A special town meeting was held in Killingworth on Tuesday to consider and discuss, but not vote upon, for the cost of the proposed and to consider and vote upon a resolution to set the time to vote on the Killingworth Town Hall Addition Project referendum, scheduled for July 24, 2012, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The meeting was called to order shortly after 7 p.m. and a moderator was elected for the evening. The resolution to set the voting hours for the July 24 referendum was unanimously passed by those in attendance.
First Selectwoman Cathy Iino took the floor to stress to residents that the proposal "is a conceptual plan; it is, by no means, a final plan."
She reiterated that if the referendum passes, many of the ideas presented by the residents at meetings like Tuesday's would be taken into consideration in the final building of the project.
Following, was a nearly two-hour discussion between residents, elected officials and the volunteer Town Hall Building Committee. A representative from Webster Bank was also on hand to answer detailed questions about the financial process and the bottom line costs of financing the project.
The final cost to residents is dependent upon market rates, which are currently at "an all time historic low," but no definitive figure can be provided until the referendum is passed and the paperwork is processed for the bond notes, which could take around 3-4 months.
Currently, it is speculated that the interest rate would be "around 3%," which is considered a conservative estimate and may be even less. If the rate was 3%, the total estimated cost of financing the project could be about $4.7M ($3.5M plus interest). That figure is expected to raise the mil rate by about .28.
The referendum on July 24 is asking to appropriate the $3.5M, but that does not mean that the town will or has to spend the entire amount on the project. The town also has the option to utilize capital reserve towards the project, which would lower the amount borrowed. Currently, there is about $130K in the reserve fund.
One resident said "I don't feel like paying for another person's luxury. It's my money."
Another commented that "these are hard times and no one wants to pay more, but this is a coming together of just the right conditions. It is a beautiful town hall that we, as a community, can be proud of."
Other points of concern brought up in the meeting included the reasoning behind the choice of a timber-frame building and concerns over purchasing the supplies locally and in the U.S.A.
Regardless of everyone's opinions, residents thanked town officials and the volunteer building committee for their time and effort on the project.
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The proposed addition to the existing town hall would be an energy-efficient post-and-beam constructed building heated by geothermal energy and solar panels. It would nearly double the total square footage of the town hall, bringing it up to 14,441 square feet.
The design dates back to the New England tradition of plots that included a big house, a little house, a back house and a barn. In this case, the existing Town Hall would be the big house. The addition would be a barn-like structure with vaulted ceilings and additional space.
A referendum vote to approve the appropriation for the sum of $3.5M for the proposed Town Hall Addition will be held at the on July 24, 2012. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.