Written by Melissa Argueta Friday, 02 December 2011 00:00
What is the true value of St. Paul’s? Well, the answer will soon have a monetary value attached to it. At its most recent board meeting, the Garden City Board of Trustees approved the inclusion of St. Paul’s Main Building and Ellis Hall on the list of village-owned buildings to be appraised for insurance purposes by Gallagher Basset Services, Inc. at a cost of $6,875.
Before voting on the item, Trustee Brian Daughney told the board he would approve the appraisal as long as the language within the resolution was slightly changed. He offered the following amendment: “Provided, however, no determination by the village to obtain an appraisal of or insurance on the main building or Ellis Hall at the St. Paul’s School shall be deemed or construed to change amend or modify the findings set forth in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) issued in February 2011.”
Mayor Donald Brudie questioned Daughney as to why he thought the appraisal would affect the FEIS since it is a document that stands on its own. Daughney retorted, “I believe that someone could argue or try to argue that we were basically saying, ‘oh, you decided to get insurance. Well, therefore you can’t do anything with that building because it has value.’” Daughney added, “I don’t want this action tonight to affect whether it has value or not.”
Village Counsel Gerard Fishberg maintained that Daughney’s amendment would not have a negative impact on the action. “He’s simply trying to make it clear that this should have no impact the findings in the FEIS. I think that goes without saying, but if it makes him feel more comfortable to have that statement attached to it, I don’t see anything wrong in it,” Fishberg said.
Trustee Nicholas Episcopia clarified Daughney’s reasoning, stating that given the controversy surrounding St. Paul’s, this is not a normal situation. “If it was this building or another building or six other buildings, it probably wouldn’t make any difference and I would agree with you, but this is not this building,” he said.
“The history and the things that have happened here have got a long, and in some cases, rather sordid story to exactly how everything has been handled, and all he is trying to say is he wants to make sure that this happens and that people don’t read into things, or certain groups might take something and automatically say that because ‘x’ happened ‘y’ must happen, and that has happened before,” Episcopia added.
In a vote of 5 to 2, the board approved the amended insurance appraisal with Mayor Brudie and Deputy Mayor Watras voting against it. Trustee Andrew Cavanaugh was absent.
Later that evening, St. Paul’s returned as a hot-button issue when trustees voted against allocating funds in a 5-2 vote at a cost of $11,300 to fund repairs on roof and clock tower on building after it was damaged during Hurricane Irene.
Trustees Nick Episcopia, Dennis Donnelly, Brian Daughney, Laurence Quinn, and John DeMaro voted against and Mayor Brudie and Deputy Mayor John Watras voted in favor of the repairs. Trustee Andrew Cavanaugh was not present for the vote.