Selectboard Minutes 2017-2-6

Town Of Fairlee Selectboard Meeting And Bond Public Hearing Final Minutes
Town Of Fairlee Town Hall
75 Town Common Road
Fairlee, Vermont 05045

Monday, February 6, 2017

6:00 p.m.  CALL TO ORDER

PRESENT:

  • Selectboard Members: Peter Berger (Chair); Frank J. Barrett, Jr. (Vice-Chair), Cathy McGrath
  • Minutes Clerk: Stephanie A. Taylor

AGENDA MODIFICATIONS:

MOTION: Peter Berger/Cathy McGrath (Moved and Seconded) made motion to accept agenda with modifications. The vote passed unanimously.

OLD/ UNFINISHED BUSINESS:

  • Peter Berger noted that the audit letter had been mailed and that Fothergill had been notified that their bid was accepted.
  • Zoning Administrator Chris Brimmer is working with the contractor on the Household Income Study and will need to explain the benefits of the study with regard to increased availability of grants, bond rates, etc.

PUBLIC COMMENTS – NONE

BOARD ORDERS/CORRESPONDENCE

Peter Berger signed the board orders.

MINUTES APPROVAL:

The Town of Fairlee Selectboard reviewed the meeting minutes for January 30, 2017.

MOTION: Frank J. Barrett, Jr. /Peter Berger (Moved and Seconded) made a motion to accept the minutes for January 30, 2017 with corrections. The vote passed unanimously.

BOND PUBLIC MEETING

6:30 p.m. CALL TO ORDER

  • Peter Berger announced that the public hearing would provide information about the bond to renovate the Town Hall.  (NOTE: The sign-in sheet for the public is attached to the minutes.)
  • Town Treasurer Lisa Hinsley began the hearing by explaining the bonding process and said that the town municipal interest rates for bonds are currently running between 2.25 – 2.3 percent, which is lower than the prime rate. The town will only borrow the amount necessary and will contact several local banks to ensure that the lowest interest rate is obtained. It is anticipated that an interest rate would be locked in in late March, if the bond is passed. Cathy McGrath said that the construction cost of the Town Hall renovation will also be locked in by that time and that this cost will determine the exact amount borrowed.
  • Due to fluctuations in the cost of building materials a 12.5 percent contingency cost has been factored in to the estimated project cost. The Town of Fairlee has already received $125,000 in grants and $170,000 in donations for this project.  Frank J. Barrett, Jr. told the audience that the elevator designed to provide access to the basement, ground floor and second floor of the Town Hall is the least expensive ADA-compliant design available. A new staircase is also necessary to replace the existing staircase, which is unsafe. Mark Bishop noted that it is also necessary to provide ADA-compliant facilities within the Town Hall for town employees and the public.
  • A member of the audience expressed concern about whether passing the bond for the Town Hall renovation would have a negative impact on the Town of Fairlee’s ability to resolve the problems with the water tank and water quality issues. Frank J. Barrett, Jr. emphasized that the Town of Fairlee Selectboard has been working with the engineering firm Tata & Howard to resolve the water quality issues. The Town of Fairlee Selectboard has also been working with an attorney who is representing the Town of Fairlee in ongoing legal proceedings regarding the water tank.
  • Cathy McGrath referred to the handouts which showed the Town of Fairlee’s investment in the Town Hall over the past twenty years through the capital budget and noted that residents will need to continue to invest in maintaining the Town Hall whether the bond passes or not. Frank J. Barrett, Jr. noted that the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system does not meet the State of Vermont building code.
  • Peter Berger told the audience that the Town of Fairlee Selectboard had done extensive research to develop the cost estimates and said that it will cost the Town of Fairlee more in the long term if the bond is not passed. Frank J. Barrett, Jr. noted that the project will require the relocation of the offices for the Town Administrator, Town Zoning Administrator and Town Treasurer. There was a discussion of the current business climate in the Town of Fairlee and the low number of vacant stores.
  • Dan Ludwig stated that the Town of Fairlee needs to invest in its own buildings and that the business climate is being driven by seasonal fluctuations in population and the school taxes. Cathy McGrath stated that the Town of Fairlee Selectboard had a vision for the Town of Fairlee that considered the renovation of the Town Hall as an investment in the future. Peter Berger stated that the bond vote will be held on Tuesday February 14, 2017.

ADJOURN: – Time 8:10 p.m.

MOTION: Peter Berger thanked the audience members for attending the hearing and moved to close the bond public hearing.

Attest: Stephanie A. Taylor
Minutes Clerk

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