Several Urgent Projects Will Be Looking For Funding

Projects considered to be “urgent” will likely go before voters in March under the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).
A public hearing was held at the Wednesday, Oct. 9 Planning Board meeting on the 2015 to 2020 CIP. Geographic Information Systems Manager and Comprehensive Planner Jon Vogl explained that the CIP covered projects valued at greater than $100,000 and with a lifespan longer than five years.

Chairman Arthur Rugg noted that at a Sept. 4 workshop, Vogl pointed out that CIP projects fall into one of four categories: Priority 1 – Urgent, meaning they cannot be delayed and are needed immediately for health and safety; Priority 2 – Necessary, needed within three years to maintain a basic level and quality of community services; Priority 3 – Desirable, needed within four to six years to improve quality or level of services; and Priority 4 – Deferrable, can be placed on hold until after the six year scope of the current CIP but support community development goals.
The CIP is an advisory document for town boards, Vogl said. The projects were collected in June, submitted to the town in July, and ranked in workshops in August.
Vogl told the board the only change to the CIP since the September meeting are new numbers for the proposed School Administrative Unit (SAU) facility. The projects and ranking now go to the Town Council.
School District Business Administrator Peter Curro gave an overview on the school district requests.
“This is a second stab at the bond that was a warrant article for the school district last year, what we call the renovations article,” Curro said. “What this is intended to do is to fund paving, roofing and some grounds facilities projects. All have been postponed for several years.”
Curro said the two big projects involve finishing parking lot paving at Matthew Thornton Elementary School and Londonderry Middle School. He noted that a couple of years ago the district completed an extensive drainage project at Matthew Thornton, and the request would conclude that project by paving and shaping the lot to fit the drainage.
“The other big paving area would be the Middle School parking lot,” he said. “That is not in as much disrepair as Matthew Thornton, but those of you who ever watched Janusz (Director of Public Works and Engineering Janusz Czyzowski) and his presentation of roads and roadway maintenance know that when you get a project that’s in the area of shim and overlay, the per-square-foot cost is much cheaper than a total reconstruction, which is where we’re at now. If we don’t catch this within a year or two, we’ll be under total reconstruction of the Middle School parking lot, similar to what we have at Matthew Thornton.”
Pertaining to the new SAU building, Curro said it is needed for all the same reasons that the town had to build a new town hall several years ago.
“It’s outdated, it was built, I believe, in the late ‘70s, it doesn’t fit our needs, the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system doesn’t fit the configuration of the building, there’s been two or three add-ons,” he said. “We don’t even bother looking at or recording CO2 levels in the winter months, it’s off the charts.”
Curro said that any significant money put into the building would be “a total waste.”
Curro said the $3.18 million figure in the memo was the updated figure from the architect and will be the one used.
Board member Laura El-Azem asked why the building could not be gutted and rebuilt, rather than constructed elsewhere.
“The amount of renovation that you’d need, given the condition the building is in now, isn’t worth it,” Curro said.
Curro cited three possible locations for the new SAU office. One would be to attach it to town hall, to keep the two entities together. Another would be a parcel on the other side of Mammoth Road, and a third would be adjacent to Moose Hill School. He noted that when the SAU building, town hall and police department buildings were constructed, the plan was that the SAU building would eventually leave and the space would become a parking area.
Curro said the $3.18 million figure was based on square footage cost in today’s dollars times and is for construction and the possibility of land purchase.
Board member Lynn Wiles asked if demolition costs were included and Curro said they were not.
In terms of state aid, Curro said the state legislature passed legislation that allocates only $50 million in building aid, with almost $42 million already allocated.
“So for the next five, six, seven, eight, nine years, there’s very little new money that is going to be available because they’ll be using it to pay back already committed debt,” he said. “If there is money available, it goes into a priority list and the priority list will obviously be need versus your tax base, so I doubt Londonderry, at least in the foreseeable future, will be considered a district in need.”
While Curro said the district is seeing a “slowing of the decline” in enrollment, in the past, as many as 900 students were being educated at Matthew Thornton, and doing that again, as some people may suggest, with enrollment currently at half that amount, is not possible, as space has been reconfigured.
“We’ll probably see one more decline in the next year and then with the developments coming in all around the northeast quadrant and then the big one to the east of us (Woodmont Commons), coupled with some of the empty nesters moving out of the house and new families coming in, we believe that if not in September of 2015, then in September of 2016 there will be another increase in enrollment,” Curro said.
Board member Maria Newman asked what the best percentage rate is for the note and Curro said it was about 3.4 to 3.5 percent for 10 years.
“Make no mistake about it – the renovation bond is the most important of the two bonds,” Curro said
Regarding the bond request for a 950-seat auditorium, Curro said the lack of an auditorium is the only black mark against the district by the organization that accredits high schools.
Curro said its cost of $17 million won’t be the final number. “You won’t be able to hold graduation because it seats under 1,000,” Curro said.
He said revenue from the auditorium will not be enough to offset cost.
On the town side of the CIP, resident Ann Chiampa asked Czyzowski about sewer work. Czyzowski said user fees paid for the work.
The Planning Board approved the advisory acceptance of the CIP unanimously.
The CIP projects are as follows:
Urgent
• For the school district: district-wide renovations at $5 million, funded by a bond. Funding year Fiscal Year 2015.
• Public Works, Sewer Division: Plaza 28 sewer pump station replacement, $3.1 million, funded by access fees and a bond. Funding year FY 2015.
• Senior Affairs: senior center expansion, $725,000, funded by the general fund. Funding year FY 2015.
• Fire Department: Central Station renovation, $2.9 million, funded by a bond. Funding year FY 2015 for engineering and architectural and 2016 for construction.
• Public Works and Engineering: highway garage improvements, $260,000 (phase III). Funding through expendable maintenance trust fund. Funding year FY 2015.
• Public Works and Engineering: recycling drop-off center improvements, $125,000. Funding through the general fund. Funding year FY 2015.
Necessary
• Community Development: Pettengill Road upgrade, $12.3 million. Funding source Tax Incremental Financing (TIF)/ grant. Funding year FY 2015.
• School Department: New SAU office, $3.18 million (FY 16 dollars). Funding source, bond. Funding year is FY 2016/2017 (construction).
• Public Works and Engineering: Mammoth Road sewer replacement (portion), $385,875. Funding sources are bond and access fees and private developer contribution. Funding year FY 2016.
Desirable
• School District: auditorium, $17 million. Funding sources are capital reserve fund and a bond. Funding year FY 2018-2019.
• Public Works: Engineering for South Londonderry sewer, phase II, $2.5 million. Funding sources are bond and private developer contribution. Funding year is FY 2016.
Deferrable
• Public Works: Mammoth Road (North) sewer extension, $749,700. Funding sources are bond and access fees, funding year is FY 16.

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