May 26, 2019

Hermon sets special meeting on school project

HERMON – Residents will decide at a July 20 special town meeting whether to appropriate $500,000 of municipal funds to complete the funding necessary for the middle school renovation project.

Councilors voted in Thursday night’s regular town council meeting to let residents decide whether to fund the project using money from the town’s expendable fund balance.

“I really support doing it all, or none of it,” Councilor Louis “Buzzy” LaChance said, after Town Manager Clint Deschene explained the additional money would help fund such items as new windows and vinyl siding for the building.

Councilor Alden Brown commented, saying that these items, “absolutely need to happen.”

Although the school and building committees have requested these additional funds from the town, Deschene pointed out that they continue to seek more cost-effective options through value engineering with the architects, WBRC Architects of Bangor, and the general contractor, E.L. Shea of Ellsworth.

Value engineering can help identify areas to save money by buying cheaper building materials or sharing truckloads of materials with the contractor’s other local projects, saving on fuel costs.

“The town and the building and school committees are very pleased with WBRC Architects and their services, keeping us on budget, but maintaining the integrity of the project,” Deschene said after the meeting.

Also during Thursday night’s meeting, councilors approved the police department’s request to use the remaining funds in the department’s operational budget from the 2005-2006 fiscal year to purchase two car-mounted video cameras and a radar.

The equipment will cost $11,960, but appears to be a price tag the department can handle, since in the middle of June it had more than $20,000 of unexpended funds for the fiscal year. Deschene attributes the excess funds to the several months during the year when the police force was short-handed. Fewer officers patrolling also cut down on gas prices and mileage, he said.

The cameras can be used to produce evidence in court, as well as to be utilized as supervisory tools, Sgt. Michael Burgess wrote in his request. The radar will address a large concern of the department: to curb speeding in town.

“One of the biggest things we’re working on is just trying to get people to slow down,” Burgess said during the meeting.

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