Waitsfield Moves Forward With Town Office Vote
Voters in Waitsfield head to the polls on July 30 to consider two bond questions. Article I asks voters to approve borrowing up to $650,000 to construct a new town office building on Main Street on a parcel of land officially known as the Flemer/Compere Lot 5, but commonly called the Farm Stand Lot. The town has been awarded a $750,000 Community Development Disaster Recovery block grant for the project. The former town office building flooded twice in recent years, including during Tropical Storm Irene.
ARTICLE I Shall general obligation bonds of the Town of Waitsfield in an amount not to exceed six hundred fifty thousand dollars ($650,000) be issued for the purpose of financing the construction of a new Town Office building on a parcel of land known as the Flemer/Compere Lot 5 on Main Street in Waitsfield Village? The project includes the acquisition of land, final design, permitting, and construction of a new Town Office building and associated site improvements, the total cost of which is estimated to be one million two hundred sixty thousand dollars ($1,260,000), of which cost, it is estimated that $750,000 will be paid from available state or federal grants-in-aid.
However some people in town, including members of the local Historical Society, have been encouraging the select board to consider purchasing and renovating a Methodist church building for the new town office space. Proponents argue the church renovation project would cost less and preserve an existing structure.
The church option arose after the town applied for the block grant for the new building on the Farm Stand Lot. To find out if the grant money might be applied to a different project, the select board invited the grant program director to its last meeting.
As requested by the Selectboard, Josh Hanford, Director of the Vermont Community Development Program, was present to answer questions regarding the grant award, processes and timelines. Mr. Hanford explained that the CDBG administers the block grant program and the grant that has been offered is limited to the Farm Stand location. A deadline of October 15, 2013 has been set for the Town to meet all pre-award conditions, including a successful bond vote and completion of the environmental review. Mr. Hanfordexplained that if the Town chooses to pursue another site, the Town may submit an amended application, but there may be a different outcome. He addressed specific challenges with the Methodist Church site, particularly that it is currently occupied and is subject to federal regulations for relocating tenants under the Uniform Relocation Act (URA).
With that information, the select board unanimously voted to proceed with a bond vote on the original project.
The second bond question on the July 30 ballot asks voters to approve borrowing $200,000 for a water main expansion to the Eagles Resort. That bond would be repaid using the resort's annual user's fees.
ARTICLE I I Shall general obligation bonds of the Town of Waitsfield in an amount not to exceed two hundred thousand dollars ($200 ,000) be issued for the purpose of extending the water main of the Waitsfield Community Water System to the Eagles Resort to provide drinking water and fire protection? The project includes engineering, permitting, and construction of a water main extension from Fiddlers Green along Route 100 to the Eagles Resort, a water service line to the resort’s existing distribution system, a new fire hydrant, and appurtenances. The total cost of the project is estimated to be two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000), and will be repaid by annual fees paid by the Eagles Resort.
An informational meeting on both bond questions will be held on July 29th at 7 p.m. , at Waitsfield Elementary School.