BELGRADE — Issues concerning the town’s community center will dominate spending requests at this year’s Town Meeting, and residents will have a chance next week to discuss them.

The public hearing is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Belgrade Community Center for All Seasons on Route 27.

Town Manager Gregory Gill said the community center was “constructed incorrectly,” making one of the largest requests, $100,000 to fix the roof, necessary. Half of that money would come from the recreation reserve account and half would be raised through taxes.

“They’ve had ice problems since day one. As far as I understand it, there were changes made to the original design to save money and that took the people who designed it off the hook,” he said.

Requests include:

* $100,000, of which half would come from the recreation reserve account, to insulate and vent the roof, build an entranceway over the kitchen door, and install a standing seem metal roof.

* $59,907 to support the center’s operating budget, which is a slight increase from last year, to refinish the floor.

* $139,302 to support the center’s recreational programs and events. That request is up $107,000 from last year because of an increase in wages and supplies for extended summer camp programs.

* $150,000 from the town’s undesignated fund to buy property next to the center.

Gill said selectmen received requests for proposals to conduct an energy audit at the center. And now the town will seek bids from contractors to insulate the building and install a ventilation system.

He said when bids came in this year for a new metal roof, “the roofers came in and said, ‘That’s not going to fix the problem. It needs to be vented and insulated correctly,'” he said. “So now I’ve been directed to do the (request for proposal) to get a price to actually insulate and vent it correctly.”

The recreation reserve account contains $61,000.

Buying the adjacent waterfront property owned by the Dalton family, which includes a house and three-car garage with an apartment on 1.3 acres, will give the town ownership of a 25-foot right-of-way through the center’s property, he said.

Gill said the town could rent out the house and apartment, which includes a dock on Great Pond, or find other uses for the building, for instance relocating the food pantry, which is now in the basement of the Town Office.

“We could rent it for a little while, and as time goes by there could be some other uses for those buildings,” he said. “We’re trying to make it so it doesn’t end up costing the town anything. What we would rent it for would pay for the property in eight years. The initial cost comes from us, but after that it would be income.”

Another referendum question is a $42,000 request to support the library budget, up $700 from last year. That request mainly aims to give the librarian 12 days of vacation instead of nine, Gill said.

For the first time, social service agencies this year are required to petition the Select Board for support.

Only two agencies have made such petitions. The Hospice Volunteers of Waterville Area is requesting $1,500 and the Belgrade Lakes Regional Business Group is requesting $4,500 for its Fourth of July fireworks display.

In addition, there’s a request to authorize the board to continue the April 21, 2009, agreement between the town and the Belgrade/Rome Special Needs Assistance Food Pantry. The agreement lists any costs for operating the pantry as a donation by the town.

Polls for the first half of the annual Town Meeting — to vote by secret ballot on referendum questions — will be open on Friday, March 16, from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. at the community center.

The meeting will continue at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 17, in the same location.

Mechele Cooper — 621-5663

[email protected]


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