UPDATE: Dennis says ‘yes’ to annex expansion
Voters approve ballot question by 2:1 margin
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Despite a disappointing voter turnout, the long-awaited approval of Dennis’ plan to expand the Route 134 Town Hall Annex has arrived, with 9.4 percent or 1,104 of the town’s 11,743 registered voters deciding by a 2:1 margin to fund the $4.1 million, 8,916-square-foot addition.
When the votes were counted, 741 residents had agreed to a $3.1 million Proposition 2 ½ debt exclusion while 363 opposed the project, which includes spending $500,00 from free cash and $500,000 from the capital improvement fund.
This confirms a 149-29 vote supporting the proposal at the Nov. 19 special Town Meeting. The $3.1 million, borrowed for no more than 20 years, will cost the owner of a home assessed at $400,000 an additional $21 in taxes in the loan’s peak year and a total $267.21 over the life of the loan.
The length of the loan will be shortened using proceeds from the sale of the Dennisport annex, which has an assessed value of $500,000. Voters unanimously approved this sale under Article 16 on the Nov. 19 warrant.
Asked what happens next, Dennis Building Committee Chairman Gary Barber said that the committee will solidify the layout of the three floors and seek selectmen’s approval. The project will then go to architect Brian Humes of Jacunski Humes Architects LLC and go out to bid in late April. “We hope to award the bid in late spring or early summer and to see occupancy by the fall of 2015,” Barber said. “I am very pleased that five years’ worth of work is finally paying off.”
This construction will place all town departments except police, fire, council on aging and public works under one roof in South Dennis.
Selectman Alan Tuttle is happy about the vote and the way it was attained. “Working together with the building committee, the board of selectmen and finance committee were able to present to all voters a proposal that places all employees at a central location,” he said. “The building committee is to be commended for their outstanding work over the past few years.”
While Selectwoman Heidi Schadt said she was disappointed by the low voter turnout, she is “very excited” that the town can now proceed with this project. Selectman Wayne Bergeron added, “Dennis will now have a town hall that is responsive to the needs of all its citizens and a safe and healthy workplace for its employees. Special thanks for our dedicated building committee who never quit, and the voters who endured inclement weather to make this a reality.”
Selectmen recently postponed a decision on the future of the Main Street, South Dennis, Town Hall property and the building that has served as town offices since 1949. Public input will be sought before the future of that property is determined.
Nicole Muller can be reached at email@example.com.
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