Voters to decide on $690,000 town office renovation and expansion project

Posted Oct. 25, 2012, at 1:46 p.m.

LINCOLNVILLE, Maine — Lincolnville officials are hoping that the third time will be the charm for a long-running effort to improve on the existing Town Office, which they say has serious legal and practical deficiencies.

Those problems include the fact that the building is not accessible to the disabled and is so small that there is nowhere for the public to meet. But twice so far, voters have decided against building a new town office, and so the building committee has spent a year figuring out ways to renovate and expand the current space to make it more practical. What they’ve come up with will cost about $690,000.

Rosey Gerry, a member of the Board of Selectmen and the Municipal Building Committee, said that he and others have been working hard for a year to make a pared-down proposal.

“This is not a Taj Mahal,” Gerry said. “It is a reasonable, rational, very much needed addition to our town facility.”

Residents will vote on Election Day whether to take $470,000 from the town’s capital investment reserve account and to borrow $220,000 to fund the renovation and addition.

If they decide to authorize the work, the town office space would include an improved lobby area with a partitioned service counter where residents can conduct business privately, a new assembly and meeting space for town boards and committee, more space to store town records, a map room, public restrooms and more work space for municipal employees. It also would be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other building codes, according to information posted on Lincolnville’s website.

The Board of Selectmen, the budget committee and the municipal building committee have all recommended that residents vote in favor of the renovation and expansion.

“I think everything has been very conservatively put together and should sustain the town of Lincolnville for the next 30 or 40 years,” Gerry, who also has served on the municipal building committee, said.

The town of Lincolnville already has set aside $470,000 for the renovation and expansion work. That money has been raised by property owners, who have each year paid $7.25 in taxes per $100,000 in assessed property to the town’s capital investment reserve account. Altogether, the account has grown by about $30,000 per year.

If voters decide in favor of the project, they would instead pay about $3.86 in taxes per $100,000 in property value annually toward debt payment on the $220,000 loan. Officials also hope that the weak economy will mean that they can get the work done for less than the expected total cost.

“There’s no better time than right now,” Gerry said.

Voting will take place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, at Lincolnville Central School. Information is available on the town’s website at www.town.lincolnville.me.us.

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