STM 2016-5, Article 2: Land Purchase - 171-173 Bedford Street

Article 2: Land Purchase - 171-173 Bedford Street
MOTION: That (a) the Selectmen be authorized to purchase, take by eminent domain or otherwise acquire for municipal or school purposes, any fee, easement, or other interest in all or any part of land known as 171-173 Bedford Street and shown as Lot 76 on Assessors’ Property Map 64, now or formerly owned by the Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, on such terms and conditions as the Selectmen may determine, and to conduct all necessary site surveys, environmental assessments and to incur legal and closing costs in connection therewith; that $4,443,000 be appropriated for such land acquisition and related costs, including, but not limited to, an architectural and engineering study of the site for use by the Fire Department, and that to raise such amount, the Treasurer, with the approval of the Board of Selectmen, is authorized to borrow $4,443,000 under M.G.L. Chapter 44, Section 7, as amended, or pursuant to any other enabling authority; and (b) that the Selectmen be authorized to lease a portion of said land to Liberty Mutual Insurance Company or an affiliated entity thereof, subject to terms acceptable to the Selectmen. Any premium received by the Town upon the sale of any bonds or notes approved by this vote, less the cost of preparing, issuing and marketing them, and any accrued interest received upon the delivery of such bonds or notes, may be applied to the payment of project costs approved by this vote, thereby reducing the amount authorized to be borrowed to pay such costs by a like amount.

MOTION is Moved by Suzie Barry, Selectmen Chair and gives a brief description and explanation. BoS is in unanimous support of the project.
Ms. Barry asks that the Town Manager be recognized.
Town Manager Carl Valente is recognized.
Town Members will hear three reports - followed by financing plan from Rob Addleson
Proposed uses of the parcel:
  • temporary swing space during renovations of fire HQ;
  • temporary swing space during renovations of police HQ;
  • new location of police HQ;
  • if not, future municipal/school uses
$4,443,000 total purchase price:
  • $4.3 million for property
  • $35,000 for Legal
  • $85,000 for Designer for Traffic Study (adjustments for temporary basis of fire)
  • $15,000 for land survey
  • $8,000 any environmental analysis that may be necessary
Financing Plan for the next five years may require a debt exclusion override for fire, police, Hastings Elementary School projects:
  • March 2016 Modeling: Mitigating the tax increase for average residential taxpayer
  • September 2016 Modeling: Increase for average residential taxpayer, with 173 Bedford Street and increase in Capital stability Fund, virtually unchanged.
Town Manager introduces Assistant Town Manager; Rob presents: 
Factors in Managing Debt and Taxpayer Impact:
  • Existing Debt Service is Decreasing
  • Prospective $23,000,000 in Capital Stabilization Fund
  • Low Interest Rate Environment
  • Manage Debt Service and Taxpayer Mitigation to Lessen Spikes in Property Tax Bills
Existing and Proposed Excluded Debt Service - All Projects

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Tax Bill for Home of Median Value ($786,000) - All Projects

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TMod recognizes Chief Wilson, Fire.
Chief Wilson presents slides on challenges of present condition of current fire station, built in 1947. Time to replace.

For the recomendation of CEC: Chair Hai - CEC supports 4-1
AC Chair Parker: AC supports 8-0
School Committee Chair Hurley: SC supports 5-0

Town Mod opens for Questions from Town Meeting Members (TMM)

TMM McKenna, Pct 6: Q for Mr. Addelson. $21Million available for mitigation - what percent of that for mitigation?
Addelson: $23Million; 100%
McKenna: Other projects, anticipated part of this proposal; any funding for the Visitor Center project; if so how much?
Addelson: No, Visitor Center is not included.

TMM LaPointe, Pct 2: Financial Q. Pelham Project $8M still being carried. Can we get an update?
Valente: We are still negotiating. Still w/in the $8M appropriation last spring

TMM Adler, Pct 1: I see a critical need for the fire station project; price is reasonable. However, I was surprised at the assessment process is accepted by the DoR. $1.9M means we're paying 2.6x the assessed value. DoR process for commercial projects not producing realistic results

TMM Afshartous, Pct 2: Is there enough parking space for the space where we're building for next 10-20 years?
Pat Goddard, Director of Public Facilities: If the site is constrained, do we have enough space to build a modern station. We have a study that looked at this. We're looking at a two-story building. The study is not the design. We'll be working with the Fire dept to optimize the site

TMM Williams, Pct 5: What impact with the vote of the Minuteman School on the tax.
Valente: MM school will be part of our Town's assessment to MM - peaks at about 3 years, we can accommodate within our annual budget

TMM Kluchman: When both CE and increases in tax, it will be useful to express in $100,000 increments.

TMM Heinrich, Pct3:  Pelham School - if correct, there is no funding for renovations if we buy that school?
Valente: that is correct

TMM Michelson, Pct 5: Fire project - any guess or estimate for temporary renovations
Valente: Nothing until we go forward with an engineer. In our Modeling, we're carrying a million dollars.
TMM: will we need a garage on that property?
Valente: we will probably have temporary structures, more sophisticated than a tent...with heat.

Town Mod: Article 2 - requires a 2/3 vote to pass:
Yes - 134
No - 3
abstain - 4

The MOTION carries