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Over two years after flooding from Tropical Storm Irene destroyed its town offices, Moretown can move forward with plans to rebuild.
On Tuesday, November 5, residents voted 118 to 30 to approve up to $40,000 in short-term borrowing to construct new town offices on the site of the Moretown Elementary School playground. Moretown has just under 1,500 registered voters.
The project will cost an estimated $865,286, but the town's out-of-pocket expense will be offset by a $700,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Moretown received this summer, over $120,000 in insurance money and $25,000 from the town's Deeryard Fund, which is dedicated "use for children" and will pay to construct a new playground on the other side of the school.
Taking into account this available funding, the town's out-of-pocket expense for the new town offices is about $5,000 and the Moretown Town Office Committee asked the town to approve up to $40,000 in short-term borrowing to allow for overrun costs of a little less than five percent of the total cost.
The bond vote authorized the town to borrow up to$40,000, but it may not use all of it.
The Moretown Town Office Committee came together in December of 2011 to conduct an all-inclusive survey of sites on which to rebuild, ultimately selecting the site of the Moretown Elementary School playground as the best option. In the meantime, Moretown established temporary town offices at Kaiser Drive on Route 2 in a building the town leases from Moretown Landfill.
Located back in the village, the new town offices will sit three feet above the Tropical Storm Irene floodplain and one foot above the 500-year floodplain. The building itself will also contain "as much flood protection as possible," Bill Gallup of Maclay Architects said, explaining that its windows are three feet from the base of the building and its doors will be waterproofed.
According to design plans drawn up, the new town offices will have a total area of just under 2,000 square feet. That's about twice as large as the old offices, which came in at just under 900 square feet and no longer met the needs of the town, even prior to Irene.
The new town offices will contain a semi-open office area and a meeting room with a pre-assembly area that allows it to be a little more flexible in accommodating attendees. The new town offices will also contain a vault large enough to protect all of the town's important records, whereas the old office's vault could protect just some.
By building adjacent to Moretown Elementary School, the new town offices will allow the town to tie in to existing electric, water and septic systems and utilize existing municipal parking, which reduces the cost of constructing on the playground site significantly. Of the seven sites that Henry Erickson of Erickson Consulting drew up cost estimates for, "the playground site was the most economical," he said.