As The Valley Reporter goes to press on July 8, plans are being made to set the date for the groundbreaking for Waitsfield's new town office at the Farm Stand site at the north end of the village.
Waitsfield awarded the contract for the construction to the low bidder, Millbrook Building and Remodeling, Inc., last month. The low-bid construction cost of the new building is $1,275,000, but if the other costs associated with it are added in, including a generator, materials testing, water connection fee, clerk of the works, contingency and grant administration, plus design, engineering and permitting, the costs come to $1,564,981. That does not include the $100,000 donation that the town received for the Farm Stand property.
When the bids were received and the town realized that the project was over budget, the town applied for an additional $230,000 in Vermont Community Development Block Grant funding (CDBG). The town had already received a $750,000 CDBG. Voters authorized the town to spend up to $650,000 in taxpayer funds toward the project.
The cost overages came after the initial design of the building was changed to include a finished second story and $84,154 in additions and alterations were added. The total cost of the project was anticipated at $1,646,935. The town has already spent $170,000 on engineering and design.
Last month the town learned that its request for additional funding was only partially granted. The town received $123,000 in additional funds rather than the $230,000.
At the meeting this week members of the Town Office Design Committee were to assess what additions and alternatives might have to be cut from the project and determine a date for breaking ground. The project is slated for completion no later than June 26, 2016, although pre-construction meeting notes indicate that the building could be completed as early as this December.
At the board's last meeting in June, town administrator Valerie Capels told the select board that with the additional grant funding, plus a loan for the septic system and a stormwater grant, plus a Street Trees grant, the project costs exceed available funds by $17,000 – an amount that can come out of the $62,500 contingency fund if the board doesn't make $17,000 in cuts to the project.
The board voted to move forward with awarding the bid at its June 15 meeting over the objections of citizens who wanted the town to consider purchasing the People's United Bank building, which will close its branch in the Mad River Green Shopping Center on Friday, July 10.