North Yarmouth to forge master plan for town buildings

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NORTH YARMOUTH — Given a range of short- and long-term needs, the town is developing a master facilities plan that will include capital cost assessments.

The Select Board on Nov. 7 unanimously authorized Town Manager Rosemary Roy to move ahead with the report, she said in an interview. The document could be complete in December or January, and projects included in the plan could be included in budgets starting in fiscal 2019 and be subject to Town Meeting approval.

Town assets in the comprehensive financial plan will include the Town Office and neighboring Sharp House, the Fire-Rescue station, the Public Works Department and its sand and salt shed, and the former North Yarmouth Memorial School. A reconstructed Wescustogo Hall would also be part of the plan.

The effort was inspired by the town’s recent capital assessment on the Town Office. Problems at the 10 Village Square building, a 1993 structure which the town has inhabited since 2001, include a lack of compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act standards, which requires the installation of an elevator; air-quality and mold concerns due to air and water leaks in the building; and flooding in the basement, where public meetings are held.

The assessment got town staff to thinking whether improvements to facilities should be done a chunk at a time, or over the course of time as guided by a multi-year master plan, Roy said.

“There’s no plan for (these buildings),” she explained, pondering what shape structures like the Fire-Rescue station and Sharp House would be in 10-12 years from now. “That’s why we’re here at this point. … We’re Band-Aiding.”

Instead of just assessing the Town Office, “it does make sense to incorporate all of the buildings,” Roy added. “Now’s the time to do it. Now’s the time to really figure out where we are with these buildings.”

Although the town is exploring making a pared-down and renovated NYMS part of a community center with a rebuilt adjoining Wescustogo Hall on Route 9, since no construction project has been approved, that asset is to be included in the plan for assessment as well, Roy said.

“This plan is going to have the financial basis (for such projects),” she noted, adding that it will dictate “what we need to do immediately … in the next one to five years, 10, 15, 20. The same way we plan for the purchase of our vehicles.”

Funds toward facility improvements and ongoing preventative maintenance would come from North Yarmouth’s relatively new municipal facilities reserve, which currently has about $73,000, Roy said. Money would be added to that account each year to pay for the work.

That account will be built upon, as the town has with its capital reserve account, which funds vehicle purchases, she said.

“Hopefully it will be budgeted out so that the input is medium, not huge,” Roy explained.

The assessment of the Town Office, which cost about $2,300 and came from the municipal facilities reserve, estimated that improvements over the next two to five years there – including immediate needs like ADA accessibility and air quality enhancements – could range between $264,000 and $287,000. Keeping the building in shape over the next 20 years could cost between $341,000 and $370,000, Roy said.

Given the level of necessity, air quality improvements may be funded through fiscal 2018 municipal facilities reserve monies, she noted.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

An assessment of the North Yarmouth Town Office has led the town to develop such a master plan for all of its facilities.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.