Monroe moves closer to buying the Eitz Chaim building

| 05 Apr 2018 | 04:31

By Nancy Kriz
— The Monroe Town Board has moved one step closer to possibly purchasing the Eitz Chaim building it's been leasing since December 2015, by unanimously authorizing Supervisor Tony Cardone to notify Monroe-Woodbury Jewish Community Center representatives, in writing, that the town wants to exercise the option to buy the building and enter into negotiations for its purchase.
A final authorization to buy the building on Orange Turnpike would be subject to another board vote and resolution, if and when negotiations are finalized.
The building's purchase price is $2.8 million. But, two years of monthly lease payments, or $216,000 paid by the town through Dec. 1, 2017, are to be credited toward the purchase price. Applying monthly lease payments beginning in January of this year toward the purchase price will be part of the negotiation.
During the April 2 meeting, Cardone estimated approximately $261,000 in credits toward that purchase price, which would reduce the purchase price to approximately $2.539 million.
Cardone also explained the town would incur additional costs to relocate the Justice Court, in addition to building infrastructure work - including a security system lighting and information technology needs in addition to general construction and renovation work plus work to the parking lot, drainage and catch basins and other areas.
Estimated purchase price of $3.227 millionWith those additional costs, that would bring the estimated purchase price up to approximately $3.227 million, or about $146 per square foot for the 21,987 square foot building.
As part of his due diligence, Cardone said he spoke with supervisors in neighboring towns.
"This seems like a no-brainer for us, I think it's in the best interest of the town and taxpayers to move forward with the option to purchase," Cardone said at the meeting, noting the town's only other choices are to move town operations back to the old town hall or continue to stay put, pay rent and lose out on the opportunity to apply rent payments toward the purchase price.
And that's assuming no other buyer would surface.
"This is something that will be beneficial to the town from multiple standpoints," Cardone added.
Councilman Rick Colon said he felt the purchase price was a good one compared to what other municipalities have paid for comparable buildings. At the meeting, Colon said he was told the costs of some of area municipal buildings have been in excess of $6 million.
Council Mike McGinn said Eitz Chaim officials would need to address some issues, such as the condition of the parking lot, as part of the negotiation process and final purchase price.
If the board opted to pay for the building in less than five years' time, a permissive referendum would not be required. Financing the cost would be addressed as the process continues, in addition to determining a fair market pricing structure and procedures for any potential renting out of the building's catering space.
The day after the board meeting, Cardone told The Photo News: "It's a matter of us getting everything in line now, creating a timeline and structuring the financing for it. This (the building) fits our needs to a 'T.' The major renovations will be associated with the courts. It's (the building purchase) something exceptionally appealing to both Congregation Eitz Chaim and the town. We would have loved to have entertained leasing it back to them for a period of time, but we're not allowed to do so."
In other businessIn other business, the board unanimously:
Approved the renaming of the Town of Monroe Arts and Civic Center to the Monroe Theater.
Approved Nina Petito to the Conservation Commission Advisory Board with a term to expire Dec. 31, 2019.
Approved current part-time Justice Court employee Teresa Doyle to be changed to full- time status, holding the title of clerk to Town Justice, Steven Milligram.
Approved the installation of the control panel on site in the Water District 12 Pump House to alleviate the problem of the pumps continually burning out and to reduce electrical service calls. The cost of installation is approximately $1,000 plus labor charges. The control panel was previously purchased.