Belgrade’s Town Office staff will be relocating to new quarters next week.

Selectmen on Tuesday approved June 16 and 17 for the move to the new Town Office, erected in the former town pit off Route 27.

So far, the town has spent just under $1.17 million on the project, Town Manager Carrie Castonguay said on Wednesday.

Voters approved spending $1.2 million on the project; however, several unanticipated items have pushed the total higher than that.

Castonguay said the final cost is not yet available.

“We’re waiting for a number of the contractors to submit bills for final payments,” she said.

Michael Barrett, chairman of the selectboard, said the board estimated that project will be about $80,000 over the budgeted amount. He said he anticipates having to hold a special town meeting to ask for additional funds once the final number is determined.

“An article at the last (annual) Town Meeting gave us permission to go over if we have to,” he said.

Selectmen worked to keep costs down as well as use local contractors and businesses.

“We got some phenomenal support from the businesses and the contractors, but here we are,” Barrett said on Wednesday.

The extra costs have included raising the area where the office was to be built, plus $12,000 for a water filtration system for the building after initial tests on the well showed a high level of salt content. The town gravel pit previously was used as a salt and sand storage area for both the town and the state. Also, Castonguay said the state Department of Environmental Protection required that a retention pond be dug behind the Town Office because of the slope of the sand behind it.

Even while the furniture, files, computers and other items are moving, town employees will try to keep one work station operating at the old Town Office at 6 Manchester Road as long as possible and open one as soon as possible at the new location to accommodate people seeking to do business with the town.

“As long as we have connectivity and service, we can wait on them,” Castonguay said.

This is a particularly busy time for Belgrade as summer residents register boats and ATVs as well as purchase fishing licenses.

The move originally was set for earlier, but a delay in obtaining countertops forced officials to reset it.

“The countertops are being installed this Thursday,” Castonguay said, adding that the selectmen will do a final walk-through on Tuesday. Castonguay said she anticipates getting a certificate of occupancy shortly from the codes enforcement officer.

The goal is to reopen for business as usual on June 20, with an open house set 9 a.m.-noon on June 25. Castonguay said that is a time when the Town Office is open as part of its summer hours.

Dates will be displayed on an electronic sign near Route 27 as soon as a computer is hooked up to run it, she said.

The town had sought suggestions for a new name for what was marked as “Pit Road,” and the new name is now Town Hall Road. Castonguay said there will not be a sign erected because it is a driveway.

The new address for the Town Office is 990 Augusta Road.

The old Town Office, in a building that once housed a restaurant, is being marketed through Sprague and Curtis. So far, no offers have been received, Castonguay said.

Barrett said the move will be very welcome.

“We’re all chomping at the bit,” he said. “We figured last night was the last meeting in the old building. We had our usual crowd of people waiting in the other room, and no one saying, ‘Why are we going to a new building?'”

The board’s meeting space at the old Town Office accommodates about a dozen members of the public who sit cheek by jowl in metal folding chairs.

Regular selectboard meetings where the public attendance is anticipated to be particularly high have been held in a room at the Center for All Seasons; however, that room can seat only about 35 people.

The meeting room in the new Town Office is expected to accommodate up to 100 people.

“We should have plenty of room and good, comfortable accommodations,” Barrett said.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


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