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2011/09/22 Minutes
Sebago Fire and Rescue Building Task Force
Minutes from Meeting of September 22, 2011

Meeting opened at 7:05 pm at the Sebago Town Offices.

In attendance were Task Force members Carl Dolloff, Phil Strike, Alan Greene, Jim Smith and Allen Crabtree.  Task Force members Ann Farley, Tim Smith and Anita Chadbourne were absent.  Fire Chief Ken Littlefield was there from Sebago.   

Guests present were Architect Jeff Fleming, Chief Brent Libby from Standish, Phil Lowe, Jerry Holt, Jim Libby, Rick Bates and Selectman Edythe Harndon.

1.      Background – Jim Smith gave a short summary of the process to date for guests.  There were a number of questions raised and discussion:  
·       Jim Libby wanted to know what the big rush was, and why a special Town Meeting was needed.  He said that Jim Smith had said at Town Meeting in June that the approval for the building would be brought back in June at the regular Town Meeting in 2012.  
·       Jim Smith denied saying that, but did reaffirm that voter approval was necessary before moving ahead with construction.  He also said that we didn’t want to spend money on site work if the building was not going to be approved, and planned to go for bids for both site work and building construction at about the same time so that everything could proceed in the spring after voter approval.  
·       Allen Crabtree commented that voter approval needed could be obtained at a special town meeting.  
·       Phil Lowe said that the process should move ahead to take advantage of lower construction costs.  Delays till next summer could prove costly.  
·       Alan Greene said that the combination of the new building, closing Stations 2 and 3, and the MOA with Standish will allow a reduction in the number of fire apparatus maintained by Sebago to 1 engine and 2 tankers, a savings of about $500k in CIP funding over time.

2.      Planning Board – Jim Smith reported that the Planning Board held their public hearing at their September 13 meeting but the Chairman declined to take a vote on the Site Plan Review  nor issue a conditional approval since the DEP had not been received.  Jim said that the DEP permit has been applied for and informally have informed the town that there are no problems with issuing it – the delay is only an administrative one.  He hoped to  have it in  hand by the next Planning Board meeting on October 11.

3.      Time Line – Jeff Fleming distributed a new time line and there was considerable discussion on the sequence of events, particularly when RFPs would go out for site work and building construction, when public hearings would be held and the date for a special town meeting.  RFP for site work and building construction would be sent out separately during the first week in January 2012 and bids would be requested by the end of January.

·       Jim Libby said that winter construction costs could be 25% higher than regular costs and questioned why the site work was going to be done in February.  
·       Jim Smith said that if Shaw Brothers win the bid for site work they preferred doing the work in the winter to keep their crews employed and no additional costs would be included.
·       Jeff said that the site work would not include any cement work, only dirt moving, which can be done in the winter season.  Jeff’s time line projects a site work window beginning the week of Feb 6 and concluding the end of March.  Construction would be an April through end of August event.  
·       Jim Libby wanted to know what financing options had been considered, and whether a 20-year mortgage through a bank would be better than the 15-year financing offered by Shaw Brothers.  
·       Jim Smith said that we had contacted banks about conventional financing and were told that they do not offer mortgages on this type of municipal project.  We also investigated bonding through the Maine bonding authority, but the offer from Shaw Brothers was for a longer period (15-years vs. 10-years) and at a better rate.  The comment was made that a longer-term note would spread the cost of the building over current taxpayers and future taxpayers who will also benefit from it.

4.      Public Hearings – Jeff’s time line suggested two public hearings – one on October 25 and the second on November 15.  Allen will bring these dates to the Board of Selectmen at their next meeting for approval.  

There was discussion about getting the word out to voters so that they can be informed as to the work done over the last 20+ years to get to this point, what the advantages and disadvantages of the new fire and rescue building are, and what the costs of building it as well as the costs of not building it and continuing on with existing facilities.

·       Alan Greene commented that response time would be improved with the new station over the existing situation, particularly as the two daytime personnel could respond with the rescue unit and a fire apparatus immediately to the scene when calls come in.  Also, the facility would allow enrolling in the Maine fire student intern program for live-in trained fire fighters at no cost.  
·       Brent Libby commented that there are now 62 live-in student interns at stations around the state and they have proven a valuable, economical resource to enhance fire and rescue responses.

5.      A Special town meeting could be held once bids are received and reviewed by the Board of Selectmen – probably early in February 2012.  The alternative, as suggested by Jim Libby and Rick Bates, would be to wait for the regular Town Meeting in June 2012.  The Board of Selectmen will consider this  at a later date.

6.      Neil Courtney Report – Allen reported that he had spoken with Courtney and that he would do an assessment of the building design, interior layout and siting of the proposed fire and rescue building.  We have asked for the assessment by October 15, to be in time for the first public hearing.

Next meetings of the Fire and Rescue Building Task Force will be on Thursday, 20 October at 7:00 pm and on Thursday, 10 November at 7:00 pm at the town offices.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:42 p.m