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Minutes of Town Board Meetings

Minutes of Informational Session, 6/22/2017 DRAFT

July 12th, 2017

Town of Carroll Building Committee Second Informational Session Minutes
June 22, 2017 @ 7:00 p.m.
Carroll Town Hall

The purpose of the June 22, 2017 Building Committee (the “Committee”) second Informational Session was to share information with town residents and interested parties, entertain questions, seek input from the community on constructing new public safety and administrative facilities on town-owned land, and to discuss the fate of the existing buildings used by the police and fire departments and the town’s administrative offices. The first Informational Session was held on January 31, 2017.

Members of the Building Committee present: Tadd Bailey (Police Department), Allan Clark (Project Manager), John Gardiner (Emergency Management Director), Greg Hogan (Public Works Supervisor), Michael Hogan (citizen), Bonnie Moroney (citizen), Janet Nelson (citizen), Jeremy Oleson (Fire Chief), Imre Szauter (citizen and chair), and John Trammell (Police Chief).

Sign-in sheets were provided and filled in by 8 attendees. About 22 people attended the session.

The session was opened at 7:04 p.m. by Imre Szauter and was recorded.

Imre Szauter invited attendees to rise and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

The session began with a welcome to all attendees and an invitation for those interested to join the Committee to better represent the community.

An agenda was presented, which included:
• Introductions
• Purpose and Goal
• Current Building Committee
• Review of Proposal
• Process Review
• Public Safety, Administrative and Community Spaces
• Options for Existing Structures
• Expected Cost / Tax Implications
• Questions?
• Concluding Remarks

Attendees were encouraged to ask questions and offer comments during the presentation, and reminded that time had been reserved near the end of the presentation for additional questions and discussion.

Imre Szauter introduced Committee members in attendance. He stated that all meetings of the Committee are open to the public and agendas, minutes and other documents are posted on the Town of Carroll website at http://www.townofcarroll.org under the “Town Meeting Minutes > Building Committee” tab.

Following a reminder that some of the information in the session had been originally presented at the first Informational Session in January, Imre Szauter reviewed the purpose and goal statements of the session.

Imre Szauter reviewed Committee highlights since its restart in November 2016.

Imre Szauter reviewed the current Committee two-phase proposal of developing a plan for a new public safety and administrative offices facility. The phase one warrant article was approved by voters in March 2017, which provided initial funding to contract for professional services such as planners, architects, civil engineers and surveyors for developing specifications and conceptual drawings. Phase two is anticipated to be placed on the 2018 warrant and would include final planning, construction and outfitting of a new facility.

Imre Szauter outlined some of the requirements of a new facility, and stated that the fate of the existing Town Hall and fire department building must be addressed.

Project Manager Allan Clark opened a discussion on the process the Committee will follow to develop a plan for a new facility. In his capacity as president of REI Services, Inc., Sugar Hill (NH) fire chief, and building inspector in three towns, he highlighted his qualifications and experiences in helping municipalities such as Franconia construct energy-efficient facilities to meet their current and future needs.

Allan Clark provided details and examples of how following a specific process with clear goals and deadlines helps to control expectations, costs and schedules. He outlined professional services such as architecture, civil engineering, surveying, and construction management, and how each plays a vital role in a successful project outcome.

Allan Clark covered site considerations for the town-owned 13-acre land parcel at the northwest corner of US 3 and US 302; cost issues; and financing, rebate and grant considerations. He compared and contrasted the design-bid-build method with the design-build method.

Police Chief John Trammell opened a discussion on the police department’s current situation and future needs. He provided background on his involvement in Rhode Island with planning and construction of a new 18,000 sq. ft. police department facility. Chief Trammell highlighted non-compliance issues with the current 1,980 sq. ft. leased facility and how a new facility of about 2,800 sq. ft. would meet all existing federal and state standards for police departments. Of particular note are records retention and security, processing of adults and juveniles, and holding-cell requirements that the current facility cannot adequately address.

