Fate of Building No. 2 in voters’ hands

  • The proposed destruction of Building No. 2 and a feasibility study for a safety complex that would house the fire department, police department and emergency management were some of the talking points of the New Ipswich Deliberative Session on Tuesday night. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    The proposed destruction of Building No. 2 and a feasibility study for a safety complex that would house the fire department, police department and emergency management were some of the talking points of the New Ipswich Deliberative Session on Tuesday night.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The proposed destruction of Building No. 2 and a feasibility study for a safety complex that would house the fire department, police department and emergency management were some of the talking points of the New Ipswich Deliberative Session on Tuesday night. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    The proposed destruction of Building No. 2 and a feasibility study for a safety complex that would house the fire department, police department and emergency management were some of the talking points of the New Ipswich Deliberative Session on Tuesday night.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The proposed destruction of Building No. 2 and a feasibility study for a safety complex that would house the fire department, police department and emergency management were some of the talking points of the New Ipswich Deliberative Session on Tuesday night. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    The proposed destruction of Building No. 2 and a feasibility study for a safety complex that would house the fire department, police department and emergency management were some of the talking points of the New Ipswich Deliberative Session on Tuesday night.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The proposed destruction of Building No. 2 and a feasibility study for a safety complex that would house the fire department, police department and emergency management were some of the talking points of the New Ipswich Deliberative Session on Tuesday night. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    The proposed destruction of Building No. 2 and a feasibility study for a safety complex that would house the fire department, police department and emergency management were some of the talking points of the New Ipswich Deliberative Session on Tuesday night.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The proposed destruction of Building No. 2 and a feasibility study for a safety complex that would house the fire department, police department and emergency management were some of the talking points of the New Ipswich Deliberative Session on Tuesday night. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    The proposed destruction of Building No. 2 and a feasibility study for a safety complex that would house the fire department, police department and emergency management were some of the talking points of the New Ipswich Deliberative Session on Tuesday night.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The proposed destruction of Building No. 2 and a feasibility study for a safety complex that would house the fire department, police department and emergency management were some of the talking points of the New Ipswich Deliberative Session on Tuesday night. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    The proposed destruction of Building No. 2 and a feasibility study for a safety complex that would house the fire department, police department and emergency management were some of the talking points of the New Ipswich Deliberative Session on Tuesday night.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The proposed destruction of Building No. 2 and a feasibility study for a safety complex that would house the fire department, police department and emergency management were some of the talking points of the New Ipswich Deliberative Session on Tuesday night. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • The proposed destruction of Building No. 2 and a feasibility study for a safety complex that would house the fire department, police department and emergency management were some of the talking points of the New Ipswich Deliberative Session on Tuesday night. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • The proposed destruction of Building No. 2 and a feasibility study for a safety complex that would house the fire department, police department and emergency management were some of the talking points of the New Ipswich Deliberative Session on Tuesday night. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • The proposed destruction of Building No. 2 and a feasibility study for a safety complex that would house the fire department, police department and emergency management were some of the talking points of the New Ipswich Deliberative Session on Tuesday night. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • The proposed destruction of Building No. 2 and a feasibility study for a safety complex that would house the fire department, police department and emergency management were some of the talking points of the New Ipswich Deliberative Session on Tuesday night. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • The proposed destruction of Building No. 2 and a feasibility study for a safety complex that would house the fire department, police department and emergency management were some of the talking points of the New Ipswich Deliberative Session on Tuesday night. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

NEW IPSWICH — An attempt to amend a warrant article that would fund the destruction of the town’s former police station down to $0 ultimately failed at the town deliberative session Tuesday, leaving the fate of the building in the hands of voters in March.

The total proposed operating budget for the town is $2,566,384. The default budget is $2,500,000.

Building No. 2, located behind the town offices, has been a bone of contention among townspeople since 2008 when it was discovered to be infested with mold. To date, the town has spent more than $100,000 on mold remediation and upgrades to the heating and cooling systems in the building, in the hopes that the building might once again be a viable municipal facility. Since the police force abandoned Building No. 2 in 2008, the department has been housed in a building across the street from the Town Hall. The town rents the office space for $1,500 per month. Today Building No. 2 remains in use only for storage.

