Once again, Lincolnville asks voters to expand town office

Posted Oct. 31, 2012, at 6:23 p.m.
This illustration depicts what the Lincolnville town office would look like from the Hope Road should voters approve a referendum question on a proposed expansion at the polls on Nov. 6. The existing building is on the left and the proposed addition on the right.
Courtesy of Lincolnville Municipal Building Committee
This illustration depicts what the Lincolnville town office would look like from the Hope Road should voters approve a referendum question on a proposed expansion at the polls on Nov. 6. The existing building is on the left and the proposed addition on the right.

LINCOLNVILLE, Maine — For the third time in recent years, town government is asking residents to approve an expansion of the town office on Hope Road.

The referendum asks residents to approve taking $470,000 from a capital investment reserve account and to borrow up to $220,000 in general obligation bonds for the project.

In making the case for the expansion, supporters organized as the Municipal Building Committee created a brochure that was mailed to residents. In it, the committee argues that the addition is needed because the building “is not accessible to the disabled,” and does not meet ADA requirements.

“Moreover, its small size, limited lobby space and service area, and existing floor plan does not allow employees to work efficiently or residents to conduct business privately and confidentially,” the brochure states.

“Quite simply, the town has outgrown the facility,” the brochure concludes.

In 2006, a proposal was defeated to expand the town office and add a fire station to the structure at a cost of $2.3 million. A fire station has since been built in another part of town. In 2003, a less-ambitious town office expansion was defeated by residents.

David Kinney, town administrator, said selectmen and the town budget committee unanimously support the project. Two residents spoke against the project at a public hearing on Oct. 22, he said, with their concerns centered on a meeting room included in the project.

The current town office is a 1,556-square-foot single-level Cape Cod-style building. The expansion would add 2,187-square feet, for a total of 3,743-square-feet, Kinney said. The building would remain a single-level structure.

The plans call for adding:

• An improved lobby/sitting area with a partitioned service counter where residents can

conduct business privately and confidentially.

• New assembly and meeting space for town boards and committees.

• Additional space for storing records.

• More efficient and effective work space for town employees, meeting building code

requirements and improving work flow

• A map room and restrooms.

Low interest rates and qualified contractors eager for work create an opportune time to complete the expansion, the building committee argues. If voters approve the proposal at the polls Tuesday, Nov. 6, bid packages will be sent out and a contractor selected this winter, with construction to start in the early spring. The renovations and new addition would be completed by next fall.

The project would add $7.73 in taxes annually for a property assessed at $200,000. The town has $4.9 million in outstanding debt, with interest on that debt projected to be $1.4 million. Kinney said the bulk of that debt is for the construction of the Lincolnville Central School, and the state has committed to providing funds for the debt service.

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