Damariscotta voters will decide in November whether to borrow more than $500,000 for a construction project in the Elm Street neighborhood, the construction of public restrooms in the municipal parking lot, a new tractor, and the replacement of a large culvert on Egypt Road.
A special town meeting is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 5:30 p.m. before the board of selectmen’s meeting.
The Damariscotta Board of Selectmen approved a request for proposals for the two bonds during its meeting Wednesday, Oct. 5.
The selectmen originally discussed taking out the bonds during their annual goal-setting workshop in August. The town will pay off a loan this month that has an annual payment of $116,019.03.
A $413,500 bond will be used to finance the costs of a public infrastructure project in the Elm Street area, including drainage improvements and a new sidewalk.
The loan would allow the town to make improvements to Elm Street as originally outlined in the town’s unsuccessful application for a Community Block Development Grant, including rebuilding and widening the sidewalks on Elm and Theater streets and improving surface and subsurface drainage.
During a meeting in February, voters approved the allocation of $65,540 from the town’s surplus account to be used as the local match for the grant. The Richard Else sidewalk fund would have provided an additional $30,000, and the Great Salt Bay Sanitary District would have provided $53,000.
If the project had been approved, the combined $148,840 local match would have been used with $524,680 in Community Development Block Grant funds for a total project budget of $673,520.
The Maine Office of Community Development passed over the Elm Street project in both 2015 and 2016.
In April, the Damariscotta Public Works Committee and the Great Salt Bay Sanitary District began to explore the available options for the improvement of Elm Street waterlines, drainage, and sidewalks using the funds set aside to match the grant. The scaled-back project extended from the Elm Street Plaza parking lot to Lewis Point Road and would have included the widening and raising of the sidewalk.
The funds would have allowed the town to rebuild the sidewalk from Elm Street Plaza to Lewis Point Road, but there were no funds available to address the deteriorated sections of sidewalk on Theater Street and the section of Elm Street between Main Street and Theater Street.
In addition, the scaled-back project would only include improvements to some of the subsurface drainage and the extent of the drainage work would have depended on contractors’ bids, Damariscotta Town Manager Matt Lutkus said.
Approximately $350,000 of bond would be used for the Elm Street project. Along with the $148,840 set aside for the local match of the grant, the funds should allow the town to complete the project as originally intended, according to Lutkus.
The $413,500 bond will also be used to purchase a multi-use tractor for the Damariscotta Public Works Department for $60,000. The new tractor would be more powerful and versatile than the town’s current tractor, which would be traded in or sold, Road Commissioner Hugh Priebe said.
Of a separate $120,000 bond, $60,000 will be used in the future as a local match for the reconstruction of the Egypt Road culvert, which has been an ongoing maintenance concern.
Approximately $60,000 of the bond will be used toward the construction of public restrooms in the municipal parking lot in downtown Damariscotta. A town survey in 2015 showed 81.5 percent of 248 respondents were in favor of building public restrooms.
During a previous executive session, the selectmen discussed the location of where on town property the restrooms would be built and whether the town would need to purchase additional property, Lutkus said.
The board indicated it would like to have the restrooms built on property the town already owns, Lutkus said.
The restrooms would be on town-owned property in the small parking area adjacent to Taco Alley and would take up three or four parking spaces, Lutkus said.
In addition to the funds from the bond, the town has set aside $11,000 in capital reserves for the construction of the restrooms. Additional funds from grants and donations would be needed to complete the project.
The total estimated cost for two restrooms with two stalls each is about $150,000, Lutkus said.
The $120,000 bond will be split into the restroom and Egypt Road culvert reserve accounts to be used when grant opportunities become available, Lutkus said.
The bonds also have $3,500 in bond counsel fees for the legal work required for the preparation and processing of the bonds.
With 2 percent interest on the bonds, the town is expected to have an $112,213 annual payment until 2021 if voters approve the bonds.
The selectmen waived the bidding requirements and sent the request for proposals to five local banks, Lutkus said. Sealed proposals must be submitted to the town by Thursday, Oct. 27 at 2 p.m.
Members of the Damariscotta Financial Advisory Committee, which oversees town investments, will also review the bond proposals, Lutkus said.
The Damariscotta Budget Committee approved the bond issue during a meeting Tuesday, Oct. 4.