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Sanbornton selectmen endorse police station/town office project

January 13, 2021
SANBORNTON — At the recent Board of Selectmen's meeting, the Building Construction Committee presented its final recommendation after 14 months of review and more than 50 meetings.

During this period, the Committee had evaluated the needs of both the Police Department building and the Town Office building. In August, the Committee recommended pursuing two options in greater detail: an addition/renovation to the current Town Office building, and a standalone Police building on the Town owned land behind the Old Town Hall with some renovations to the current Town Offices.

Subsequently, the Committee contracted architectural drawings of the two options, held eight public meetings to collect feedback, questions and concerns, and engaged Bonnette, Page & Stone (BPS), Corp to develop costs estimates based on those designs. After receiving the public input, the Committee reconsidered its position on another option from the original August, 2020 report – a standalone Town Office building of approximately 2,660 square feet, behind the Old Town Hall, and renovation of the current building for the Police Department. The land behind Old Town Hall was purchased after approval at the 2006 Town Meeting, and one of the specific purposes was as the site for a future Town Office building. Based upon cost, parking considerations, and future flexibility, the Committee recommended this project as the one that best meets the Town's needs at the best price. The Committee recommended pursuing a 10-yr bond to take advantage of historically low interest rates, reduce the total cost of the project, and maintain financial flexibility for the Town.

The Board of Selectmen's vote was unanimous to proceed with the Building Construction Committee's recommendation. The Board also set a date of February 11 for a Bond Hearing in preparation for a bond article on the 2021 Town Warrant.

In discussing the proposal, Select board Chairman John Olmstead said, "This proposal is well thought out and will greatly benefit the Town. The Building Committee has come up with a very affordable proposal that meets the Town's needs - especially the safety and security needs for the Police Department - with a minimal impact on the tax rate. Their proposal takes advantage of historically low interest rates, other funding sources, and other expiring bond payments to keep the tax impact very low."

The total amount of the planned bond would be approximately $2.3 million, which reflects some design choices, cost savings measures, and application of some financing options. This is less than half the amount of the project proposed in 2019. Because of some other long-term debt that is retiring, the actual tax rate increase from the bond will only be about $0.12 per one thousand dollars of assessed value. As an example, taxes on a property that is valued at $300,000 would go up $36 per year, or $18 on each semi-annual tax bill.

The proposal was also briefed to the Town's Budget Committee, which unanimously endorsed the concept based on the finances, impact on the tax rate, and its ability to meet the Town's needs.

The Building Construction Committee remains open to feedback and input from taxpayers concerning the project. Information on the proposal is posted on the Town website, https://www.sanborntonnh.org/building-construction-committee and on the Building Committee's Facebook page (Sanbornton Building Construction Committee). Comments or suggestions can be sent to Committee members through the links on the Town Web site or by sending an email to SanborntonBuildingCommittee@gmail.com.

Martin Lord Osman
Town of Brookfield
Town of Brookfield
Varney Smith
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