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Monkton board eyes new town office, again

MONKTON — Third time’s the charm, or so the Monkton selectboard hopes so.
For the third time in four years, the Monkton selectboard is aiming to present voters at next year’s Town Meeting Day with a proposal for a new municipal building.
In 2010, Monkton voters defeated a proposed $1.4 million municipal building because of its price tag and its modern design. On this past Town Meeting Day, voters shot down a proposed $1.5 million structure, which called for moving the current government offices up the street and included a public library five times the size of the town’s current 600-square-foot structure.
The 2012 proposition would have raised the property tax rate by about 8 cents, or an extra $160 a year on a $200,000 home, said Town Treasurer Chuck Roumas. At the same time, Monkton’s tax base is broadening. According to the 2010 census, Monkton’s population expanded 12.6 percent over the last decade, one of the biggest jumps in the county.
The selectboard recently sent out a request for qualifications from local architecture firms to see which companies might be interested in and qualified to draw up a new building design. The next step, said selectboard chair and Assistant Town Clerk John Phillips, is to send out requests for proposals to two or three of the four firms that showed interest in designing the project.
The board is hoping to get a design nailed down by winter to present voters with a new proposal by Town Meeting Day 2013.
“We are going to be working with someone who hopefully can give us what we need and within a budget of what we feel the town will accept,” said Phillips.
While the board has yet to set a maximum budget, Phillips vowed to present voters with a proposal that would come at a lower cost than this year’s. To do that, he said, the board would like to see a more compact structure.
“Voters felt that the last design was too much money,” Phillips said. “It was more space than what we needed, which made it more expensive.”
Reporter Andrew Stein is at [email protected].

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