care what it is, let’s make a commitment now so we aren’t dragging our feet like we’ve been doing.”

Lewis County District 4 legislator Bryan Moser argues for moving forward with building a new county government building.
Lewis County District 4 legislator Bryan Moser argues for moving forward with building a new county government building. (Source: WWNY)

Plans were drafted six years ago for a new building next to the sheriff's office. The plan, proposed by District 10 legislator Jerry King, would cost $12.5 million.

"If we do the building, it solves a lot of the problems and if we don't do the building, then we got other problems," King said.

Now there is discussion of changing the building's location or downsizing. Another option is renovating the old DSS building.

"I make a motion to build a new building," Moser said.

"Do we have a second?" King asked. "I'll second it."

Legislators voted 5-5 on the motion, effectively blocking it. Some legislators said people in their districts are against a new building.

"People are saying this, that, and everything else, but until we know what we are doing and can present it," King said, "how do they know they are against it?"

Board chair Lawrence Dolhof said he thought it made more sense to go forward by forming a committee to get input from the community and county officials.

"I agree that we should continue to move the process forward and study the issue," Dolhof said. "I'm not sure if that in that process, we will either build a new building or we may get by with renovating an existing one."

What's next appears to be up in the air.

"I don't know what's going to happen," King said. "We'll just have to wait and see."

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