If the price is right, Hampton will have its new town hall.
The town board approved a resolution during last Wednesday’s monthly meeting to seek bids for the construction of a new town hall, and if the cost of the project adheres to the town’s budget, work could begin as early as this fall.
The town has been setting aside money, primarily from sales tax revenue, for the past seven years, to repair the current building or construct a new one.
Officials decided earlier this year to construct a new building opposed to repairing the current town hall, and has about $73,500 in the fund.
“We’ll determine if we have enough money after the bidding process,” said Dave O’Brien, town supervisor. “The board has had made a commitment not to raise taxes or borrow money.”
If costs exceed what has been set aside in the building fund, construction of a new building will be put off until it is affordable.
“We’ll wait if we have to,” O’Brien said.
The current town hall is beginning to show its age and has a number of deficiencies, including a foundation in need of significant repair. It also lacks adequate storage space, handicap facilities and the heating/cooling system is inefficient.
The town recently paid $1,400 for a set of architectural drawings and an engineers’ stamp of the building it would like to construct and those plans address many of the problems with the current building.
The new building would be a one-story structure with basement, and would be 28 feet wide and 52 long. It would contain space for three to four offices and feature a 27-by-28 foot meeting room.
That space isn’t significantly larger than the current meeting space (roughly 22 foot by 20 foot), but a full basement would provide room for storage, eliminating the need for multiple shelves and filing cabinets that take up a large amount of space in the current building.
The new building would also feature a 20-foot long handicap accessible ramp and public restroom and would be located in essentially the same spot as the current building.
“We had considered other locations, but settled on right here,” O’Brien said. “We have the room and we already have the water. It’s a great space.”
The bidding process will consist of five phases: preparation of the site and the laying of a foundation; building materials, which could vary depending on whether the town decides to go with a slate or shingled roof; rough framing of the exterior of the structure; heating and plumbing; and wiring for electricity.
It’s possible that some of the labor would be completed by local residents. “We have a cadre of people who want to help,” O’Brien said.
He said officials have spoke with the state comptroller’s office and it does not have a problem with people donating their labor to construct the town hall as long as it isn’t done explicitly to avoid paying prevailing wage.
O’Brien has also spoken with the Washington County office of alternative sentencing and the town may be able to get help with finish work and cleanup from people enrolled in that program.
Officials are expected to open bids in May and at that point, will be able to determine if they can afford to construct the building.
If it’s deemed affordable, a public hearing would be held in June followed by a waiting period for a permissive referendum.
Based on that schedule, officials said construction could begin sometime after Sept. 1.
In other matters, the town recently mailed its first newsletter to local residents.
Officials hope to use the newsletter to keep local residents apprised of events, changes to town policies and laws, and general information that affects the people of Hampton.
Anyone who would like to receive the newsletter is encouraged to send an email to HamptonSupervisor@railroader.com or contact the town offices at 518-282-9830.
The board decided to hold off on a public hearing regarding property tax exemptions for persons with disabilities and limited income, and senior citizen exemption maximum income levels.
The town is considering a local law to increase levels to adjust for changes in income levels. Levels have not been adjusted since 2008.
The town will revisit the subject in the coming months.
The next meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 16.