LINCOLN, Maine — Town leaders will hold a public hearing on Monday to decide whether to approve building a proposed $1.15 million public works garage. If they agree, residents will vote on it on March 1, Town Manager Lisa Goodwin said Friday.
Goodwin, who supported an earlier, much larger version of the garage, said the latest proposal is as small and inexpensive as it can be without cutting town service levels.
“If we go smaller, we would need to go to an outside business [for maintenance of town vehicles], and there just aren’t any,” Goodwin said Friday. “It is the smallest we can go to fit equipment in there and still work on the equipment.”
Town leaders have acknowledged for years that a new garage is necessary because the current facility on Park Avenue has many structural flaws, some of which compromise worker safety.
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.
Building committee members have cut the initial $2.4 million proposal significantly since October, when a group of taxpayers, including some of the town’s business owners, complained loudly of the cost, saying that town taxes already were too high for the services offered, and that a garage simply shouldn’t cost that much.
Committee members have said that state regulations require public buildings to have features that garages built privately don’t, and this leads to some residents having inaccurate ideas about how inexpensively a garage can be built.
The latest design lacks a cold storage bay and lubrication pit featured in previous designs, and town Public Works Department Director David Lloyd has warned that the current garage would be adequate only for present needs.
If residents approve the project, construction can begin in the spring. If not, another referendum likely will be held in November.
The council also will vote Monday on whether to hire an interim police chief to replace Chief Scott Minckler, who resigned effective Jan. 30 to return to Massachusetts.