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Weathersfield Select Board

 

                    Perkinsville School Re Use Public Meeting

 

                                 September 27, 2012

 

 

Present:                       Dan Boyer      

 

                                    Norman John Arrison

 

                                    Richard Clattenburg  

 

                                    Dave Fuller

 

                                    Michael Todd

 

                                    Jim Mullen, Town Manager

 

Others Present:            David Powsner, SD Associates

 

                                    Tom Appel, New England Mgmt Co.

 

                                    Lisa Slade, Recording Secretary

 

                                    Peter Cole, Moderator

 

                                    Craig Smith

 

                                    Samantha Smith

 

                                    Olivette May

 

                                    Edward May

 

                                    Joseph Barrows

 

                                    Jerry Kalanges

 

                                    Kelly Murphy

 

                                    Eric Murphy

 

                                    Julia Lloyd Wright

 

                                    Jim Wimberg

 

                                    deForest Bearse

 

                                    FloAnn Dango

 

                                    Mariam Ballam

 

                                    Ian Crawford

 

                                    Sandy Brown

 

                                    Ron Brown

 

                                    Peter Korbet

 

                                    George Lamb

 

                                    Alan Hudson

 

                                    Bonnie Blake

 

                                    Stephanie Hudson

 

                                    Dan Potter

 

                                    Tom Kennedy

 

                                    Polly Bergeron

 

                                    Carolyn Taylor

 

                                    Robert Pierce

 

                                    Eleanor Pierce

 

                                    Gilbert Whittemore

 

                                    JoEllen Emerson

 

                                    Becky Houghton

 

                                    Chris Garufaio

 

                                    GM Huff

 

                                    Edith Stillson

 

                                    Jeff Slade

 

                                    Tim Sargent

 

                                    Sierra Jangel

 

                                    Patty Kelley

 

                                    BJ Esty

 

                                    Roger Newhall

 

                                    Mrs. Newhall

 

                                    Grace Knight

 

                                    David Gulbrandsen

 

                                    Debbie Graham          

 

                                    Keith Graham

 

                                    Jeff Spurr

 

                                    Bart Mair

 

                                    Charles Horton

 

                                    Alister Crawford

 

                                    (several others that did not sign sheet)

 

Mr. Cole opened the Public Meeting at 7:03 p.m. at Martin Memorial Hall and read the 3 options that are being considered at this time for the Perkinsville School location.

 

Mr. Todd, Chairman of the Re-Use committee, said they have been meeting since March 2011 and at previous meetings held the people within the community expressed an interest in retaining the 1879 building as an historic site. They also wanted to retain the field for recreational purposes. Because the community expressed interest in the 1879 building and the field the option of selling was not explored. The 2 options being considered were demolish all except 1879 building and demolish all but 1879 building and the multipurpose room area of the existing building. Then, SD Associates contacted the Town and expressed an interest in using the building so the focus has been on renovating the building for them and/or demolishing it.

 

Option 1 which is to stabilize the 1879 building, demolish the 1954 and 1969 additions and to restore the site would cost approximately $570,139. Option 3 would stabilize the 1879 building, mothball the 1954 addition and rehabilitate the 1969 addition for use by SD Associates would cost approximately $1,344,870. Mr. Mullen said these numbers are worse case, from the estimates we received we have estimated on the high end. The Select Board will put one of these options on the November 6th ballot for the registered votes to vote on. If passed, this will authorize the Select Board to bond up to that amount for twenty years. It is estimated option 1 would increase the total homestead taxes for a Weathersfield homeowner $8 per $1,000 and the option 3 increase would be $18 per $1,000.

 

Mr. Mullen said this is assuming no grants will be received however, we expect to apply for a grant to help with the clean up of hazardous materials.

 

It was noted it isn't really feasible to derive a lease at this time and it was noted that since the community has expressed interest in using the fields and will have access to part of the building (multipurpose room, rest rooms, kitchen etc) some of the expense will be shared by the Town, SD Associates won't be paying the full expense as far as utilities go.

 

Mr. Powsner said his firm as been around a long time and they are looking to use this site instead of the current site they use in North Hartland. He said they have 80 employees and they provide behavior and special education support to children, youths and young adults with significant communication, behavior and learning challenges year round. Mr. Powsner noted they are a private entity but they have worked in and out of schools including Weathersfield School. He said they provide service throughout Vermont, in the upper valley region of New Hampshire and throughout western Massachusetts and they have a longstanding collaborative relationship with Windsor Southeast Supervisory Union.

 

Mr. Charles Horton asked the length of the lease agreement with SD Associates. Mr. Powsner said their initial commitment may be five years.

 

Mr. Bart Mair asked how many are in the North Hartland location, how many would be expected here the first 2 years and what is the total capacity. Mr. Powsner said they would look to have fifteen students initially with a capacity of twenty five. He reminded everyone that these students are hard to serve so they serve fewer at a time. He also noted they currently commute a great distance so this location would be a benefit for the oness that travel now.

 

Mrs. Debbie Graham asked about a back up plan if this lease is broken. Mr. Boyer said we would look to lease it to someone else and noted that because one section would be mothballed it could be remodeled at a later date for SD Associates to expand or for another tenant. Mrs. Graham asked the definition of mothball. Mr. Boyer said basically stabilize. Mrs. Graham said if renovations were done to the section at a later date to the section that is mothballed then another bond would be needed at that time.

 

Mr. Gulbrandsen said if we bond we commit to twenty years. What happens if SD Associates does not renew their lease after the initial five years. Mr. Boyer said the Town would carry the expense.

 

Mr. Craig Smith said the building had students in it before so why so much remodeling to house kids again. Mr. Todd said the building has to be brought up to code and their is also a hazardous materials issue which has to be remediated. Mr. Arrison said there are mold issues in the building now and it has greatly deteriorated since it has been closed up.

 

Mr. Roger Newhall asked what we would do with the location if the buildings were torn down. Mr. Boyer said use the fields for recreation. Mr. Newhall asked if we would then sell the land. Mr. Boyer said no.

 

Mr. Alan Hudson said he doesn't think the real numbers have been figured yet. He said there will be costs for maintenance, management and we will need a capitol reserve fund. He said he wants to know what the real numbers are going to be. Mr. Mullen said we don't have those numbers yet, they need to be established. Mr. Hudson said his guess would be between $60,000 - $70,000.

 

Mr. Todd said the numbers provided tonight include mechanical, electrical and plumbing costs for the 1969 addition. He said the Architects report estimates to renovate the 1879 building it would cost between $88,000 - $103,000.

 

Mrs. Patty Kelley said her property borders the school fields and she sees how much the play area is used. She said she thinks it is important for us to have access to the facility and she sees the value in this. She said the playground is currently blocked off and asked when it would be open again. Mrs. Esty said the play structures are not safe per VLCT, they are waiting for their report to come back and then will explore the costs and options to make the necessary repairs.

 

Mr. Wimberg asked what areas would be available for the communities use and when. It was said the fields, the multipurpose room and the kitchen would be available at night and possibly during the late afternoons as well. Mr. Todd said we would have limited shared use of the facility. Mr. Powsner said they would be there only during the school hours.

 

Mr. Murphy she learned through the School Boards research that the Town could sell the land but they would have to purchase new land and the new land would have to be deemed Hoisington field.

 

Mr. Alister Crawford asked about renovating the fields and asked what the cost would be for that and where the money would come from. Mr. Mullen said both options include site work and there is $29,000 in the Hoisington reserve fund for renovation of the fields.

 

Mrs. Esty said if the building is torn down the water and septic is not acceptable for another building per the State and we would lose a building with a purpose. Mr. Todd said he has heard a different opinion on the water and sewer, he said it would be useable but they may not get a permit. And, the current system as it is may not be any good.

 

Mr. Korbet said per the Town report the 2008 fiscal year total expense for the building was $140,396, $29,013 was for heating the building. He questioned the figures being presented and not including the future costs.

 

Mr. Appel said as the plans develop so do the numbers. He said he would like to ask more questions to fine tune the numbers that we have to date.

 

Mr. Fuller said this project has risks, some costs still need to be worked out. he said if the lessee leaves we pay the bill and in his opinion there will be surprises. He said this opportunity presents a chance to have a co-payer but the bond will not be the end of the costs.

