Buckland to vote on new garage plan

  • Buckland Highway Department FILE PHOTO

  • Buckland Highway Department FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 10/11/2018 4:32:56 PM

BUCKLAND — With new construction bids in hand, Buckland will hold a special town meeting on Nov. 13 to see if voters will support the latest plan for a new highway garage on town property at 2 Sears St. Extension.

Bids were opened Tuesday. The low-bid was for $2,455,321 by Westfield Construction Co. of Chesterfield, N.H. The highest bid came in at $2,832,000. The $2.45 million low bid, under review, is for construction costs, but doesn’t include costs for design, a clerk of the works, or legal fees for bonding. The Finance Committee will meet Monday night, Oct. 15, at 6 p.m. in the Buckland Public Library to review the special town meeting warrant items. Also, the Highway Garage Building Committee meets Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 6:30 p.m. at 2 Sears St. Extension to discuss the warrant issues and prepare for the special town meeting.

The special town meeting warrant hasn’t yet been posted or approved by the Selectboard, because there are other articles to be included on it. These include engineering costs to repair a landfill cap at the transfer station and an additional $30,000 to equip a highway truck.

Architect Mike Gobeille of Roy S. Brown Architects said the garage construction bid is to build a 112-foot by 46-foot (5,152 square-foot) highway garage, demolish the south section of the old Mayhew plant, and replace it with a 5,000 square-foot pole barn for vehicle storage. This barn would be a three-sided structure with lighting but no heat. An alternative proposal is to put overhead doors on the open side. Included in the bid is asphalt paving around the garage, some grading and gravel paving leading to the pole barn.

A special election to finance the override will take place Nov. 14 if town meeting voter OKs the debt-exclusion on Nov. 13. A debt-exclusion override lets the town temporarily raise taxes above its levy limit for a specific project, such as the new garage. When the debt is repaid, the tax hike goes away.

It has been 10 years now, since the Highway Department was ousted from its old Conway Street garage by the building inspector, who deemed the building structurally unsound. After looking for a new garage site and town meeting approval for some of those sites, Buckland rented the old Mayhew Steel plant on the Sears Street Extension in 2014 for $5,000 per month. In 2016, the town unanimously voted to buy the 4.7 acre site for $325,000. However, Building Inspector James Cerone determined that the building did not meet minimum standards required for a municipal garage.

In 2017, the town sought $3.5 million for new construction of a highway garage, but that proposal was narrowly defeated.

If voters support the expense, the Selectboard hopes construction can begin “before the snow flies” this winter.

Greenfield Recorder

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