A question was asked about the 2,800 sq. ft. estimated police department space – is this enough space for current and future needs? Chief Trammell explained that he believes this is adequate space to comply with all police department building standards and codes. A good floor plan coupled with a hallway to an exterior door would provide options for future growth if requirements or needs dictated changes.

Fire Chief Jeremy Oleson opened a discussion on the 1960-vintage fire department building by stating that the structure is nearing the end of its useful life. Following the police department’s move out of the building in 2007, the expansion of the fire department structure was anticipated to provide another 5 to 10 years usability for additional equipment and personnel space.

Chief Oleson stated that the current 1,170 sq. ft. of administrative space and the 3,756 sq. ft. used for apparatus storage do not provide adequate and/or secure space to meet current requirements and certainly don’t provide for growth. Inadequate secure record and medical supplies storage; lack of a proper decontamination area for personnel and equipment; lack of maintenance space, showers and bunking space; and insufficient training space expose firefighters and their families to greater risks in the course of their duties. Having adequate facilities would allow the fire department to conduct better training and more community outreach programs, especially those geared toward fire- and life-safety programs for children.

Based on an estimate of 3,500 sq. ft. for administrative spaces and about 6,200 sq. ft. for an apparatus bay, Chief Oleson stated he believed a new facility would not only serve the community better but could boost morale and assist with recruitment of more volunteers. Additionally, as the existing apparatus bay depth reduces the selection of suitable vehicles, a new apparatus bay design would eliminate restrictions on vehicle size.

A question was asked about the length of a ladder truck and how this could impact the design of the apparatus bay. Chief Oleson remarked that a properly-sized apparatus bay with doors at both ends would allow for a “drive-in, drive-out” configuration that could easily house a ladder truck and would solve several vehicle maneuvering and equipment storage issues.

Emergency Management Director John Gardiner opened a discussion on his role and what impact the recently-updated local emergency operations plan (LEOP) would have on a new facility. He outlined the need to provide for an emergency operations center (EOC) and secure storage for equipment, including cell phones, radios, computers, maps and materials. In case of a declared natural or human-caused emergency, a space sufficiently large enough to serve as a temporary command center would be established. A multi-function area within the fire department administrative space could serve as a training and meeting room as well as the EOC when needed.

Additionally, limited sheltering and food-preparation facilities for town residents might be necessary until the emergency ends and people can return to their residences. With proper design, these and other emergency needs could be fulfilled utilizing multi-function areas within the fire department and administrative office areas.

John Gardiner indicated that grant money may be available from the federal Department of Homeland Security to help offset the cost of providing emergency management spaces and equipment. An emergency generator is an example of equipment that may be purchased using grant money.

John Gardiner mentioned a recently-signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Town of Carroll and the Omni Mount Washington Resort that provides for emergency sheltering of town residents during a declared emergency. This MOU reduces the need for the town to provide sheltering services as long as the resort property is accessible and able to accommodate additional guests.

Imre Szauter opened a discussion on the administrative services office area. He outlined the amount of space currently available and used in Town Hall. Approximately 3,385 sq. ft. is available, excluded the gymnasium portion of the building. During several evaluations of space needed by staff, it was estimated that about 2,750 sq. ft. would meet current and future needs. The library currently occupies about 800 sq. ft.; an estimate of 1,000 sq. ft. was used to meet current and future needs. The Historical Society currently utilizes about 250 sq. ft. of storage space, but has no display space in Town Hall.

Imre Szauter mentioned that the concept of a community room was brought up in Committee discussions as a way to make a new facility more inviting and usable by the community. For planning purposes, a room size of 1,500 sq. ft. was used to safely accommodate up to 150 people. With the closure of the gymnasium (approximately 3,900 sq. ft., including the stage area), the only area currently available in Town Hall for meetings and events is the space across the hall from the administrative assistant and finance office. That space is approximately 713 sq. ft., although only about 529 sq. ft. is available because of the kitchenette area.

A question was asked about where voting activities took place with the closure of the gymnasium. Imre Szauter stated that the March elections were held in the meeting space where the informational session was being held.

