The town of Franklin is planning to sell about two dozen acres of land behind the town highway garage on county Route 21 in an effort to recoup its investment after plans for a new town hall were scrapped earlier this summer.

Estimated costs for leveling the land, which was purchased last year; construction of the new building, digging a deeper well and relocating a septic tank were projected to exceed the project’s half-million-dollar budget, according to Franklin Town Supervisor Jeff Taggart.

“We’re hoping to get our money back and put the land back on the tax roll,” he said.

The town will retain five to six acres directly behind the garage as a buffer.

The majority of the town’s offices are currently housed at the Franklin Railroad and Community Museum on Main Street, Taggart said. The new 2,500-square-foot town hall was slated to include a larger courtroom, along with offices of the town clerk, code enforcement officer and town assessor.

Taggart said the town currently has no plans to pursue another location.

“Right now, we’re not looking to go into debt,” he said.

Given the recent interest in Catskills-area property by downstate residents amid the coronavirus pandemic, Taggart said he hopes the sale of the property will help boost the town budget.

“There isn’t a better time to sell because people are looking to buy,” he said. “I think we’re in decent shape right now, budget-wise, but the numbers will tell.”

The property is not officially listed for sale and the town has yet to determine an asking price, Taggart said, but final details are expected to be settled within the coming weeks.

Sarah Eames, staff writer, can be reached at seames@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7213. Follow her @DS_SarahE on Twitter.

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