By Kara Herlihy
After five feet of water flooded the Moretown town offices August 28, town officials are still working towards a permanent solution for the displaced municipal employees and land records. Town employees and elected officials are currently working out of the town’s fire station.
As time goes by, it is becoming increasingly clear that the town office operations will not be moved back into the small building in the village.
Select board members discussed options for relocating the town offices with members of the planning commission at the November 21 meeting.
The select board charged the planning commission with investigating expansion of the town offices a year ago.
Flooding caused by Hurricane Irene devastated the building and severely damaged the town’s land records and accelerated the relocation process. Insurance adjusters have assessed the damage and are waiting for the town to decide what to do with the building.
Moretown resident Ray Munn suggested the town consider the upstairs of the Town Hall for a permanent town office. The lower level of the building also sustained significant flooding following Irene.
Planning commission member Joanthan Siegel said that moving the town office into the Town Hall will “turn it into something totally different than it is today; if that’s what everybody wants than we’re going to have to do something to keep that place warm in the winter.”
In addition, Siegel said, a considerable amount of work will be required to get the building in working condition including building a vault.
“I think most people realize that that space is pretty vulnerable to flooding; a vault isn’t going to be cheap.”
Select board chair John Hoogenboom said, “The first floor of the Town Hall is worthless.”
Town officials have previously discussed using the front building of the Moretown School for the town office space. Principal Duane Pierson and members of the school board were charged with investigating the feasibility of using school space as a town office.
At the November 21 meeting, Siegel said the school “is perfect for a town office; there is little you can do to make it better.”
“We’re in a desperate situation here. Remodeling the school space would be the quickest,” he continued.
Select board member Reed Korrow agreed, “We need to pursue the school in the meantime. It’s a total waste of money to put it into the Town Hall.”
Town officials discussed what to do with the current office and decided to incorporate plans for closure on the building in the feasibility study.
Select board members will work with members of the school board and the planning commission on a joint committee to investigate all of the options. A public forum will follow to gather public comment.
Hoogenboom said, “I can’t imagine not having a town vote” to get voter approval on the proposed relocation.