A question was asked about the food pantry. Imre Szauter stated that the current food pantry uses about 100 sq. ft.; this function could be offered in a similarly-sized space in a new facility.

A question was asked about office space needed for various town functions. Imre Szauter replied that office and storage space for the tax collector/town clerk; administrative assistant; finance clerk; treasurer; planning board secretary; and board of adjustments secretary were included in the estimate of 2,750 sq. ft. provided earlier. He summarized the existing space in Town Hall at about 8,200 sq. ft., included the now-closed gymnasium; an estimate of about 4,100 sq. ft. was used for all administrative service and storage needs in a new facility.

Imre Szauter opened a discussion about options for existing structures, should voters approve funding for the final design and construction phase of a public safety and administrative services facility. With regard to the existing police station, the lease arrangement would be terminated, and the town would be responsible for returning it to its prior condition. Because the town currently owns and maintains the fire department building and Town Hall, decisions on the fate of those two buildings would be required.

Imre Szauter mentioned an October 2014 analysis completed by George Brodeur that estimated a renovation of Town Hall to meet fire- and life-safety code requirements, along with current building codes for municipal structures, would cost about $1,684,286. This estimate is useful when discussing the estimated cost of a new facility to house the functions provided by the Town Hall building.

Potential options for the fire department building include 1) do nothing with it once emptied, 2) offer it for sale as is, and 3) demolish the building and reuse or sell the land. Potential options for Town Hall are the same, except that more land might be made available if a portion of the +/- 13-acre parcel next to it is taken to expand the current 0.87-acre parcel it sits on.

A question was asked whether the Committee had considered demolishing the existing Town Hall and constructing a new facility on the existing 0.87-acre parcel. Imre Szauter replied that the Committee had not consider that idea, as the parcel’s size and a temporary location for town functions during construction of a new facility could be potential obstacles.

Allan Clark opened a discussion on the project’s expected cost and the property tax implications. He emphasized that preliminary space estimates for police department, fire department and administrative services functions may vary slightly from those presented, currently estimated at about 18,000 sq. ft. Using a construction estimate of $200 per sq. ft., this places the project at roughly $3.6 million. A 1,500 sq. ft. community room represents about 8.3% of the total space with an estimated cost of about $300,000. Allan Clark stated that it is important for the community to understand and support inclusion of a community room if it serves the needs of town residents and visitors.

Allan Clark stated that one of his goals is to guide the town in making a long-term investment in an energy-efficient, low-maintenance, quality-built municipal facility that not only provides many years of service but demonstrates pride in their community. Toward this end, the Franconia Public Safety Building serves as a model for what can be constructed on schedule and within budget.

With regard to the estimated cost of the project, Allan Clark stated that rebates and grants from various sources could reduce its final cost. Using a $3.6 million cost estimate, financed over 20 years at current interest rates, places the property tax impact at about $75 per year per $100,000 valuation.

Imre Szauter opened the floor to questions and comments. A question was asked about grant sources, such as the [Neil and Louise] Tillotson Fund, to help offset the project cost. Imre Szauter explained that this and other funding sources would be examined to see if our project would qualify for support. A question was asked about the town recreation building and how it might fit into the plan. Imre Szauter stated that up to this point, no one from the Recreation Committee has been involved in the planning process. The Committee’s focus has been on public safety and administrative services, although a community room might foster more Recreation Committee opportunities.

A question was asked about renovating the existing fire department building for use as a town hall. Imre Szauter responded that no, the Committee had not considered that idea. As outlined earlier, options for that building included leaving it empty, selling it, or demolishing it. He offered that the Committee could research renovation of the building to determine if it is both economically and structurally feasible.

Imre Szauter concluded the informational session by again thanking attendees for their participation; stating that the presentation would be posted on the town’s website at http://www.townofcarroll.org; encouraging attendees not already on the Committee to consider joining so they could add their ideas to the planning process; and offering that the Committee would consider meeting on different days and at different times if that would encourage more community participation.

The informational session adjourned at 8:41 p.m.

Minutes prepared by Imre Szauter.