But a petition article on the warrant this year protested even that, suggesting the building be torn down completely. The article requests $46,000 to raze the building and remove the debris. The $46,000 amount was reached as a result of a contractor’s drive-by assessment of the building, according to resident Carolyn Dick Mayes, who signed the petition and spoke in support of it at the deliberative session.

Some residents questioned whether $46,000 was enough to cover the cost. Resident Jason Somero said he wasn’t comfortable moving forward with the destruction of the building without a written estimate.

Resident Jay Hopkins told the Select Board that he had also made inquiries with a local contractor about the cost of demolishing the building, and was given an estimate of $50,000. Hopkins was also told that the $46,000 estimate was feasible. Hopkins said that if the article passed, he would be in support of using funds from the budget for general government building maintenance to complete the work if $46,000 wasn’t enough.

Somero moved to amend the article to reduce funding for the demolition of the building to $0, but the amendment was voted down by the assembly.

An article drafted by Select Board member Mike Conlin would fund a professional engineering feasibility study to identify the housing and space requirements of a combined municipal building that would house the Police Department, Emergency Management Department and Fire Department, including identifying possible locations and a drafting design. The article originally called for $50,000, but Conlin told the gathered residents that at the time of the budget hearing, the Select Board had not sought or received an estimate of the cost, which has since been done. Conlin moved to amend the amount of the article to $12,500, the cost of the study plus a contingency. The assembly approved the amendment.

Mary Fish, a former member of the Fire Department, spoke in favor of the article. “I would say whether it’s $12,500 or $50,000, it’s about time,” she said, pointing out that the current facilities for the Fire Department on Turnpike Road were intended to be temporary, and the space doesn’t fit the needs of the department. “Get them what they need to protect the town,” she said.

A separate warrant article also requests $25,000 to repave the parking lot at the fire station.

Two other articles request funds for the Highway Department for road paving and reconstruction. One requests the town raise and appropriate $250,000 and the other requests $350,000.

Resident Jonathan Sawyer asked why there were two separate articles. Marcus Rautiola replied that the Highway Department would need the full $600,000 to complete two to three roads in the coming year, which is their ultimate goal. However, if voters decide to vote no on the article, the department would not be able to do any road work at all. “I encourage everyone to vote [yes] on both,” Rautiola said. The articles would fund reconstruction on Temple and Wheeler roads, with the possibility of also funding reconstruction on North Road, according to Road Agent Peter Goewey.

The Highway Department is also requesting $40,000 in another warrant article to prepare engineering plans and wetland permits for culvert replacements on River and Poor Farm roads scheduled for next year.

The New Ipswich Town Pool will be in need of repairs in the coming year, Select Board Chair George Lawrence informed the crowd. The town is asking for $75,000 — $40,000 from capital reserve and $35,000 to be raised from taxation — to redo the interior finish of the pool, replace tile, repaint depth markers, an acid wash, installation of a scratch coat subsurface and a new 7.5 horsepower pump.

This will alleviate some immediate issues, said Lawrence, but the town expects that the town will need to make further investments in the pool in coming years.

Aside from the article concerning the destruction of Building No. 2, three other warrant articles were brought by petition this year. Cindy Lussier, the town clerk and tax collector, submitted an article requesting the town adopt a system to accept credit and debit cards at the town offices. The use of cards would be optional for residents, and would come with a 3 percent fee, said Lussier.

Two articles, both submitted by petition, could amend the town’s zoning ordinance. The first, brought by Troy Matson, proposed to do away with the town’s impact fees. The intent of the ordinance is to make housing more affordable, according to the petition. Matson spoke at the deliberative session on behalf of the petition, pointing out that several thousand dollars added to a beginning loan can add up to additional thousands in interest over the course of a long-term loan.

The other petition related to zoning, brought forward by N.H. State Representatives Jim Parison and Jim Coffey, both of New Ipswich, would do away with the requirement for a building permit for all out-building less than 120 square feet, portable fabric covered shelters under 50 feet, portable plastic greenhouses under 25 feet and tents, booths and temporary structures used at parades and assemblies.

Other warrants include a request for $35,000 to support the New Ipswich Library, $71,311 for licensed ambulance service and emergency services, and $6,300 for various regional health services that assist residents.

Ballot voting will take place March 12 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Mascenic Regional High School.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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