Royalton Officials Seek Voter Assent for New Town Offices

South Royalton — Town officials are hoping that voters will approve a plan that allows them to move their offices from the basement of the library to a new “bare bones” building on the old Crawford Auto Land property.

Voters will decide the question by Australian ballot on Tuesday during voting from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

“We’ve got to get out of the library. They need the space, and I think people don’t really understand that this is not going to cost taxpayers anything,” Finance Manager Rose Hemond said last week.

Library officials want to expand into the basement area, have a ground floor entry and make the facility compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, she said.

Town offices are currently spread out in two other locations in addition to the library basement: a small log cabin and rented space on North Windsor Street.

Although the new 5,000-square-foot building is estimated to cost $600,000 and will be financed with a bond, the project won’t raise taxes. The town already owns the Crawford property, which has undergone an environmental cleanup, and the cost of repaying the bond will be offset by savings from the use of a gravel pit at the rear of the property. The highway department is buying its gravel from another site.

Town officials believe they can finance the building with a 10-year bond at 2.492 percent, which would have payments of approximately $66,000 per year.

The proposed highway budget contains $72,000 for gravel, and although that cost would be eliminated with the Crawford gravel pit, town officials would bill the highway department for the materials to cover the cost of the building, officials said during a special meeting held last week.

In addition to the $6,000 in annual sand and gravel savings, the town would save $10,000 in rent that is being paid for the police department offices.

The proposed town and highway budgets are only slightly higher for the coming fiscal and require no tax increases.

There are no frills in the proposed building, officials said, and it will be designed to allow expansion to accommodate space for the rescue squad, the town garage and the fire department.

“The building is really bare bones,” Hemond said.