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This is ultimately what you are voting for…. 35% of the borrowing will come annually from the Town’s municipal budget. The current budget proposed by the Select board for 2023 already has that number built in. The remaining 65% would come from a debt exclusion that would be added to your tax bill (like the High School). The total amount for the year on a home valued at $450,000 would be between $55 and $60 dollars. This number can only go up by the annual 2.5% - never more unless there was ever an override. Consequently, in the next year out, it could only go up about $1.25.
The new building would be built on 400 Prospect Street. This location was selected after an open bid process requesting people to sell properties to us as the Town did not own a large enough parcel in a location that provided optimal response times. Two owners bid. One owner bid a larger parcel and gave an option for a smaller parcel as well. The other owner (Prospect Street) bid the one property. There was a committee of staff including the Fire Chief and Town Engineer who reviewed the bids and recommended Prospect Street. While the larger property offered some options, it was a $750,000 . The smaller of those two carved out a portion of that which did not lay out in a way we could utilize well. Additionally it was $250,000 and, again, did not meet our needs. Thus Prospect Street was selected. There has been some discussion regarding a lawsuit related to this property. The Town is NOT named in the suit. The issue is between an owner prior to the current ownership who put in the bid. The Town attorneys are aware of this and monitoring to ensure that the Town is protected.
Freeman Street would not have worked as a renovation as a fire station as the cost of that level of renovation would be extreme. Additionally, the location downtown is not ideal for equal coverage – and we simply have outgrown that spot. However, renovation to office space is much less expensive. We initially were looking to build one station that would house headquarters and serve for operations. The cost for that would have been higher as it would have involved new construction which was going to lead to about 4 million more...a larger parcel of land, etc. Instead, Freeman street will house Fire administration as well as all fire public services like Fire permitting. Also we will move our public health division over there which will allow for areas where we could do testing, vaccines, etc. in the future. Because this will serve primarily as an emergency operations center and public health facility, the funding for this portion of the project will come from Federal Grants – particularly related to the ARPA funding that resulted from the COVID pandemic.