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Antrim will go ahead with police station

  • Hundreds of residents attended Antrim's Town Meeting on Thursday night at the town gymnasium.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Hundreds of residents attended Antrim's Town Meeting on Thursday night at the town gymnasium.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Hundreds of residents attended Antrim's Town Meeting on Thursday night at the town gymnasium.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Bob Flanders speaks in support of Article 3 for the new police station.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Hundreds of residents attended Antrim's Town Meeting on Thursday night at the town gymnasium.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Hundreds of residents attended Antrim's Town Meeting on Thursday night at the town gymnasium.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Hundreds of residents attended Antrim's Town Meeting on Thursday night at the town gymnasium.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Hundreds of residents attended Antrim's Town Meeting on Thursday night at the town gymnasium.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Hundreds of residents attended Antrim's Town Meeting on Thursday night at the town gymnasium.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Hundreds of residents attended Antrim's Town Meeting on Thursday night at the town gymnasium.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Hundreds of residents attended Antrim's Town Meeting on Thursday night at the town gymnasium.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Hundreds of residents attended Antrim's Town Meeting on Thursday night at the town gymnasium.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Antrim voters applaud Select Board member Eric Tenney, who is stepping down this year, for his many years of service.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Hundreds of residents attended Antrim's Town Meeting on Thursday night at the town gymnasium.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Eric Tenney, middle, is congratulated by co-Select Board member Mike Genest at the culmination of Antrim's Town Meeting on March 14 at the Antrim Town Gym.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Eric Tenney, standing, addresses the crowd at Antrim's Town Meeting on March 14. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Eric Tenney, standing, shows off the annual Town Report to the Town Meeting audience on March 14. The cover depicts the reconstructed Civil War statue in front of the Baptist Church that Tenney prioritized as a member of the Select Board.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Eric Tenney, standing, holds up a copy of the annual Town Report that depicts the reconstructed Civil War statue he prioritized as a Selectman.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Hundreds of residents attended Antrim's Town Meeting on Thursday night at the town gymnasium.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

ANTRIM — Construction will begin as soon as June on a new police station on Main Street after voters approved the move Thursday night at Town Meeting.

Article 3 on the town warrant asked for an appropriation of $1.675 million to cover the construction costs of the new police station, which will be built on the land in front of the post office on Main Street. The measure passed 173-40 by secret ballot. The land was purchased in the summer of 2012 after receiving approval for the go-ahead at last year’s Town Meeting.

Construction plans began the day after the meeting at Bread Loaf Corporation — the company handling the design plans and project construction. Bread Loaf is a company based in Middlebury, Vt. The new station is projected to be completed by January.

The town has already spent $119,000 on the project, including the purchase of the land. Antrim had originally contracted Keene-based Baybutt Construction to head the project, but the contract was terminated after town officials learned of the company’s financial issues. The town had already paid Baybutt $36,000 for its services, and has paid Bread Loaf $6,000 for its part so far.

According to Town Administrator Galen Stearns, the approval of Article 3 will not raise the town’s taxes, in large part because of a surplus from the town’s undesignated fund, and two bonds being retired in 2014.

Antrim residents voiced a majority of support on Thursday night in favor of the project.

“Delaying a project that will have to be built eventually will only mean costs will increase due to inflation,” Steve Ullman said on Thursday night at the Antrim Town Gym.

Ullman spoke in regards to residents opposed to building a new police station, who say the number of 2012 police incidents does not warrant a new building. Ullman said that much of what the police department does doesn’t show up in arrest statistics.

Former Antrim Police Chief Brian Brown shared his support for building a new station as well on Thursday.

“We’re not just giving the police a new station, we’re giving ourselves a new police department, too,” Brown said.

After results were read from the secret ballot at the end of the meeting, Antrim Police Chief Scott Lester addressed the remaining town residents, thanking them for their support.

“Like Chief Brown said, this is your station as much as it is ours,” Lester said. “We’re very pleased, and we greatly appreciate the strong support of the community and the town. We’re looking forward to getting started.”

The article needed a two-thirds majority to pass.

All other articles on the town warrant passed without much discussion on Thursday night, including the town’s operating budget of $3,809,780.

Article 6 asked for the sum of $120,000 to be added to the Capital Reserve Fund in three different sections: $60,000 for highway, $35,000 for town buildings, and $25,000 to the fire department. There were no questions or discussions, and the article passed unanimously.

Select Board Chair Eric Tenney led discussion on Article 9, which called for the appropriation of $10,000 for professional engineering services to evaluate a valve on the Gregg Lake Dam. Tenney said that the valve is responsible for water level control, and is not operating properly.

Tenney said that the project could cost as little as $500, but it depends on what the engineering service determines the problem to be.

There was some discussion on Article 12, which authorized the Select Board to negotiate an agreement with Maplewood Cemetery Trustees to use an area of their land for recreational purposes. Some residents expressed concern about using a designated cemetery site as a recreational field. It was clarified that no one is buried in that section, and is capable of sustaining recreational activity.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Tenney, who for the first time in years did not resubmit his name for Select Board, asked for two rounds of applause — one for the recently reconstructed statue outside of the Baptist Church, and one for the town’s vote on School Board Article 8, which kept Great Brook School open.

A standing ovation followed for Tenney. Gordon Webber was sworn in as a Select Board member after the meeting.

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