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Minutes of Town Board Meetings

Minutes of 6/22/2017

July 27th, 2017

Town of Carroll Building Committee Meeting Minutes
June 22, 2017 @ 9:00 a.m.
Carroll Town Hall

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

The Building Committee (the “Committee”) meeting began at 9:00 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 June 8, 2017 meeting were discussed. Jeremy Oleson made a motion, seconded by Janet Nelson, to approve the minutes as written. The vote was unanimous.

Allan Clark opened a discussion on the process. He stated that prior to Town Meeting in February 2018, the Building Committee should have a concept plan and a budget ready for presentation. Choosing an architect through the Architectural Services RFP process will assist the Committee in confirming the size of the project, provide concept drawings and sketches for use future meetings and informational sessions, and develop sound budget numbers.

Based on Allan Clark’s June 1 Preliminary Space Requirements and Cost Predictions document, the scope of the project is estimated at about 18,000 ft2. The total cost range is between $3.2 million and $3.75 million, using an estimated cost of about $200 per ft2. These numbers should give an architect a sense of the Committee’s desire for a project that doesn’t use the cheapest or most-expenses materials and practices.

Allan Clark referred to the Town of Carroll, NH Municipal Building Sample Schematic Specifications document distributed prior to the meeting. The documents serves as a sample template for the information an architect should have to begin his work. He emphasized that this document is a starting point and will evolve as he and the architect confer.

Allan Clark stated that he felt the Informational Session planned for the evening of June 22 should accomplish several tasks:
1) Emphasize that the Committee must grow in size and become more diverse in order for all points of view to be considered and to successfully market the project plan to the community.
2) Provide a clear explanation of the process needed to get the project developed for Town meeting in Feb. 2018
3) Establish that to accomplish proper public safety and administrative services both now and for the next 25 to 50 years, the town must be willing to support an estimated cost of about $3.5 million
4) Emphasize the impact on property taxes, stating the estimated cost per $100,000 property valuation, so property owners can better relate to their individual per year cost of the project

Janet Nelson stated that previous discussions related to the tax impact focused on developing a table that showed how much per $100,000 valuation a loan of 15, 20, 25 and 30 years would cost. Allan Clark stated that such a table had been created, but he favored not distributing this information at the June 22 Informational Session as it is too early in the process for that.

Michael Hogan stated that while a table showing the yearly impact on property taxes is helpful, it doesn’t take into account the reduction in operational and maintenance costs when the police department lease is cancelled and the fire department building and the Town Hall are no longer expenses to the town. Allan Clark mentioned that while operational and maintenance costs for the current three buildings are certain to be higher than for one or more new energy-efficient buildings, other variables may impact the overall cost savings to the town.

Janet Nelson suggested that rebates and grants should be mentioned at the Informational Session as possible ways to reduce the cost of the project. Allan Clark confirmed that applications for rebates from Eversource Energy for energy-efficient lighting and a grant from the New Hampshire Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management would be included in the cost estimates for the project.

While discussing the impact on taxpayers, Allan Clark cautioned that both interest rates and construction costs are certain to rise in the future, adding a sense of urgency to getting this project approved sooner than later. When asked by John Trammell if it is possible to estimate the yearly increase in construction costs, Allan Clark responded that the lack of qualified trades people in the area and rising building material costs may drive costs significantly higher in the short term but that providing actual estimates is too difficult.

Allan Clark reminded members that local real estate property taxes are still tax deductible on federal income tax forms, reducing the final impact on the taxpayer. In short, there are too many variables this early in the process to begin discussing and debating the final impact on the property tax rate.

One large item for consideration by the voters is the projected size of a community room, currently stated at 1,500 ft2 with an estimated capacity of 150 people. Based on an estimated $200 per ft2, this area adds about $300,000 to the project’s cost. If support exists for a community room of this size, that’s fine but if not, reducing its size or eliminating it would reduce the overall project cost.

Imre Szauter opened a discussion on the PowerPoint presentation for the June 22 Building Committee Informational Session. Members went through the presentation frame by frame, asking questions, making comments, and suggesting modifications.

Michael Hogan asked if a change in Committee meeting days and/or times should be included in the call for volunteers to join. Janet Nelson suggesting doing so near the end of the presentation.

John Gardiner suggested offering the option for session attendees to provide their contact information and availability for meetings if they are interested in joining the Committee.

John Trammell reminded members that the community room in his former location is immensely popular with the public and in constant use. Including a properly-sized community room, with usage rules established by the Select Board, may have a positive influence on community support for this project.

John Gardiner mentioned that during a recent Library Trustees meeting, attendees agreed the library’s approximately 800 ft2 size is too small. He suggested a 1,000 ft2 library space in the new facility.

Michael Hogan reiterated that a well-designed, multi-function space might serve the needs of the library, Historical Society, and public space or community room. He stated that Historical Society displays could be secured within such a space, reducing theft or damage concerns.

Allan Clark suggested mentioning the 2014 Town Hall renovation analysis completed by George Brodeur prior to discussing the administrative offices’ needs. Showing that spending an estimated $1.684 million (in year 2014 dollars) to renovate Town Hall versus an estimated $3.5 million to build new facilities for the police and fire departments and administrative services is a good contrast that adds to the justification to new-build rather than renovate.

Allan Clark proposed presenting the estimated cost of the project and the property tax implication near the end of the presentation, just before opening the floor to questions and comments.

Janet Nelson asked if there was a point in the presentation where it would be appropriate to mention that delaying the project would only add to its final cost. Allan Clark recommended holding off discussing the consequences of delaying the project unless that question surfaces during the session.

Imre Szauter opened a discussion under “Other”. Members discussed recording the Informational Session to assist with the creation of meeting minutes. The Informational Session will be recorded and once the minutes approved, the recording will be deleted.

The next Committee meeting is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, July 6 at 9:00 a.m. in Town Hall.

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

The meeting adjourned at 10:39 a.m.

Minutes prepared by Imre Szauter.