A special town meeting was held at the Killingworth Fire Department with the Town Office Building Committee to answer questions regarding the proposed addition to the Killingworth Town Hall. The meeting openened with members of the committee providing an .
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.
In terms of design, it 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.
After the quick overview, the floor was then turned over to the residents who raised their concerns on the project. Issues discussed included:
- the concern of residents being able to
- the cost of the proposed geo-thermal heating system
- trying to centralize local government in one location versus utilizing other vacant buldings in town
- the various costs involved in converting vacant buildings to town office space
- a request for the Town Office Building Committee to be more transparent and make public the line item project costs
- the true cost of the project
- a need for other plans besides just the one presented
- an explanation of the need for adequate space in case of natural disasters or emergencies
- why a lower cost option might end up costing more in the long run
- how the town is not fully compliant with state polling laws and how the new addition would help the town become compliant
Committee member Jim Lally was "disappointed in the hostility" and "had hoped for more constructive criticism instead." Lally said the committee was "working for the good of the town" and he encouraged people to "be part of the solution."
Donald McDougal, Director of Emergency Management, said "we need to do something now or in the future...what we don't vote for today, down the road will cost more."
First Selectwoman, Cathy Iino, feels that the Emergency Operations Center space at the town hall is "crucial" for residents and "we need to think about the inadequate space we have" if there is a major emergency.
Resident Peggie Bushey feels that the bottom line is that "the town can't afford it" and she is "pleading to keep taxes down."
Committee member George Keithan said the committee is working hard and "wants this town to have the right solution."
(See videos for additional quotes from the meeting.)
Regardless of whether residents were for or against the proposed addition to the Killingworth Town Hall, most commended the volunteer Town Office Building Committee for their hard work and dedication over the last several years.
Four of the current five-member volunteer committee were on hand to answer questions at the meeting: Lou Anino Sr., Jim Lally, David Gross and George Keithan. The committe has changed over the last several years and is currently looking for any additional volunteers who may want to participate.
Two additional public meetings are scheduled in advance of the July 24 public referendum vote on the addition. This Thursday, and next Tuesday the 17, a meeting will be held at the elementary school at 7 p.m.