LINCOLN, Maine — Residents will decide whether to approve building a new public works department garage in a special referendum on Dec. 7, Town Council Chairman Steve Clay said Wednesday.
A new state law requiring referendums to be set 45 days before the actual vote makes it impossible for the town to hold the referendum during the November election, Town Manager Lisa Goodwin said.
Councilors hope to have the original garage proposal, which carried a $2.4 million price tag, slimmed down to a more palatable price of about $2 million well before the referendum, Clay said.
“The $400,000 is a lot less money. My own belief on it is that I liked it before at $2.4 million because that was the space that David [Lloyd, the town’s public works department director] said he needed, especially if we ended up taking up plowing duties on some of these state roads in town in a few years,” Clay said.
“I would rather go to the voters once and say, ‘Look this is what we need,’ rather than five years later having to go back to add on to the building, but that’s just me personally,” he added. “The majority of the council felt differently.”
AMES A/E Architect & Engineers of Bangor is being paid $68,850 to handle all engineering services for the garage, following public works building committee guidelines on what the building should include, Goodwin has said.
For many years, councilors generally have agreed that the existing building on Park Avenue needs renovation or replacement. The garage has had a leaky roof and its sides leak heat because of a lack of insulation. It also lacks work space, a lunch area for workers and storage space.
Voters narrowly rejected replacing it with a new structure for $675,000 in a November 2008 referendum. The vote was 1,175 to 1,117.
To cut the building’s projected cost, Ames and the committee reduced the garage’s proposed square footage from 12,800 to 12,065 square feet, Goodwin said in a statement. That brought the cost to $2.2 million.
Further cuts might include losing more building space, not paving the building’s driveway, or eliminating some of the building’s bays, Goodwin said.
The council might discuss the matter further at its meeting Monday, Clay said.