The Hampton Town Board has established a committee to review bids for a new town hall and will decide how to proceed by the end of the month.
The committee has been charged with comparing the bids, determining if they meet the requirements put forth by the town based on preliminary drawings of a new town hall, and evaluate whether it’s financially feasible to proceed with construction of a new building.
The five-person committee was scheduled to meet earlier this week and the town will host a special meeting at 8 p.m. on Friday, June 1, where they will reveal their findings and invite the public to speak.
The committee will consist of Supervisor Dave O’Brien, Councilman Dave Jensen, former supervisor Don Sady, and local residents Leonard Reed and Dave Bridges, the latter of whom said he has experience with municipal project reviews.
Last month, the town board approved a resolution to seek bids for construction of a new hall.
The bidding process consisted of five phases: preparation of the site and the laying of a foundation; building materials; rough framing of the exterior of the structure; heating and plumbing; and wiring for electricity.
At last week’s meeting the board opened those bids. It received five bids for site preparation and foundation, three for materials, four for rough framing, two for heating and plumbing, and one for electricity.
The board declined to comment on the bids, choosing instead to wait until they have been reviewed.
The board reserved the right to deny any and all bids if they don’t conform to the needs of the town and it didn’t rule out a second bidding process if it was determined adjustments to the bids or the current plans were warranted.
“We have to make the sure bids are complete so we are comparing apples to apples,” O’Brien said.
If the bids are complete, the question becomes whether they are affordable.
The town has been setting aside money for the past seven years, primarily from sales tax revenue, 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.
O’Brien reiterated at last Wednesday’s meeting that the town will raise money or dip into other funds to pay for a new building.
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.
Based on the lowest bids opened in each of the five phases at last week’s meeting, the total cost to construct the building would be $73,718, slightly over the town’s budget, but probably within reach.
However, those costs could change. Several of the bids included construction options that would push the price upward, and two of the three bidders for materials couldn’t commit to the price remaining the same due to market fluctuations that may occur between now and the time construction would begin.
O’Brien said the earliest that would happen is August or September.
“It would likely be August before anything can happen,” he said.
After the bids are reviewed, and if they are determined to be sufficient, the town will determine how to proceed on June 1. At that point, a public hearing would be held, followed by a permissive referendum.
In other matters, the town board scheduled a public hearing for 7:25 p.m. on Wednesday, June 20, regarding a local law to increase property tax exemptions for persons with disabilities, limited income, and senior citizens.
The levels have not been changed since 2008 and the town would like to make them comparable with county levels.