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04/02/2009

By Kara Herlihy

The completion of Moretown's new town garage will require an additional $33,000 expenditure, according to select board chair Rae Washburn, who discussed the project with community members at a special meeting held Monday evening, March 30, at the Moretown Town Hall.

The town voted down an article to spend an additional $45,000 to complete the project at Town Meeting in March. Washburn said the town may vote on the additional expenditure (approximately $30,000) sometime in late May.

FUNDING REQUEST

Moretown resident Jack Wood asked where the $15,000 originally requested, on top of the $30,000 figure, had gone, and whether that funding request was legitimate based upon the newly formulated amount.

Washburn said the $15,000 would have addressed floor drainage and issues associated with the fuel tank. More shelving is required in the building's interior, according to Washburn, and approximately $14,000 is still required for repairs to the adjacent septic system.

TAX RATE

Select board member Rob Roberts suggested that the town investigate the building repair expenditure and its affect on the town's tax rate.  Roberts said that the projected tax rate should be taken into account along with the calculated revenues.

At last year's Town Meeting, an amount not to exceed $900,000 was authorized by Moretown taxpayers, which includes the land purchase. To date, the town estimates that $885,000 has been spent on the garage, while the land has yet to be paid off.

LAND PURCHASE

Wood asked select board members if they would consider "spending the money we've already got" by putting the land purchase off to cover necessary repairs. Wood acknowledged that the idea may be a case of "robbing Peter to pay Paul."

The town has 10 years to pay off the land purchase, but Washburn said they'd ideally like it paid off in three years, and would be hesitant to spend funds reserved for that cause. Washburn added that the select board did not want to exceed the approved amount without voter authorization.

SEPTIC SYSTEM

Residents also encouraged town officials to seriously consider a permanent septic system, which Washburn said has been investigated and could potentially be built across the road.

Select board member Stephanie Venema said that the discussion presented "a lot of good information," and that the select board plans to look at everything to "come to some kind of conclusion" regarding the building's completion.

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