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Legislators Mull Future of Legislative Chambers

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Legislators Mull Future of Legislative Chambers

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Legislators began to wrestle with the prospect of moving from their current Chambers, most likely to interim space in the Old Courthouse, following the New York State Court System's request for the County to provide a firm timetable concerning when the Legislature will vacate that space, to make way for a courtroom for the Supreme Court.

Legislature Chair Martha Robertson reported on administrative judge Robert Mulvey's discussion last week with the Capital Plan Review Committee, in which he stated the Courts could occupy space with only "minimal renovations," but needed the Legislature to vacate its space as soon as possible. Under the New York State Court Facilities Act counties are mandated to provide whatever space is needed by the Court System.

Several legislators stressed that it's important for the Legislature to move thoughtfully and carefully, paying close attention to what is practical and feasible. Legislator Mike Lane said that money is spent on an retrofitting for an interim solution, following by permanent facilities, such as a Center of Government administrative building, would amount to spending twice.

Chair Robertson said she believes an interim move to the Old Courthouse would involve little expense, and stressed that a lot of information must still be gathered before any decision is made. Facilities director Arel LeMaro characterized the Old Courthouse option as a good interim plan. County Administrator Joe Mareane called the decision "a tough call," reminding legislators that, under law, the County could be ordered to do whatever the State wants.