POWNAL -- The select board held a meet and greet with LineSync Architecture at its regular meeting on Thursday. LineSync has taken up the challenge of proposing plans for the new town offices, and plan to have renderings done to put in front of the building committee in August.
LineSync owner Julie Lineberger told the board she was happy to receive the commission on the project and assured the board that her team would exceed the town's expectations.
"We have a saying in our office," Lineberger said. "It really doesn't cost any more money to make something beautiful, you just have to do it efficiently."
Lineberger said she can empathize because Wilmington is not much different from Pownal. "We know that when our town did their town offices, it really made the town run more smoothly: To have something that people could efficiently work in," she said.
In 2007, the board hired Black River Design Architects out of Montpelier with a bid of $16,000 to assess the needs of the new town offices. The board ultimately felt that what Black River drew up was over its budget and exceeded the needs for a new office. The board voided its business with Black River and put the project on hold.
The board has now put aside about $100,000 toward the project, and has hired LineSync to draw up ideas on the basis of potential commission.
"The ball is in their court to come up with whatever the plans are," said Frank Lamb, chair of the town office committee. "These people are very flexible; they didn't come in with a preconceived idea. They have already talked about economies and how we can save some money. I think we are all in good hands."
Lineberger said there are grant opportunities based on energy efficient building measures they might take. She said the town can apply for additional funding once they have a rough plan that meets their needs.
"You don't want to present something that's just going to get 80 percent of people saying no, this is ridiculous," Lineberger said. "You want something that looks at: What are the long-term costs? What is the cost benefit? What is the return on the investment for the town, and how do we make it so that the people who do the tax work can afford it?"
LineSync Principal Architect Joseph Cincotta expressed his concerns that the current town office, 429 Hallowell Road, is not up to building and safety codes. "You are wasting money on energy," Cincotta told the board. "You are wasting money on productivity; you cannot really hold meetings in this place effectively we think we can help."
The new town offices are planned to be built on a site at the end of Center Street, where Bartels Lodge once stood, which was bought by the town for $60,000 in 2005.
The select board also finalized the special election candidate debate at the meeting for Thursday, April 24, at 7 p.m. The debate will be held at the Pownal School Library, 94 School House Road, and is open to the public. Elizabeth Baker and Jason Olanski will be on the May 6 ballot for a two-year term as a member of the select board.
Contact Tom Momberg at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomMomberg