Massena council explores options for opening town hall

A Massena Town Council member is looking at other municipalities that have opened their town halls to get an idea of what it would take to reopen the Massena Town Hall. Bob Beckstead/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — A Massena Town Council member is looking at other municipalities that have opened their town halls to get an idea of what it would take to reopen the Massena Town Hall.

The town hall was closed to the general public effective at 8 a.m. March 18 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was originally scheduled to reopen on March 31 but remains closed.

“I’ll look to see if there are some plans out there already,” Robert Elsner told board members during their recent meeting.

Supervisor Steven D. O’Shaughnessy said the town and village court on the second floor of the town hall are scheduled to reopen on Aug. 4.

“They’re moving through the process with I think they said six a day,” he said. “I just want to get your opinion, if we want to think about opening the town hall. That’s really the only reason I can see.”

Mr. O’Shaughnessy noted that village officials were not accepting any tax or water bill payments inside the town hall while it’s closed.

Residents have been asked to put their payments in a drop box in front of the town hall, mail them in or use a credit card over the phone.

“There’s no urgency to get it open for them,” he said.

Town Clerk Pamela Catanzarite said anyone entering the town hall will need to use the rear entrance and exit through the front door.

Someone would need to be posted at the rear of the building to take the temperatures of individuals entering and ensuring they were wearing face coverings. Council member Samuel D. Carbone Jr. said that was one of his concerns.

But there were other concerns, too.

“If somebody needed the elevator to exit, we would have to set up a special process for that,” Mr. O’Shaughnessy said. “We’re going to have to go through a process... to open it up.”

“The requirements are that we have somebody at the doors. That’s the new norm,” Mr. Elsner said. “We would have to sit down and develop a plan. It’s a joint-use building. We would have to develop a plan with the village so we’re all on the same page. I wouldn’t recommend opening it up until such time as you have a plan.”

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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