The price for the new Town Office is going up again.

Belgrade voters will be asked to authorize payment of more money for the new building after a bill for $30,461 arrived too late to be considered at a Aug. 20 special town meeting that dealt with previous cost overruns.

The bill for the site engineering submitted by Thayer Engineering, of Farmingdale, will be considered at a special meeting scheduled for 9 a.m. Oct. 15 at the new 4,000-square-foot Town Office, which opened in June.

Selectmen on Tuesday approved four articles for the warrant, including one to elect a moderator.

Another asks voters to authorize the board to take $30,461.90 from the undesignated fund balance to pay the invoice from Thayer Engineering plus 90 cents remaining on a bill from Fabian Oil.

The third article asks voters to authorize taking $14,661.26 from town’s pit closure account and rolling that money back into the undesignated fund.

The final article asks for approval of accepting two credits from vendors in the amount of $4,837.71 from Hammond Lumber and $1,053.36 from Gagne Concrete, both of Belgrade.

“We’re trying to get clean accounting here,” Town Manager Carrie Castonguay said, “and the pit is no longer in existence, so we don’t need that anymore.”

The new office was built in the former town pit.

Essentially, the pit closure money plus the credits mean the residents will see a net $9,909.57 reduction in the undesignated fund balance.

“We wanted to keep it clean and straight so people could see what was going on,” said Michael Barrett, chairman of the selectmen.

Barrett said the board had asked Castonguay to call all vendors for the project to ensure that no more bills were outstanding and to get that in writing.

Barrett said someone asked at the Aug. 20 special meeting whether more bills remained, and he had said, “No.”

“We’re embarrassed, of course, but we’ve still got to be honest about it,” Barrett said on Wednesday.

Despite the cost overruns, Barrett said, “it’s still a good price. It’s unfortunate that we had to go this route. We’re still not entirely sure how we went over. I know there were a lot of changes made.”

He is hopeful the articles will be approved. “We don’t have to raise taxes to do it,” Barrett said.

Construction of the Town Office on Route 27 in a former gravel pit, for which residents at a special town meeting last year approved up to $1.2 million, initially had unanticipated costs of more than $206,000. That pushed the project cost well beyond the $60,000 in contingency built into the budget, so residents in August authorized selectmen to use $157,000 from the town’s undesignated fund to cover the cost of the unexpected extra work.

The items that weren’t factored into the original budget included $52,100 for engineering services; $11,200 for a water filtration system for the entire building, which was added after tests showed a high level of salt in the water; $17,500 in additional site work to make changes to a drainage and retention pond and add a septic system for the water filtration system; $39,900 for loam and seeding; $17,700 for gravel needed to help raise the building by 3 inches; and $68,100 to pay for materials that turned out to be custom or special-order items.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


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