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Board approves police-fire projects’ bonds

BRATTLEBORO—The Selectboard approved two more steps for the Police-Fire facilities project on May 17.

The board endorsed site plans for the West Brattleboro Fire Station. The board also gave a nod to moving forward with energy-efficiency plans provided by Efficiency Vermont.

Members of the Police-Fire Facilities Building Committee hashed out the overall designs for the West B station along with the professional design team, Town Manager Peter Elwell said.

The committee sought the board’s endorsement before the Development Review Board reconsiders the designs in June. According to town staff, the project needs a new permit because its original permit expired after the project’s many delays.

Elwell told the board that most of Efficiency Vermont’s suggestions for the new station were already included in the designs. Other suggestions can be bid out separately, he added.

Elwell and Finance Director John O’Conner recommended obtaining the additional $7.8 million in financing through the Vermont Bond Bank.

The board approved this recommendation.

Town staff investigated using loans from local lenders in hopes of lower interest rates.

Elwell explained that one local bank showed interest in the project. The terms, however, weren’t as favorable as the bond bank’s.

“Through those communications, we learned that the only way for the Town to achieve overall cost savings through a bank loan would be to pay substantially higher payments of principal and interest at the beginning of the payback period,” Elwell wrote.

“This alternative would cause us to exceed our FY17 debt service budget by $427,400 and our FY18 property tax rate increase would be higher than previously estimated to Representative Town Meeting and the public,” he concluded.

The overall savings were low, he wrote.

According to Elwell, work on the West Brattleboro Station 2 begins in August.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #358 (Wednesday, May 25, 2016). This story appeared on page D3.

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