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Carroll plans second public building project

January 23, 2019
CARROLL—The Building Committee, which saw its plans for a new public building complex vanish into the snow last March, is laying their final plans for a second effort this year.

The proposed pair of buildings would consolidate the Library, Historical Society, Community Room, and Town Hall under one roof, and Police, Fire-Rescue, and Emergency management services under another. Members of each organization have made exhaustive cases for a replacement, which has the support of the town government and life safety teams.

According to Committee Chair Imre Szauter, the current, and it is thought, final draft of the project proposal will total $4,455,000, of which $250,000 will come from various capital reserve funds, with the remainder to be borrowed.

The project is expected to have an $0.70 per $1000 impact on the tax rate, which would translate to an additional $70 in annual payments per $100,000 in property value.

At the Jan. 10 meeting of the Building Advisory Committee, project adviser Allan Clark expressed confidence that the proposed sum would allow for full completion. The projected budget includes a five percent "just-in-case" buffer.

Clark has recommended that the town seek financing through local lenders, instead of pursuing state loans, but a final decision on where to borrow from can wait until after the project is either approved, or voted down.

The existing Town Hall building has, according to Committee minutes, been appraised at $277,000, and the Fire Station at $175,000. Reports are available for interested members of the public.

Last March, 2018, voters approved the project by a majority, but the measure failed by a mere two votes shy of the three-fifths majority required. In the months after, there was much discussion about why the measure, which elicited very little debate at deliberative session and appeared popular, had failed. Many blamed the weather—town meeting last year was snowy and stormy, which is thought to have kept the critical few 'yea' voters at home.

Much effort has been made to ensure that everyone who wishes to vote can get to the polls this year, and public information campaigns are still rolling out in various media forms.

The Twin Mountain Bretton Woods Chamber of Commerce is not expected to support the project.

All three members of the Select Board have voted to present the article to the voters in March, at town meeting.

Public informational sessions are planned for Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, and on Feb. 28.

Garnet Hill
Martin Lord Osman
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