Warrant includes measure to contract primarily taxpayers

Voters will issue a thumbs up or down Saturday to a proposed new Town Office in Belgrade.

A special town meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the Belgrade Center for All Seasons, where residents will be asked whether they want to approve construction of the office and appropriate $1.2 million to fund it.

The warrant also asks whether voters want to waive a town requirement to go out to bid for projects costing more than $10,000. The intent is to use primarily Belgrade taxpayers to do the work.

The Board of Selectpersons intends to use $200,000 from a new Town Office reserve account, up to $450,000 from undesignated funds and a maximum of $550,000 in a bank loan.

However, at a public meeting on the proposals on Aug. 18, Ernie Rice, the board chairman, said, “We’re really hoping to get it done for $900,000.” He also said that the project would not require a tax increase.

A number of people asked detailed questions about the size — more than 5,000 square feet — and the finishes to be used on the building. That meeting attracted about three dozen people, some of them from outside Belgrade.

The building would be erected on the almost 12-acre plot off Town Pit Road just north of the Belgrade post office on Route 27, not far from the site of the current Town Office.

The existing Town Office building, a former restaurant, has limited capacity to host public meetings, accessibility shortcomings and other problems. Selectmen have said that building would be sold to help defray the new building’s cost.

Selectmen are scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. Saturday just prior to the special town meeting to review recent recommendations about the Town Office plans, including some potential engineering changes.

“There have been some good suggestions made, and the board needs to discuss them a little bit,” Rice said Wednesday.

In 2010, voters in Belgrade rejected plans to build a $3.6 million, 14,680-square-foot, multipurpose municipal complex that would have included a library, a food pantry and a historical center. At the same time, they also rejected an alternative town building proposal — a 5,000-square-foot facility that would house only the Town Office and cost $1 million.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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