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Essex County lawmakers talk possible lawsuit, Nye closing

ELIZABETHTOWN — Despite their festive attire — including comically-large bow ties and wardrobe choices that protected all participants from Leprechaun pinches — the Essex County board of supervisors was all business at their meeting on Monday, March 17 at the Government Center.

Among the most salient topics: swelling infrastructure expenditures, a private lawsuit-related discussion session and the North Country’s simmering property tax issues.

COUNTY GARAGE

Lawmakers grilled outgoing Department of Public Works superintendent Anthony LaVigne on his resolution for an additional $28,000 from the board to pay contractors to refurbish the county garage in Lewis by stripping off the deteriorating siding and putting up a cement overcoat.

After a volley of hard-hitting questions from the lawmakers — including why the project, which was originally capped at $100,000, needed to go out to bid, the timeframe for project commencement, the choice in building materials (a type of long-lasting concrete, not plastic siding), exactly how long exposed insulation could withstand the elements and what a possible threshold for “just good enough” might be when it comes to how much cash to pump into the project before tightening their purse strings — the resolution was tabled by committee chairman Gerald Morrow after a request from Westport town supervisor Dan Connell to allow LaVigne another month to root out the necessary info.

LaVigne is slated to retire in May. A decision to who will replace him has not yet been made public.

EXECUTIVE SESSION

County attorney Daniel Manning called for an executive session — a privilege the board is awarded by state law to discuss sensitive issues, including discussions regarding proposed, pending or current litigation — to discuss a “possible lawsuit” related to Level 3 Communications, LLC.

Officials emerged after 50 minutes behind closed doors as members of the public waited in the galley for the animal task force meeting that had been pushed back, many wearing cross expressions, and didn’t appear to be keen on informing the press what they discussed.

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