HALLOWELL — The city moved a step closer to obtaining land that could be used for a new public works facility after officials approved using additional money to ensure they do not exceed their borrowing limit.

The land, which is off Pinnacle Drive and Central Street, is about 31 acres.

At its next meeting March 13, the City Council is expected to authorize the city manager to buy the land for $275,000. The sale is expected to close March 31.

Last November, voters overwhelmingly approved a nonbinding referendum asking if they would “support acquiring land for a new multi-bay public works facility for an estimated $2 million to $3 million dollars.”

The question received 1,073 yes votes and 441 no votes.

Councilors voted Monday to apply $15,000 from the recent sale of a foreclosed property on Water Street and $20,000 from the city’s general savings account to the land purchase. Of that $35,000, $25,000 will be used as a down payment, ensuring the city does not violate the charter’s rule against borrowing more than $250,000.


The remaining $10,000 will be available to help with any legal or closing costs, according to City Manager Gary Lamb.

A Central Street resident asked Monday when it would be OK to talk about the impact of a new public works facility on adjacent properties.

Lamb said March 13 would be an appropriate time to discuss the impact, and Code Enforcement Officer Doug Ide said the facility would be considered a “conditional use,” and there would be a Planning Board meeting and a public hearing on the matter.

Lamb said it is too early to provide an exact timeline for when the city will see construction and completion of a new public works facility, but that he and Tom Goraj, foreman of the Public Works Department, are now looking at building options.

“He and I will probably visit two or three (public works facilities) that we like, and potentially talk to the designers of those properties,” Lamb said. “If it’s something that truly is a match for us, and we might save a little bit of money in terms of design and cost if it’s a package, the budget committee will consider putting money in the budget so that we have some architectural and design funds to draw from.”

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