SHAFTSBURY - The Shaftsbury Town Garage Committee has prepared a final figure to submit to voters.
The Town of Shaftsbury, should the select board approve the proposal, will ask voters for the ability to borrow $995,000 to pay for the garage, to be paid back over the next 20 years. A special election is scheduled for Dec. 3.
The issue will be debated at the select board meeting scheduled for Oct. 21, where the select board is expected to approve the number. Three of the five members of the select board, Karen Mellinger, Ken Harrington, and Tim Scoggins, serve on the garage committee.
The committee decided to submit a number to vote before the bidding process started, as last time the town lost money when an engineer designed a plan and the town voted it down. As such, the cost estimates the garage committee has put forward are just estimates. The final cost of the garage may go up or down, but the $995,000 would set a hard limit on what the town can borrow to fund the project.
Any amount greater than that would have to come from the Town Garage Fund, which includes $60,000 that had already been approved by voters, or be paid for in surplus funds from the town budget. In order to use surplus funds to pay for the garage, however, Shaftsbury would again need to call a vote. The town is estimated to have about $75,000 in surplus funds this year.
John Endres, a member of the garage committee, said, "I was against it last time, but I think we've brought the price down as far as we can go. We've done a really good job, and I'm going to vote for it this time."
The committee currently estimates that the garage itself will cost about $750,000, plus $100,000 for the accompanying salt shed, $131,000 for site work, $75,000 for engineering costs, and $114,000 for general conditions, such as insurance, administration, supervision, and vehicle rentals, bringing the total proposed cost of the garage to around $1,170,000.
Because the $114,000 general conditions estimate was for the original $1.5 million building, not the newly revised $750,000 building, that number is expected to go down. The committee also believes that the group that provided them with that estimate included many building costs in the $114,000 that were already accounted for in the $750,000, which may draw that cost down further.
Harrington said he was worried about the potential of having to ask voters for more money in the future, should they approve the $995,000, describing it as a potential "landmine." Mellinger stressed again that the bidding process may produce lower numbers than their projections, and if the voters were unwilling to approve additional funds they would just have to find ways to bring the cost down.
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB