May 26, 2018
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Hope gets permission to renovate town offices

By Heather Steeves, BDN Staff

HOPE, Maine — The town hall here is about to get a $295,000 face-lift.

Residents on Tuesday voted 320 to 261 to renovate the dilapidated offices, which also hold the library and school district office.

“We have this cash in hand and don’t have to raise taxes,” said Town Manager Jon Duke.

Last year, the town had a $100,000 surplus. It then continued to tax at the same rate and earned another $170,000 for the renovation. Combine that money with a grant and some extra funds the town had from previous years and the project is paid for.

In the town of 1,500, the $295,000 bill is equivalent to more than 35 percent of its annual operating budget, which this year is $836,000.

Problems with the New Deal-era building include an unsafe wheelchair ramp, siding that is peeling off the building, energy inefficiencies and asbestos tiling. Also, the entire building is out of compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

About the only thing that will stay, apparently, is the roof.

“The roof is new. The roof and chimney are great. It’s everything underneath them that’s the issue,” Duke said.

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