 

Mr. George Lamb said he noticed SD Associates is an LLC, so he asked who would be the lessee. Mr. Powsner said they would look for insurance to cover the unknown if the lease does not work out. Mr. Lamb said the Town should consider renting to someone else to lessen the risk. He said the Town seems in a rush to do business with this one customer and there may be other people out there interested in renting and willing to pay more money.

 

Mr. Arrison said there hasn't been much talk on Option 1 tonight and wanted to remind everyone that the Select Board needs to decide on Monday night whether they will put Option 1 or Option 3 on the ballot for the voters.

 

Mr. Clattenburg asked about the additional costs of insurance to the Town. Mr. Mullen said our insurance rate is based on the annual budget, it is unlikely this building would add much to our premium. Mr. Clattenburg said the costs need to be clear, we may end up paying the whole amount if the lease does not work out so we should remember that could happen.

 

Mrs. Murphy asked Mr. Arrison to clarify what he said a minute ago. Mr. Arrison said we have to work on a timeline for the vote and the bond so the Board needs to decide Monday night what will be on the ballot.

 

Mrs. Grace Knight said the studies done on the Perkinsville building in the past has shown that building was not in good shape for the past ten years which is one reason why we have a new school in Ascutney. Mr. Mullen said the building is structurally sound.

 

Mr. Spurr asked the condition of the water and sewer, does this need to be brought up to code. Mr. Todd said it is currently grandfathered so it is ok to use as long as it is functional.

 

It was noted the 1879 building would not be up to code, there is money built in the options to stabilize it which means a small electrical system, a dehumidifier, some foundation work and to clean up some mold. It will not be up to code for use.

 

Mr. Crawford asked if the Town has looked at the current market rate for rental and asked what SD Associates paid for rent now. Mr. Appel said quick numbers indicate this would be about $10 per square foot. Mr. Powsner said they pay different rates now because they are in different markets. He said the North Hartland site is a courtesy rent.

 

Mr. Wimberg said we are assuming the Town will use this facility but we already have two facilities for use, the Martin Memorial Hall and the Weathersfield School.

 

Mrs. Lisa Slade asked the Board to confirm that they couldn't put both options on the ballot at one time, the votes make a choice on other options being put before them they should be able to have both options on the ballot and choose which one they want. She also said it is pretty clear there are a lot of unknown future expenses if option 3 is chosen where as there will not be any future expenses if option 1 is chosen. She noted tens of thousands of dollars have already been spent on studies and architect fees and it is time to cut our losses, she encouraged voters to vote on option 1. Mr. Todd said there would be future expenses even if option 1 is chosen because we would retain the 1879 building.

 

Ms. Polly Bergeron said we took kids out just a couple years ago and now we are asking the taxpayers to vote on spending over $1,000,000 to put kids back in there.

 

Mr. Kelley asked if the construction costs we were looking at are for this type of specialized use or would the renovations be the same for any use. Mr. Appel said they are not overly specific to this type of lease. There could be professional offices or a collection of smaller businesses in there but it is not conducive to manufacturing.

 

Mr. Lamb said he still doesn't understand why we are focusing on SD Associates. Mr. Todd said during earlier meetings there was no way to pay for renovations but Mr. Powsner and his people came forward to express their interest in renting the facility and now there is someone willing to help pay for some of the expense. Mr. Boyer said the Town has been sitting on this building now we have a viable option to lease it and help with expenses.

 

Mr. Arrison said there are several school buildings in the area that have remained vacant. Mr. Horton said we should just sell it to SD Associates and keep the field. Mr. Todd said selling the property was taken off the table because we would loose control of the buildings and land.

 

Mr. Keith Graham spoke in favor of demolishing the building.

 

Mr. Cole asked for a show of hands from those in favor of option 1 to help the Select Board make their decision on Monday night, they need to know what the taxpayers want. Approximately 49 people in the audience raised their hand. When he asked for a show of hands for those that were in support of option 3 less than a dozen raised their hands before a few people in the audience voiced their opinion that is was not fair to do a vote by show of hands.

 

Mr. Boyer closed out the meeting by saying that something has to be done with the building and the Select Board will decide at their next meeting which, is Monday night what option to put on the November 6th ballot.

 

Meeting was over at 8:45 p.m.

 

                                                            Respectfully submitted,

 

                                                            Lisa Slade

 

Approved by the Weathersfield Select Board October 15, 2012

 

 

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 08:28
 

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