JAMAICA — Based on the results of Tuesday's vote, the March 1, 2016, vote in favor of a bond to pay for a new town garage was affirmed.
In Tuesday's re-vote, 84 Jamaica citizens voted against the bond and 74 voted in favor of it. While there was greater opposition to the bond at the polls this week, with a reconsideration vote the number of votes in opposition would have to exceed two-thirds of the original 150 affirmative votes from March 1; therefore, the opposition needed 100 votes to prevail in the May 17 vote.
"Basically this says there is permission from citizens of Jamaica to go ahead and incur expenses for a new town garage," said Paul Fraser, chairman of the Jamaica Select Board.
Currently, the town garage is about 6,000 square feet. The plan is to replace the current structure with one about double its size. Safety and storage issues were pointed to as reasons for the project. Town Road Commissioner Keith Hazard noted that trucks were smaller when Jamaica's garage was first constructed in the 1970s. In recent years vehicles and some equipment have been stored out in the snow, which required crew members to "chip them out" when frozen.
The not-to-exceed $750,000 bond was approved by voters at annual Town Meeting on March 1, but the town received a petition with 68 signatures, which met a requirement to hold a re-vote.
The Select Board anticipates making a decision on whether to obtain a bond with a lifetime of 20 or 25 years before the Municipal Bond Bank deadline of June 16 for applications. A 20-year bond would cost taxpayers slightly more each year than a 25-year bond. For homes assessed at $100,000, residents would be looking at approximately $20.90 extra in their tax bill for fiscal year 2018. That number would go down each year, reaching about $13.86 in FY37. A 25-year bond would cost less each year; about $18.76 extra in FY18 and $11.10 in FY42 for $100,000 assessments. But it would cost more in the long run due to interest.
Some residents had raised concerns about the cost and scope of the project. Some raised concerns about the cost of flood insurance for the structure and others felt an alternate location was not considered or investigated.
"We did all our work possible that we could do and hopefully, we answered all the questions that they needed answered," Select Board member Lexa Clark said in an interview earlier this week.
Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext 275