FARMINGDALE — Town residents will meet in December to decide whether to approve $1.7 million in funding for a new fire station.

This comes one month after selectmen rejected all bids for the project because they were $543,000 to $776,651 more than the $1 million the town was approved to spend.

Voters approved $1 million for the station in 2017. Since none of that was spent, the project would have to go out to bid again if funding is approved at the special town meeting.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Dec. 6 at Hall-Dale High School. The town’s attorney, Mary Dennison, will be the moderator.

Selectman Jim Grant made the motion at a selectmen’s meeting to “start the loan process” based on a 20-year loan for $1.7 million. It passed unanimously.

Town Clerk Rose Webster said interest rates are locked in at 4 percent until Dec. 30, but selectmen urged her to get the ball rolling so the loan can move forward before rates change.

The loan is expected to be secured from the U.S. Department of Agriculture with that interest rate. Webster said local banks were unable to lend the town money, and a loan through the USDA is favorable, because the town could borrow less money than what it is seeking if the project comes in under budget.

“If we say we want $1.7 million but it comes in at $1.4 (million), that’s all we have to borrow,” she said. “The bond bank, once you go there, you have to say what you want.”

Interest on a 20-year loan is estimated at $801.779.47, with estimated annual payments of $125,089. Interest on a 25-year loan would be $1,020,508.38, with a $108,820 annual payment; interest on a 30-year loan would be $1,249,335, with $98,311 annual payments.

Webster used this year’s budget, plus the proposed annual payment for each bond term, to estimate the effect on the property tax rate. She found that a 20-year loan would have raised the rate to $16.89 per $1,000 of assessed value, a 25-year loan would raise it to $16.82 per $1,000 and a 30-year loan would raise it to $16.77.

The town’s property tax rate is now $16.30 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Selectmen seemed to favor the 20-year option because it is the least costly to the town as a whole. Selectman Jim Grant said the town’s property tax rate is usually altered more by the town’s contribution to Regional School Unit 2.

During the previous call for bids, four were received by the Sept. 25 deadline. The lowest was $1,543,000, from West Rockport-based Bruce Laukka Inc., for a wood-frame structure. The highest bid came from Brewer’s Nickerson and O’Day, at $1,776,651.

Town officials indicated a high cost of materials drove up bid prices.

The current station at 289 Maine Ave. is cramped, with the trucks having less than a foot of clearance between mirrors. The plan is to build a three-bay, 80-foot-by-80-foot station, with a 100-foot-by-100-foot parking lot.

The future site of the station was cleared in May and now is empty. Selectman Wayne Kilgore said in September that the town paid $190,000 in November 2017 for the lot, which is just north of Gosline’s Hardware on Maine Avenue, also known as U.S. Route 201 and Route 27.

Webster said she is in the process of confirming the wording of the warrant article, and it is unclear whether the town will need to nullify the June 2017 approval of $1 million to go forward with more funding.

Webster said the town has $1,175,944 in outstanding loans and is not in danger of eclipsing its borrowing limit.

Detailed plans for the fire station are available at the Town Hall.

Sam Shepherd — 621-5666

[email protected]

Twitter: @SamShepME

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