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Minutes of Town Board Meetings

Minutes of 6/8/2017 APPROVED

June 28th, 2017

Town of Carroll Building Committee Meeting Minutes
June 8, 2017 @ 9:00 a.m.
Carroll Town Hall

Members and guests present: Allan Clark (Project Manager), Greg Hogan, Brad Houston, Janet Nelson, Jeremy Oleson, Imre Szauter and John Trammell

The Building Committee (the “Committee”) meeting began at 9:04 a.m. and was recorded.

Attendees stood and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

A draft agenda was distributed and a sign-in sheet was routed around.

Attendees introduced themselves.

The draft minutes of the May 25, 2017 meeting were discussed. John Trammell made a motion, seconded by Jeremy Oleson, to approve the minutes as written. The vote was unanimous.

Imre Szauter opened a discussion on the Preliminary Space Requirements and Cost Predictions document (“the document”) authored and released on June 1 by Allan Clark, Project Manager.

Allan Clark stated that the purpose of the document was twofold: a reality check for the town and a starting point for the architect hired by the town. The document contains a rough estimate of the space requirement needs for the police and fire departments, administrative offices, library, Historical Society and food pantry, and a cost estimate range based on a building cost of about $200 per square foot (ft2).

Allan Clark commented on the identification of spaces and their approximate sizes, as well as measurements taken of existing spaces in the police and fire department buildings and Town Hall. Allan Clark used his own experiences with public safety and administrative facilities, plus input from John Trammell, Jeremy Oleson, Imre Szauter and several staff members, to create the document. He stressed that the space sizes are not final, but close to where they should be for estimation purposes.

Allan Clark emphasized that not all spaces cost the same to construct. More expensive spaces include most of the police department and the fire department administrative areas, while the fire department apparatus bay is less expensive per square foot. The administrative spaces are also expensive, due in part to code and fire safety requirements. The $200 per ft2 estimate does not include elaborate construction materials and practices, but stresses durability and lower maintenance costs. This approach contributes to longer building life expectancy and a better return on investment.

Energy efficiency is another reason to anticipate spending about $200 per ft2, as reduced energy costs are a direct savings to the taxpayers.

Brad Houston asked if the document assumed a campus complex approach, with the possibility of more than one building, as discussed at a previous meetings. Allan Clark stated that the cost differential may not be significant between a one-building versus two-building design approach, although there are design considerations such as code requirements that may favor one design over another.

John Trammell mentioned his police department building committee experience in Rhode Island, and stated that he felt the estimated cost in the document seemed reasonable.

Imre Szauter indicated that his Committee report presented at the June 5th Select Board meeting generated a few questions, including one from Paul Bussiere on cost. Imre Szauter also summarized an email from Bonnie Moroney, which included her concerns on the estimated cost and some of the spaces specified in the document.

John Trammell suggested that stressing the longevity of a new facility and putting its construction cost in terms that voters can easily understand enhances the chance of Phase Two passage. Janet Nelson emphasized that the construction cost being discussed does not account for any grants or rebates the project would qualify for, reduced operating expenses, cancellation of lease payments on the police department building, and the disposition of the fire department building and Town Hall.

Imre Szauter led members through a section-by-section review of the document to determine if any modifications are warranted. Allan Clark commented that the space size estimations in EXHIBIT C, FIRE-RESCUE ADMINISTRATIVE/OPERATIONS are not excessive, given current fire department construction practices. He also answered a few questions about increasing/reducing space size estimates. Brad Houston cautioned that trimming space sizes a little to reduce the overall project cost probably isn’t a good idea, as the money saved in the long run isn’t significant. Allan Clark reminded members that good design practices call for a space to be sized for its function and not personalized for the individual performing that function today, as employees come and go. At the conclusion of the discussion, there were no suggested modifications to the document.

John Trammel recommended creating a table showing current mortgage rates and monthly/annual payments for several different loan amounts financed, and a table showing the potential changes on the property tax rate. Showing yearly & monthly amounts would help voters’ understanding of the direct impact on their finances.

John Trammel suggested that marketing the current fire department property for other uses, such as a small local grocery store, might spark interest within the residential and business communities. Its location on US Route 3 is very visible from the intersection of US Route 3 and US Route 302.

Imre Szauter opened a discussion of options for the existing fire department building and the Town Hall, should voters approve the Phase Two warrant article. The following ideas were proposed:
1) Do nothing – retain ownership of the existing tracts and buildings. This option is not supportive of the goal of reducing town operating and maintenance costs, and does nothing to address code, fire- and life-safety non-compliances in both buildings.
2) Private sale with/without land expansion – after moving into new facilities, both tracts could be offered for sale. With the Town Hall, expansion of the current 0.87 acre parcel might make the tract more appealing. With the fire department, expansion of the parcel could be impractical or impossible.
3) Demolition of buildings and reuse of land – town would demolish both buildings and retain the land. Jeremy Oleson suggested that the buildings could be memorialized in some fashion and the land reused for other purposes, such as ground-mounted solar arrays to help offset the town’s power costs.

John Trammell suggested that both tracts could be offered for sale for a certain period of time. This would give any interested party time to evaluate its resources and submit a letter of interest/intent to acquire one or both tracts. If no one came forward within the time specified, the buildings would be demolished and the land either retained by the town or offered for sale.

Allan Clark asked if School Street is a state or town road. Greg Hogan indicated the road is owned by the town.

Imre Szauter opened a discussion on the draft PowerPoint presentation for the June 22 Informational Session.

On the Public Safety, Administrative and Community Spaces slide (page 12), Allan Clark suggested removal of the square footage listings for each fire department space; Jeremy Oleson agreed.

On the Public Safety, Administrative and Community Spaces slide (page 13), Allan Clark suggested creation of a diagram that shows the proposed apparatus bay with representations of the equipment parked in place and removal of the space specification. Imre Szauter and Jeremy Oleson will work on the diagram and equipment placement.

On the Public Safety, Administrative and Community Spaces slide (page 14), Allan Clark offered to research the EOC grant amount the town would qualify for from the New Hampshire Homeland Security and Emergency Management agency.

On the Public Safety, Administrative and Community Spaces slide (page 15), Allan Clark suggested removal of the individual space sizes and adding in the total (gross) space occupied by all administrative spaces in the current Town Hall. This will help residents understand how much space is used today.

On the Public Safety, Administrative and Community Spaces slide (page 17), Allan Clark suggested showing the square footage for the former gymnasium and current meeting room so residents can compared the total to what is being proposed. Allan Clark also recommended removal of the “Usage rules governed by Select Board” bullet item, as this can be discussed during the presentation if it comes up.

John Trammell commented that at his former police department in Rhode Island, community members and groups could sign up for use of the EOC/community room on a first-come, first-served basis and that they had no problems at that facility.

Allan Clark asked if there was a place in the presentation where volunteers to serve on the Committee would be sought. Janet Nelson suggested asking at the beginning of the meeting, during the Welcome slide. Imre Szauter offered to place an “invitation to join” on the Welcome, History of Current Building Committee, and Concluding Remarks slides. Allan Clark stated that to be successful, the Committee must be perceived as a citizens’ committee, not a department committee.

Imre Szauter polled members for other items.

Jeremy Oleson stated that he had spoken with a number of people who said they would try to attend the Committee meeting, but none made it.

Allan Clark asked if we should consider meeting at a different time.

Jeremy Oleson mentioned two potential candidates to serve on the Committee; Imre Szauter will follow up with him to obtain contact information.

Greg Hogan asked about School Street and what would happen to its intersections on US Route 3 and US Route 302. Allan Clark offered that it’s too early to know what will happen with them, as the architect and civil engineer will have to evaluate how School Street will fit into the site plan.

Allan Clark stated that following distribution of the Architectural Services RFP, the next step is interviewing and hiring the architect.

John Trammell expressed a concern that a phased-in approach to a campus of buildings will fail, given that residents will perhaps approve one component of the design and reject the others. He asked if it’s possible to forecast cost increases in building materials, interest rates, and more to drive home the point that delaying construction only increases the overall cost to property owners.

Imre Szauter mentioned a draft press release in the items distributed prior to the meeting. He asked if there was any feedback; hearing none, he stated he would send the press release to the The Coos County Democrat the next day.

Allan Clark pointed out there is no mention of cost in the draft presentation. John Trammell suggested creating tables that show interest rates and loan repayment amounts for several scenarios to give a sense of the cost to property owners. He further suggested showing the cost to residents based on property valuations. Janet Nelson suggested placing this information near the end of the presentation.

Discussion of a handout for the information session took place. Committee members felt that making Allan Clark’s Preliminary Space Requirements and Cost Predictions document available, either in hardcopy or online form, would be useful for attendees. It was decided to place the document online and Allan Clark will mention its availability during his portion of the presentation.

Allan Clark suggested that a table or tables, as suggested by John Trammell earlier, would be valuable on a handout for informational session attendees to take home.

Imre Szauter stated he delivered a written summary of the Committee’s May activities to the Select Board on Monday, June 5. A copy of that report was included in the Committee meeting packet.

Imre Szauter stated he set up a Google Drive folder for Committee members to reference for past and future documents. All past meeting agendas and approved minutes are in the folder. In the future, rather than distribute documents as attachments to emails, the documents will be uploaded to the Google Drive folder and a text-only email will be sent to Committee members announcing their availability. All Committee members should have received an email invitation to visit the Google Drive folder and view what is there. In addition, using Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides applications allow Committee members to collaborate or edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents, respectively, online.

Imre Szauter mentioned that the town is involved in planning and zoning issues that expose members of those boards to legal discovery if they use their personal equipment (computers, cell phones, tablets, etc.) to communicate or create/store/share documents related to matters before them. To address the public’s right-to-know, hardcopies of all documents from the Committee will be placed in a binder in the administrator’s office. In addition, most of those documents will be placed on the Town’s website.

Imre Szauter asked about scheduling a regular Committee meeting the morning of June 22 to review the presentation for that evening’s informational session. Members agreed it would allow for a review and any last-minute changes to the presentation.

Allan Clark asked about proceeding with the Architectural RFP. A motion was made by John Trammell, seconded by Janel Nelson, to proceed with completion and distribution of the Architectural RFP. The vote to proceed was unanimous.

The next Committee meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 22 at 9:00 a.m. in Town Hall and the second informational session is scheduled for Thursday, June 22 at 7:00 p.m. in Town Hall.

John Trammell made a motion, seconded by Greg Hogan, to adjourn the meeting. The vote to adjourn was unanimous.

The meeting adjourned at 10:35 a.m.

Minutes prepared by Imre Szauter.