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2013 Year in Review
More than two years after flooding from Tropical Storm Irene destroyed its town offices, Moretown has selected a site and secured funding with which to rebuild.
In November, 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.
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 in at 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 5 percent of the total cost.
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.
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 by Maclay Architects, 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, but the old offices "needed to expand," Moretown Town Office Committee chair Amadon explained, even before Tropical Storm Irene.
In the old offices, "there was space for the assistant clerk, but there wasn't space for the treasurer," Gallup explained when presenting the design plans for the new town offices, which will contain a "semi-open office area" and a meeting room with a "pre-assembly area" that allows it to "a little more flexible" in accommodating attendees, Gallup explained. 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.
While the $700,000 from the CDBG, which provides funding for towns to rebuild infrastructure above the floodplain, does comprise "a very significant part of the town's resources for funding" the new town office, Amadon said, the committee would still support the building and the site even without the grant.
"Prior to Irene we needed a new [town office]," Moretown Select Board chair Tom Martin said on October 29, and the grant "has given us the opportunity [to build one]."