Proposed Public Works Land - Information Sheet

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Why is a new public works facility being proposed now?

 

A new public works facility is being proposed now because:

§         Our existing Public Works garage is in poor condition.  It is an un-insulated building; the southeast sills and wall studs are rotting causing the wall to lift off the foundation and the roof needs to be replaced due to numerous leaks. The Department has also outgrown its space; six vehicles need to be parked outside requiring the use of block heaters in the winter. Because the building is in the flood zone, the Department has on many occasions needed to move its equipment away from the garage. The building’s floor drains flow out to the Cathance River. Lastly, the garage has a severe river rodent problem.

§         Land has become available near the highway interchange.  The Town has a signed Purchase and Sale Agreement for a 7.24 acre parcel of land located at the corner of Main Street and Pond Road. 

§         The Town is in the financial position to do such a capital project. Debt from past projects borrowed at a higher interest rate is being paid off this year. This facility will be paid for through borrowing at a lower interest rate and will replace the old debt. In addition, the Town continues to put money into its savings each year for any future unexpected expenses or revenue shortfalls.

 

Why should the Town move Public Works?

 

The Public Works Facility should be moved for following two reasons.

 

  1. The redevelopment of the existing site would be very difficult and very costly due to the natural constraints on the site.  The existing property is located within the Shoreland Zone, Inland Waterfowl & Wading Bird Habitat, and the Floodplain. 

 

In order to construct a new building for Public Works the property would have to be redesigned so that the proposed building could meet the required standards.  This redesign would require a permitting for the entire Public Works facility (sand storage, salt storage, fuel storage, equipment storage), which would require that the facility be brought up to standards.  Because this property is located within the Shoreland Zone, Inland Waterfowl & Wading Bird Habitat, and the Floodplain it will be very difficult to permit a Pubic Works facility, especially given the necessities of such a facility, such as sand storage, salt storage, fuel storage, equipment storage, hazardous chemicals and the large amount of impervious area.  If the Town could obtain the necessary permits then the construction of the facility would be expensive, because the facility would have to meet the flood proofing requirements of the Floodplain Management Ordinance.

 

  1. The recommendations of Waterfront Plan that was adopted by the Town on June 15, 2005.  In 2004, the Bowdoinham Selectboard created the ad-hoc Waterfront Plan Committee whose purpose was to develop a plan for the 30 acres of contiguous waterfront property owned by the town that would “maximize and balance the recreational, natural, historic, educational, and economic value of the land, starting from the goals and strategies of the Comprehensive Plan”.

 

In the Fall 2004 issue of Bowdoinham News the Committee published a survey requesting residents input.  The results “indicated a strong preference for recreational uses….the Committee noted little support for selling the land, or for using it for Public Works – both uses which may someday conflict with the more popular goals of recreation and preservation.”

 

The recommendation for Public Works in the Waterfront Plan was “…Public Works is not well located. Some residents complain that it is an eyesore; others express concern about the culvert pile or the adequacy of the current salt shed; still others feel the land is better suited to recreational uses. …….the Town should consider moving the Public Works operation to an alternate location, perhaps near the interstate.  Payments on the current fire station are expected to be completed by 2008, after which time the Town may be in a position to consider buying land and building….”

 

How will this project affect my taxes?

 

This project will not affect the Town’s tax rate.  The Town’s finances have improved immensely since 2002, so this year the Town has the ability to pay off $154,000 in debt with Articles C1 and C2.  This will allow the Town flexibility with existing resources to take advantage of the currently low interest rates to fund this project.

 

What about the recession?

 

This is an optimum time for the Town to carry out a construction project, such as a Public Works Facility for two reasons:

1.      the cost of construction services and construction materials are lower now and

2.      interest rates are low.

 If the Town was to wait, then the cost for design and construction would rise as demand for these services and materials rise with the strengthening economy.  For example, the bid for the new elementary school in Portland came in at $2 million less than expected.

 

We should continue to invest in our Town’s future, even in these tough times.  Making our decisions based on short-term thinking could cost us much more in the long-term.