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Village to prepare legal complaint against Franklin County

The Saranac Lake Village Board of Trustees will continue to apply pressure on Franklin County to make good on a lease agreement it abandoned last year.

During a special meeting earlier this week, trustees voted unanimously to authorize village staff to continue negotiations with the county.

But trustees also want village Manager John Sweeney and village Counsel Charles Noth to begin preparing a formal legal complaint against Franklin County, should negotiations fall through.

The village's spat with the county dates to last year, when the county moved its social services and public health offices out of the second floor at 3 Main Street and into new space at the Saranac Lake Adult Center.

That action effectively broke an agreement which had Franklin County leasing the space through 2013. Village officials estimate the county owes about $48,000.

A resolution to begin preparing a lawsuit was tabled in March, after Mayor Clyde Rabideau told trustees that county lawmakers had an "epiphany."

But Trustee Jeff Branch said he still wants to pursue legal action, just in case.

"John [Sweeney] has said that he wants to continue to negotiate with the county," he said. "He can negotiate with them as long as the end result, in my opinion, is that we get full value for our money. And whether that means cash or its split up and we get $48,000 worth of roads paved, it doesn't matter. I want to keep their feet to the fire."

Sweeney said he instructed the county's attorney to draw up an offer that covered the village's cost.

"That's kind of where we are," he said. "We're still in negotiations with them and the resolution was written in that matter so that the end result was we could continue to talk or leave the legal option open."

According to Sweeney, he met with Franklin County Legislator Tim Burpoe and Attorney Jonathan Miller in early March and asked for a settlement.

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