Thursday February 21, 2013

KEITH WHITCOMB JR.

Staff Writer

SHAFTSBURY -- Voters will be asked in March if they will approve a $1,550,000 bond to pay for a new town garage facility.

Select Board Chairman Lon McClintock said in an interview Wednesday the board approved the bond request last week. If approved, it would come from the Vermont Bond Bank and the first year of the 20-year payment schedule would be $33,000 to cover the interest. The second year of the bond would be the highest payment for taxpayers, he said, and on a home valued at $200,000 it would add $55 to that tax bill. The bond payment then goes down slightly over time as the principal is paid down.

MSK Engineering has done the preliminary design and cost estimates, said McClintock. If the bond is approved, the next phase of design work will commence with the project going out to bid early in the spring with the goal of having it completed in December of this year or January 2014.

If it is not approved, then the project will not enter the next design phase.

The current town garage, near Cole Hall on Buck Hill Road, is about 2,800 square feet and has a roof about half as strong as what building codes allow, officials said. McClintock said there is not enough room in it to store much of the town’s road equipment.

The proposed new garage would be built on town land to the east of the existing transfer station and would be 8,700 square feet with room for all of the town’s road crew vehicles, plows, culverts, and the water department truck, plus storage space for sand, salt, and the vehicle the town uses to dispense calcium chloride, which is used to control dust. A fueling station is also part of the plans, as is a septic system and well. He said the town can save some money by using its own road crew to do site preparation work.

"Interest rates are at an all-time low," said McClintock. "Now is the best time to borrow."

He said by being shielded from the elements the town will get more use out of its equipment and spend less in repairs and maintenance. "People have been fairly positive about it, so I’m hopeful, but you can never predict the outcome of an election or a vote," he said.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at kwhitcomb@benningtonbanner.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr