LINCOLN, Maine — The town’s proposed $1.15 million public works garage will need expansion when state officials commence a plan to make state roads through town a town government responsibility, the town’s Public Works Department director said Monday.
David Lloyd told Town Council members in an informal question-and-answer session before the council’s meeting that it’s not a question of whether the Maine Department of Transportation will require towns to assume summer maintenance responsibilities of state roads, but when.
When that happens, Lloyd said, the proposed three-bay garage, which can hold six vehicles, will need to hold at least a few more pieces of equipment.
Councilors Shaun Drinkwater, Curt Ring and Samuel Clay said they probably would support building the garage as is anyway.
“Our need is immediate,” Ring said Monday. “I don’t think what we do as a town should be decided by what the state might do. There’s no telling as to what the state might do.”
Councilors voted unanimously to hold a public hearing on Jan. 10 at which residents will say whether they support holding a referendum sometime next year on whether to build the garage. There was no discussion during the meeting, which took three minutes, and the one resident in the audience did not speak.
If the council votes Jan. 10 to hold the referendum, the vote likely will occur about 45 days later. If councilors approve starting the bid process before the vote, bids could be opened the day after the referendum and acted upon if voters approve proceeding, Town Manager Lisa Goodwin said.
That would allow construction to begin in spring and a new garage to be operational by January 2012, Goodwin said.
Town leaders have acknowledged for years that a new garage is necessary, as the present facility on Park Avenue has many structural flaws.
The third and latest garage redesign offered for construction on the town’s Park Avenue site features an 8,025-square-foot building of three bays that could hold six vehicles and six rooms, including an office, lunchroom, two bathrooms, and storage and building utilities areas.
Committee members have cut the design significantly since October, when a group of taxpayers including some of the town’s business owners complained loudly of the cost. Councilors rejected a $2.4 million design on Oct. 19 and a $1.5 million proposal on Oct. 27.