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Waitsfield

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  • 20 Oct 2014

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Waitsfield receives petition seeking town office revote

Waitsfield has received a petition calling for a revote on the town office bond which voters passed on July 30.

A qualifying petition with 119 signatures was received at the town offices at 3:30 p.m. on August 29. The select board, at its September 9 meeting, will receive the petition and set a date for the revote.

The petition calls for the town to vote again on the exact same article that was approved by a vote of 300-209 (60 to 40 percent) in July. That vote authorized the town to borrow up to $650,000 to build new town offices on a parcel of land at the north end of the village known as the Farm Stand.

This spring the town received a $750,000 Community Development Block Grant to be used for the town office project – the total cost of which is estimated to be $1,203,787 (which includes a 15 percent contingency line item). With the grant the town estimates that the actual voter contribution to the cost of the project will be $453,787.

Waitsfield has 1,441 voters on the checklist and 519 of them voted on July 30.

The July town office bond approval cleared the way for the town to begin the environmental assessment of the new town offices which are to be built on a parcel of land at the eastern edge of the Flemer Field at the north end of the village. That work must continue, according to town administrator Valerie Capels, in order for the town to satisfy the grant requirements.

This spring, town voters turned down a $1.6 million bond vote for the project at Town Meeting, prompting the town to shrink the project in size and scope. In the interim, the town received word that it had been awarded the $750,000 grant.

At Town Meeting, Waitsfield had 1,448 registered voters and 588 of them voted by Australian ballot with 351 voting no on the first version of the town office project and 229 voting yes, with eight ballots left blank.

At Town Meeting and at the July vote there was a contingent of voters who opposed building new town offices in favor of rehabilitating the former Methodist Church in Waitsfield Village.

The town had applied for the Community Development Block Grant for both the Farm Stand and the church but was awarded the grant only for the Farm Stand. Cost estimates for the projects showed that the church was more expensive by $391,434 to $552,060.

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