GORHAM — Voters will decide in November whether the town’s public safety building on Main Street should undergo a $5 million renovation and expansion – a project that would be less expensive and closer to downtown than the proposal they rejected last year.

The Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to send the question to voters on Nov. 4. Councilor Matthew Robinson was not at the meeting.

Councilors said they heard complaints about the high cost and location of the last plan – a $6.3 million renovation of the former Little Falls School into a new headquarters for the police and fire departments. Nearly-three quarters of voters shot it down in a June 2013 referendum.

“I really wanted it to be at Main Street,” said Councilor Suzanne Phillips. “This, I feel, is a much better plan.”

The proposal is to renovate the existing public safety building, which the departments now share, into a fire station, and, in front of that, to construct a new 10,000-square-foot building for the police department.

With a courtyard in the middle, the buildings would create a complex of sorts, said Andrew Hyland of Port City Architecture.

He said the buildings would be energy-efficient and have adequate space for the needs of modern police and fire departments, as well as room for them to grow.

A new training area, which would serve both departments and double as the town’s emergency operations center, would be built in the fire station. Two bays for firefighting apparatuses would also be added.

“As our town keeps growing, our services continue to grow with it,” said Councilor Shonn Moulton. “I think we’ve got a really great project and I hope it passes.”

In recent years, Gorham has been among the fastest-growing communities in the state. The population jumped nearly 16 percent – from 14,141 to 16,381 – between the census counts in 2000 and 2010. The population of the state as a whole grew 4.2 percent during the same time period.

A need for more space for the police and fire departments was first identified in 1999. Showers, sleeping areas, interview rooms, offices and storage space are all inadequate, town officials have said.

Hyland said it’s immediately apparent.

“In my opinion, it’s a very needed project,” he said.

Phillips said she would have liked to see both departments in one building so more consolidation between them could occur. Considering the impending retirements of both the police and fire chiefs, she said, it would be a good time for the town to consider having one person oversee both departments.

“I’ve talked to people from other communities who have public safety commissioners,” she said. “It’s one of those possibilities we can consider.”

But, she said, she’d like to see if voters are willing to spend the money on this project.

Town Manager David Cole said the project would increase the town’s tax rate by 30 cents in the first year after the money is borrowed – meaning it would tack $60 onto the tax bill for a $200,000 home – then probably decrease it by about a penny per year after that.

Hyland said the $5 million figure includes a $500,000 contingency. He said his firm has completed several public safety projects in the state in recent years and all of them have been completed under budget.

If voters approve the funding, the project could begin next spring and be completed by the spring of 2016.

An informational public hearing on the referendum question will be held on Sept. 2.