August 21, 2012

Yarmouth voters to get say on public works plan

By Kelley Bouchard kbouchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Yarmouth voters would be asked to approve borrowing nearly $2.9 million to build an addition to the town's public works garage, under a scaled-back proposal that would delay replacing the cramped and outdated facility on North Road.

Town officials have dropped a nearly $8 million proposal to raze and replace the garage, which would have required a Little League field to be moved.

The cheaper option calls for a 6,000-square-foot addition to the 8,300-square-foot garage, including two vehicle maintenance bays for washing and working on public works trucks and school buses.

The $2.9 million price includes $375,000 to buy a single-family house and 1.5 acres next door, to allow future expansion of the public works complex, said Town Manager Nat Tupper.

"This is a first phase," Tupper said. "It makes our public works operations safer, more efficient and more environmentally sound. It doesn't address the fact that we have a 1950s-era building that needs a lot of work and probably should be torn down and rebuilt at some point."

The Town Council will hold a public hearing on the garage proposal Sept. 20 and is expected to ask voters to approve the project's bond on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Also on the November ballot, voters will be asked to approve borrowing $1.5 million to install a new synthetic turf football field at Yarmouth High School because the existing one is worn, uneven and hazardous to players.

The town recently paid off two 20-year-old construction bonds -- one for Harrison Middle School and the other for the upgraded sewage treatment plant -- freeing up more than $800,000 a year that had been dedicated to debt payments.

The existing cinder-block and metal garage is too small and outdated to meet the town's modern public works needs, which now include school-bus maintenance as a cost-saving measure, Tupper said.

The building no longer meets operational, energy, air-quality and environmental-safety standards, he said. A large blue tarp separates the area where vehicles are washed from the area where equipment is maintained.

The council has agreed to pay Judy Knaub $375,000 for her 2,600-square-foot, three-bedroom home at 52 North Road. An independent appraiser valued the property at $388,000 when Knaub refinanced her home in March 2011.

 

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

kbouchard@pressherald.com

 

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