Here is an architect’s rendering of the proposed new Arundel Town Hall. Residents can get details on the proposal at an informational session Nov. 7. A Special Town Meeting to vote on the proposal is set for Nov. 16. Image courtesy Town of Arundel

ARUNDEL – If the voters agree, residents here could be doing business in a new town hall – one that has all offices on one floor for ease of access, and that affords customers more privacy than the current building, plus a host of other advantages, proponents say.

A building committee has been working on the proposal for 18 months and has been updating residents with quarterly newsletters on the progress.

Now, an informational meeting on the proposed town hall is set for 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7 at Mildred L. Day School.

A Special Town Meeting to decide whether to approve the proposal and bond the cost is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 16 at the school.

Voters will be asked if they wish to borrow $2.9 million though a 20-year bond. With an estimated 3.21 percent interest rate, the total amount works out to roughly $4.2 million, according to the warrant.

Arundel currently has no bonded indebtedness.

Town Manager Keith Trefethen, writing in the monthly town newsletter the Arrow, said if approved, the tax rate would increase by about 40 to 45 cents per $1,000 of property to cover the bond. That translates into a tax increase of about $80 to $90 on a property valued at $200,000, he estimated. Trefethen was out of the office prior to the newspaper’s deadline, and unavailable for an interview.

The proposed new town hall is 7,000 square feet that includes all offices on one floor, and a meeting room large enough to hold 100 people.

Trefethen wrote that with R-40 insulated walls and an R-60 roof, the town anticipates an energy efficient building, with the solar energy needed to power the new building generated on site.

“We believe this will be the first net zero building of its kind in Maine,” Trefethen wrote.

He wrote that Port City Architects, which was chosen from among five firms, prepared a bid package with the help of the building committee that was distributed to general contractors throughout the region. Six responded and three were interviewed by the building committee, with Ouellet Construction of Brunswick selected for the project.

The building would be be situated on Limerick Road, opposite West Lane, about 1 ½ miles south of the current town hall, on 10 acres the town purchased following a town meeting vote in June, 2017, said Arundel Municipal Building Committee chairman Jack Turcotte.

The building now used as a town hall was constructed in 1876 and renovated in the mid-1970s.

“It is is obsolete by modern standards,” said Turcotte. He said all of he building’s systems – mechanical, electrical, plumbing, life-safety, building envelope, and security – as well as insulation and roofing, are well beyond their life cycle and that there are other issues. including a lack of accessibility, the lack sprinkler system and more.

Turcotte served as town manager prior to Trefethen’s arrival.

“The biggest problem I see with the (current) building is there is no privacy and an antiquated second story with no access other than a narrow stairway people hit their head on,” he said. “Everybody is crowded and there is no privacy. It is not not a professional setting. A lot of professional transactions and conversations happen in a municipal building.”

About 8 to 10 people work full-time at Arundel Town Hall, he estimated.

And while elections don’t happen every day, Turcotte pointed out that when voters cast ballots at the Arundel Fire Station, which is on the same property as the town hall, the fire trucks have to be moved out of the building and people have to park along Limerick Road, something he sees as a safety issue.

“It’s time,” said Turcotte. “Every month of every year we wait, costs goes up, when you know its inevitable.”

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