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Westport supervisor sees new vote for municipal center coming

WESTPORT - The effort to bring a joint services municipal center to the town of Westport is still on the table and may come to a second vote by this summer.

"We're on hold right now," town supervisor Daniel Connell said. "We're waiting for some information to come back from Vermont about what materials we want to use in the construction of the building."

The issue of the construction of a joint municipal center which would house the Westport town offices, Westport Department of Public Works, the bus maintenance and fueling facility for use by all municipalities, including Westport Central School, and the Westport Volunteer Fire Department, was defeated in a close vote on June 15, 2010, failing by just seven votes.

Connell said once the town gets more information and decides to officially re-address the construction of the facility, the taxpayers would again have a say at the ballots.

"This is a project that if we fund it a certain way, it would not have to go to vote," Connell said. "But it will go to vote. We know it would really upset people if it did not come to a vote, and we want to know what they want."

Connell said that along with looking at different ways to build the facility, including weighing the pros and cons of a metal structure versus block, he hopes to help taxpayers understand the need for the facility from a cost-savings point of view.

"I don't think it was really pointed out just how much of a savings this would be to the taxpayers in the long run," Connell said. "Everyone on this committee is concerned because you have the town hall and the fire department that are in such poor condition that would both need to be renovated or replaced by taxpayer dollars. I believe that the majority of the committee still strongly feels that there is a substantial cost savings in building this."

Connell said once the board gets the results of their inquiries back, works through AES Engineering and makes a final decision along with the other municipal entities, a vote would take place anywhere between 60-75 days after the board accepts an official resolution to move forward, which should set the vote up for this summer.

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