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Negotiations continue over rental space at SL village offices

Officials continue to negotiate in hopes of reaching an agreement on a lease deal that the village of Saranac Lake says Franklin County illegally backed out of.

At Monday night's regular board meeting, village Manager John Sweeney said he's still in talks with county attorneys in hopes of reaching an agreement soon.

In May 2008, the county entered into a lease with the village to rent the second floor of the village offices on Main Street. Under the terms of the agreement, the county would rent the space for five years, with the lease expiring on March 31, 2013.

Village officials say the county "unilaterally abandoned" the premises in December 2010, effectively defaulting on the agreement.

The Franklin County Department of Social Services and the Department of Public Heath nurses offices moved from the village building to office space at the Saranac Lake Adult Center last year.

Village officials estimate the county owes approximately $40,000 - it had been paying about $7,000 per quarter to lease the space.

Speaking Monday, Sweeney said talks are ongoing.

"They have put some items on the table in reference to trades and engineering downtown that they would be willing to picks up through CHIPs, and design work," he said.

Additionally, Sweeney says Franklin County has offered some in-kind services to make up for the lost lease money.

Sweeney and village Counsel Charles Noth have asked the county for specific dollar amounts.

"I think the effort has been there from individuals within Franklin County, it's just that I need to get it from the attorney," he said.

Trustee Jeff Branch says those offers need to be put in front of the board before it can make a decision on whether or not to pursue legal action against the county.

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