Selectmen last night agreed to recommend in favor of article 12 at the April 30 Town Meeting, which calls for a $1.7 million appropriation for the new facility.
The new facility, which is currently being built on Alpha Road, needs an extra $1.7 million to pay for the second phase of construction. Of the $6.5 million already appropriated by Town Meeting for the facility, $1.4 million was left over after phase one construction, including securing the site, roof work, and interior office demolition.
Now, phase two costs are estimated at $3 million, according to Permanent Building Committee co-chairman Pat Maloney. Article 12 of Town Meeting ask for an appropriation of $1.7 million to pay for vehicle storage areas, office space for administration, workshop installation, and a salt storage facility.
The town's highway, parks, sewer and engineering departments will all be housed in the facility, said Town Manager Paul Cohen.
Town Finance Director John Sousa said a "few hundred thousand" of the $1.7 million can be paid for from unexpended bond proceeds from the town's previous school building projects.
"Whenever we issue debt, if we don’t expend it all, we can re-appropriate that to another project of similar time frame," said Sousa.
The $1.5 million left over, Sousa proposes, can come from the town's stabilization account knowing officials plan to deposit at least $1.8 million in free cash back into that account in October.
Currently, the town's stabilization account has about $7.9 million in it, Sousa said.
"We brought the account (from) a low of $1.2 million to around $7.9 million today, (which is about) 7.5 percent of the general operating budget," said Sousa. The state recommends keeping between 5 and 10 percent of the town's budget in stabilization. " Even with (the withdrawal), it'll bring us to 6.1 percent ... and we fully expect a few months later to replenish stabilization."
Selectmen Chairman Jon Kurland asked Sousa if the withdrawal could negatively affect the town's bond rating by Standard & Poor's.
"They'll see a positive trend for three consecutive years, even though they will see a withdrawal," said Sousa, adding he will give a presentation to Standard & Poor's on the matter and explain the situation. "We'll explain that (the money) will go back in."