June 18, 2018
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More debate ahead on town office, library project

By Tom Walsh, BDN Staff

MILBRIDGE, Maine — The Milbridge Board of Selectmen will meet again Thursday, Jan. 19, to discuss whether the town should submit an application for a $300,000 federal Community Development Block Grant that would fund half of the cost of a new town office and library facility.

That meeting will be held at 6 p.m. in the town office conference room.

At a meeting Saturday to discuss the project Town Manager Lewis Pinkham said the application is due in Augusta on Friday, Jan. 20.

Milbridge town offices, the Police Department and the ambulance service now are based in a circa-1900 building that was once the town’s high school. The building is shared with the community’s library, which is shoehorned into an addition built more than 50 years ago.

A new a one-story, 4,800-square-foot building is expected to cost $600,000. The library would account for 1,400 square feet of that space.

Opponents of the building project want the existing town office building, which once was used as a school, preserved along with the adjacent town hall building.

In a survey conducted last fall, 50 respondents said they favored demolishing both existing buildings and replacing them with a new building and more parking. That compared with 49 others who weighed in against that approach. Seventy-four percent of those surveyed want to see the town office and library stay combined, while 81 percent favor having the town continue to provide facilities for ambulance service.

Pinkham said a building reserve fund of $80,000, low interest rates and refinancing of an existing debt would allow the town to fund the project without increasing property taxes.

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