A referendum on a new public works building and a two-way race for an at-large Town Council seat are on the Nov. 3 ballot in Windham.

Voters will decide whether to borrow $7.7 million to build a new 31,000-square-foot facility next to the existing 10,000-square-foot public works building on Windham Center Road.

The new building would also be used for bus maintenance for the school department.

A facilities assessment analysis done in 1998 determined that the space needed to double in size.

The next year, voters rejected a $3.9 million bond for that project.

Another assessment done in 2013 showed there were circulation conflicts on the site, a lack of stormwater management and treatment, inadequate parking and storage, and undersized fuel storage tanks.

Having no indoor vehicle wash bay meant equipment wasn’t cleaned in the winter, when it would freeze after washing, leading to corrosion and shortened lifespan.

No storage for vehicles has added to the response time for treating the streets after storms, because the equipment has to warm up first.

If the bond is approved, construction on the new facility would begin in 2017 and be completed the following year.

The project, on average, would add 28 cents to the tax rate over 20 years, about $56 per year for a $200,000 home – approximately the same amount, the town says, that it costs to plow the roads in the winter.

Windham residents will also decide whether to re-elect incumbent Councilor Dennis Welch, who is facing a challenge from David Lydon.

Welch, 46, has served on the council since 2011.

If elected to another term, Welch said he would address the issues the town has been having regarding public safety on private roads.

He would also want to work on finishing the town’s comprehensive plan.

“I want to finish what the council has started in the last couple of years to see our community prosper and move forward,” he said.

Welch, who works for the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, said he supports the referendum for a new public works building because it will make the department more efficient and enable equipment to last longer.

Lydon, 36, a Windham native who ran unsuccessfully for a council seat last year and in 2009, said he also supports the project, which he said is more expensive than he’d like it to be but was thoughtfully planned.

He said he would like to help the town rein in spending elsewhere, as well, and see improvements to the South Windham village, but in general will favor current residents over further development.

Lydon, an IT manager, said he doesn’t have a platform and is not out to change things.

“To my eye, the role of councilor is work, listening, communication and negotiation,” he said. “My approach is one of civic duty, and I am offering to lend a hand where I believe I could add value.”

Also on the ballot are Timothy Nangle, who is running unopposed to fill a vacancy representing the West District, and Regional School Unit 14 board members Marjorie Govoni and Dawn Dillon, who are running unopposed for re-election to their seats.

Town Clerk Linda Morrell is also running unopposed for reelection to her position.


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