Wednesday October 10, 2012

KEITH WHITCOMB JR.

Staff Writer

SUNDERLAND -- A Select Board member tasked with investigating the merits of a bond or bank loan in regard to financing a new town office said he plans to recommend the bond at an upcoming board meeting.

Board member Mark Hyde said in an interview that, after looking into the matter, he believes funding the town hall with a bond through the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank is the cheapest option in the long run. Hyde said the bond bank offers interest rates 1.5 percent to 2 percent lower than that of the commercial banks he looked at.

Hyde said there are some additional costs to a bond; namely, they require a partial audit be done and legal counsel is required for wording on a ballot article to go before voters. He said savings from the lower rates offset these added costs.

John Williams, chairman of the Sunderland Building Committee, said the committee will meet later this week to speak more with the architect about the design. He said that by November they should have a real sense of the building’s cost. He said that as of now it’s a 3,000-square-foot structure and is designed to meet the town’s long-term needs.

Board Chairman Joe Boutin said while the committee has been working on the design the board has been working the past few weeks on learning how it will finance the project and present a plan to voters in March.

Boutin said Hyde is scheduled to discuss his findings in detail with the board at its next meeting on Monday and Williams is also scheduled to give an update.

Boutin said the board will have to weigh the savings of a bond compared to the relative speed of a bank loan.

According to Hyde, the board is working on an aggressive timetable in an effort to get a ballot question regarding the town hall before voters in March. He said their plans must be finalized by January for it to get on the ballot.