Westport municipal center going back to voters

WESTPORT-Three organizations hope that better information will lead to better results when it comes to a vote on a new home.

The town of Westport, Westport Volunteer Fire Department and Westport Central School District will again submit a proposal for a new municipal center to the voters on Tuesday, July 19.

"This will be decided by the voters," town supervisor Daniel Connell said. "We went back and started out from page one and we are presented what we feel is the most cost-effective option to the voters."

Connell said that after the original vote in June 15, 2010, came out against a new building that would house services for all three entities, the committee went back to square one to find alternatives.

"We looked at the engineering report, talked to people in Vermont about different materials for the structure, looked at building separate buildings instead of one and reviewed the finances again," Connell said. "We went from start to finish, and in the long term, the single structure is the most feasible option economically."

Connell said that the creation of a new building would also be more cost effective then repairing the current town hall.

"We looked at a comparison with the renovations that are needed at the town offices, and it will be in the ballpark of about $200,000 cheaper to build a new structure."

Connell said that the current town hall needs major renovations, starting with the foundation.

"The building is falling off its foundation in the back," he said. "The whole structure has shifted, and this would be major rehab to get the building where it needs to be."

Connell said that the building committee, which is made up of representatives from each organization, was scheduled to meet May 19 to chart a course of action.

"We want to make sure that we get everything out there to the voters," Connell said.

The joint municipal center which would house the Westport town offices, Westport Department of Public Works, a maintenance and fueling facility for use by all municipalities, including Westport Central School, and the Westport Volunteer Fire Department.

Almost a year ago, a similar proposition was defeated by just seven votes.

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