We support DPW building proposal

Thursday, May 17, 2018

We served with three of the members of the Montague DPW feasibility committee on the Building Committee for the Public Safety Complex. That committee completed the police station ahead of schedule and significantly under the budgeted amount authorized by the town vote. We focused on consolidating space use in the building, we hired an architect with a good record of little use of contingency funds, and we stayed very involved at every step of the process.

The first meeting of the DPW Committee set that same standard, looking for an architectural firm which would listen to and work with Montague’s needs and limits, and which had a good record of low use of contingency fees. As soon as the firm selected converted their needs assessment into a building design, the committee examined the plans point by point, cutting and consolidating square footage by 25 percent.

Weighing space requirements, efficient operations, projected yearly expenses, and a building that lasts, results in a total of $9.4 million. Because we can’t foretell the future, there is $1,760,000 added for any unexpected circumstances. Given the committee’s sharp-eyed work plus the architect’s past record, there is good reason to anticipate low use of the contingency funds, with a final amount lower than the total authorized.

So while the requested total is larger than we all hoped, it carefully balances all the needs of the town residents. We need to get out of the building we have before we are shut down because of the extraordinary health hazards. We also can benefit from increasing the efficiency of staff time and the life-spans of the vehicles we buy.

We strongly support this project. We can do this and now is the time. Putting it off only increases the costs, which we need to avoid.

Pam and John Hanold

Turners Falls