Earlier this month, Southold Town closed on the former Capital One building on the corner of Youngs Avenue for $3.1 million with plans to move Justice Court operations to a better location, but recent recommendations had the Town talking about what to do with the newly acquired building yet again.
The building currently holds Southold Town Annex, which houses the Planning Department, accounting and personnel departments. The space was previously leased prior to the purchase of the building.
The town adopted a bond resolution in March to secure the $5.5 million estimated to purchase the building and complete necessary renovations. The town has $1.9 million for upgrades, with an extra $500,000 in contingency funds.
Questions were raised from the police department and Department of Public Works about whether it would better to keep the Justice Court where it is now and move Town Hall to the new building just down the road, but Supervisor Scott Russell said at Tuesday’s work session that has already been examined.
Town engineer Jamie Richter said that by moving the Justice Court, which currently shares the town’s meeting space, as opposed to moving Town Hall, operations will only be disrupted minimally during the move.
“Basically we could fit the Town Clerk’s office, the assessor’s office, the tax receiver’s office and put them [in the new building], but first and foremost, you’re not going to gain another large meeting hall,” Mr. Richter said about moving Town Hall to the annex.
He also said the general idea was that the court should serve only as a court and not have double functions as it does now.
Mr. Russell agreed that if Town Hall was moved to the current annex, there would be similar problems with scheduling as there are now, because there is no space for a meeting hall in the former Capital One building.
Mr. Richter will move forward with plans to convert the building to a new Justice Court, which will be dedicated for that purpose and will not have a double use.