H ampton will have its new town hall.
The town board unanimously approved a motion last Wednesday to construct a new town hall.
The project is subject to a 30-day permissive referendum, but no residents spoke out against the decision during a public hearing held on the matter last week and it’s doubtful it will be challenged.
The referendum will prevent the town from making any firm commitments during that time, but Supervisor Dave O’Brien said they can move ahead with developing and finalizing plans.
He said construction is expected to begin later this summer.
“Our target is to begin in mid-August. It will depend on our ability to line up the materials and contractors. That would the biggest hold up,” O’Brien said.
Last month the town council opened bids it received for construction of a new town building based a set of drawings that were made earlier this spring.
A committee consisting of two town officials and three local residents was then established to review those bids in conjunction with the plans, to ensure they met the requirements to construct the building and make its recommendations to the town council.
The town council then met to review those recommendations and made an initial review of its finances.
O’Brien said the total budget to build a new town hall is estimated to be $89,000, which includes a 10 percent cushion for unexpected expenses that may arise during construction.
He said the town has approximately $75,000 from sales tax receipts from Washington County it has collected over the last seven years that were set aside specifically to address the town hall.
The remainder of the $89,000 will be covered using this year’s sale tax receipts.
“That will cover the balance and it wasn’t earmarked for anything else,” said O’Brien. “We will not raise any taxes.”
The town has been exploring how to address the town hall for several years and the issue has been the board’s main focus for the past few months.
The current town hall is beginning to show its age and has a number of problems that needed to be addressed. The foundation is in need of significant repair, the building lacks adequate storage space, handicap facilities and climate control is inefficient.
Instead of repairing that building, the town decided earlier this year to construct a new building — if the price was right.
The town paid $1,400 for a set of architectural drawings and an engineers’ stamp of approval of the building it hoped to construct and made the decision to erect the building where the current town hall sits.
O’Brien said a few slight modifications were made to those plans at the recommendation of the review committee, but the building will for the most part adhere to those plans.
The new building will be a one-story structure with basement, 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
by 20 feet), but the full basement would provide new room for storage. The building will also feature a handicap accessible ramp and a public restroom.
Moving forward, officials will be accepting bids for to purchase the slate roof, wainscoting, and the removal of the existing town hall.
In other matters, the town board passed a local law to increase property tax exemptions for persons with disabilities, on limited income and senior citizens.
The law would give senior citizens whose annual income is $22,000 or less a 50 percent exemption on taxable assessed value of their home. The exemption decreases the more a person makes. Anyone making more than $30,040 would receive no exemption.
The exemptions for people disabilities are at the same income levels as those for senior citizens.