New Scotland cautiously opens for business

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

Inside the town clerk’s office, plexiglass shields are set up on the countertops. After a person leaves the office, anything they may have touched, like a pen or the countertop, is disinfected.

NEW SCOTLAND — Having been closed to the public since mid-March, New Scotland Town Hall reopened on Monday, June 15. “And things are going well,” Supervisor Douglas LaGrange said during the town board’s COVID-19 update meeting on Friday. 

Visitors to Town Hall now have to ring a doorbell in the front of the building — the back entrance is closed — where they will be met by someone who will take their temperature, and then the visitors have to sign in as to what department they are visiting as well as the time they came into the building and the time they leave. 

Visitors also have to wear masks. 

The building gets a thorough sanitization every morning, and then high-touch areas like door handles and light switches are wiped down with disinfectant throughout the day.

Inside the building department and town clerk’s office, plexiglass shields are set up on the countertops. After a person leaves the office, anything they may have touched, like a pen or the countertop, is disinfected.

Town employees also have to sign out and in every time they leave and return to the building; they are also asked to take their temperature at home every morning. 

LaGrange said Tuesday, June 16, was the busiest day, with seven people coming into the building and another four to five just coming to the front door of Town Hall. But other than that, there have only been five to six visitors each day, and usually they don’t even come into the building — they are just looking to drop off the fee for a dog license or someone needs something notarized.



For the primary election on Tuesday, June 23, the town hall will be closed for business.

LaGrange said that tables will be set up as barriers to keep people from wandering to other places in the building, and that the county’s poll workers will be cleaning and sanitizing throughout the day.

Each poll worker will receive a mask, gloves, and face shield.

And one worker will be posted by the entrance to ensure that each voter wears a mask.

LaGrange said he will use the town’s new electro-static sprayer the day after the primary to sanitize the meeting room.


Also discussed during the June 19 COVID-19 update meeting was how the town will deal with going back to regular meetings. 

Unless the governor extends his executive order, all board meetings — town, planning, and zoning — will be in-person after July 7.

New Scotland’s issue is maintaining the state’s social-distancing requirements so that the meetings would be open to the public — the entire public, for example, should 20 to 25 people show up for a public hearing. 

The state’s Open Meetings Law would be violated if there’s not enough space to let everyone into a meeting who shows up, said town attorney Michael Naughton. 

The town board, its clerk, attorney, highway superintendent, and engineer are typically present at all meetings; while zoning and planning board meetings include their respective boards, their recording secretary, attorney, the town’s building inspector, and engineer 

During typical board meetings without a public hearing, the number of people in the audience can vary between two and 12.

Towns that have the capacity to accommodate the public, Colonie, for example, Naughton said, have already started to have in-person meetings. 

Across the Hilltowns, in-person meetings have been taking place as well. 

On Tuesday, Voorheesville had its first in-person meeting in months. 

Some kind of extension of the executive order is anticipated, but officials are waiting to see what happens as the Capital Region enters the fourth and final phase of the state’s reopening plan at the end of June.

More New Scotland News

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.