JAMAICA — The Select Board is taking the next steps toward replacing the Town Garage, having signed a contract with an architectural firm on Monday night.
"We're confident of the two bids we got, this was the best we got," said Paul Fraser, board chairman.
He said Cotton Belaski Architectural Services, of Newfane, "had a good heads up of what was going on." The firm had participated in discussions with the board and residents prior to the annual Town Meeting vote in March.
The town received authority to take out a bond for the project then, but a petition required a re-vote on the matter in May. The project, which will replace the 6,000-square-foot Town Garage with a facility approximately twice its size in order to address safety and storage concerns, was ultimately approved.
The contract with the architectural firm was approved at $28,500.
"That includes schematic design, consultation and program development," said board member Lou Bruso, adding that design work would focus on floor-plan elevations, foundations, roof framing, heating, windows, doors, and electrical and plumbing work.
Project scheduling, assistance with bids, negotiations with general contractors and construction administration are also part of the deal. The town will be providing the firm with $12,500 up front and $12,500 once construction documents are submitted. After permitting and bidding, the town will pay the firm the remaining $3,500.
The Select Board hopes project costs will come in under the authorized bond amount of $750,000. The Federal Reserve's talk about raising interest rates in June, Bruso said, "seems to be off the table now."
Waiting until next year, closer to when construction is expected to take place, was not looked at as the best option.
"Right now, the money is going to be as cheap as it's ever going to get. The recommendation I got from both our lawyer and the bond bank is we should do the loan this year," said Bruso. "There is no risk of borrowing and then not having anything we use it for. We would use it to pay back the first installment of the loan."
A special meeting is scheduled for Friday at 10 a.m. to review a package of documents from the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank. Bruso suggested putting in a bond application for the bank's next offering, which is in July. The money "sits in a fund at the state," he said.
"They don't send that money to us," he explained. "We would borrow that money from our reserve accounts and when the bond money is available (in July), we would request payment for that."
Contact Chris Mays at email@example.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.