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Waitsfield will apply for a $750,000 community development block grant to offset the costs of building new town offices – if the bond vote to build new town offices passes at Town Meeting next week.
At Town Meeting on March 5, Waitsfield voters will be asked to approve a bond vote for $1.6 million to buy a parcel of land at the north end of Waitsfield Village and build new town offices on it.
Vermont has received federal funding which will be distributed by the state to towns, some of which is specifically earmarked to move public infrastructure out of the floodplain. Waitsfield’s town offices, currently located in the basement of the Joslin Memorial Library on Bridge Street, have been badly flooded in 1998 and in 2011.
Waitsfield has a strong history of successful grant writing and Waitsfield’s town administrator, Valerie Capels, has a 20-plus year history of successful grant writing and has established relationships with the funding agencies so Waitsfield’s chances of receiving a grant are high.
Grants are available up to $1 million, but Waitsfield will apply for only $750,000 to increase the town’s eligibility. Despite the fact that the town offices have been flooded twice in 13 years, the town offices and library are not in a mapped floodplain, which decreases the town’s grant eligibility, Capels said. To offset that, she said, the town would seek a lesser amount than the maximum.
If voters pass the bond vote for the new town office project at Town Meeting, Capels would put together the grant and submit it by the middle of April with the expectation that the grant, if awarded, would be awarded in mid-May.
If the town receives a $750,000 for the town office project, the taxpayer portion of the project would drop to $950,000.