$16,450 to Develop Conceptual Design for Library Renovation

The selectmen voted unanimously last Friday, May 19, to expend $16,450 from the Library Capital Reserve Fund, for a conceptual design for renovating the current library building, following a presentation by Skip Hurt.

Selectman Chip Albee said that he didn’t think any proposal for a library would be ready for Town Meeting 2018. “To be honest, I don’t see it going on the warrant next year,” he said. “[The library trustees] haven’t gotten to the position where they have consensus on their board about what the want to build. So until that happens, [the board of selectmen] can’t get involved. And until we’re involved, and they’re involved, and we all agree, we can’t get the town involved,” meaning a warrant article at Town Meeting, “so there’s more stuff that’s got to go down before.

Approximately $70,000 was spent on a failed 2015 plan to build a new library across the street from the current library. The plan required a 2/3 vote at Town Meeting because it required a loan due to its projected cost of more than $2.3 million.

Video courtesy of Joe Kowalski.

Watch Skip Hurt’s library renovation presentation to the library trustees here and his presentation to the trustees, selectmen, and public here. The trustees also discussed Skip’s presentation here.

Library Renovation Plan Presented to Trustees

Skip Hurt attended the library trustees’ meeting this morning to show them a plan he’s been working on for expanding the existing library building. Skip was a member of the since-disbanded library building advisory committee and publicly supported the old plan to build a new library across the street from the existing one. That plan failed to get the required 2/3 vote of approval from Town Meeting in 2015.

In a follow up message this evening he reiterated to me a point he had made to the trustees: “I’ve run into two people who were on the advisory committee that stated to me they were no longer going to vote for the current proposal. I’m no longer going to support it or vote for it. That makes three people of the committee that will not be voting or endorsing it. Jim Allen, who was on the committee, has moved so that means four out of the nine [on the committee] will not be voting for the $2.2 million building.”

With commercial building costs ranging from $150 to $250 per square foot, Skip is estimating that his plan to expand the current library building would come in at the high range of just over a million dollars. “The beauty of it,” he said, “is you can start this now.” The building could be expanded in sections, using funds that are already available in the library capital reserve fund. (Later in the meeting, Treasurer Marsha Hunter confirmed there is $696,832 in the library capital reserve fund including the $75,000 that was approved by town meeting last month.)

Skip noted that his plan would cost more than $1 million less than the 2015 plan. That means that the amount of funds that would need to be appropriated at next year’s Town Meeting in order to finish the project would not be large enough to trigger the 2/3 vote requirement, increasing its likelihood of passing.

In addition, Skip’s plan would actually produce a building 400 square feet larger than the failed building across the street. He would expand the current building out over the front parking lot toward Middle Road. Then he would extend the back of the building out as well, covering the walkway that currently leads to the back entrance. Likely the main entrance would be moved from the front of the building to the side facing the fire pond. All the plumbing in the building, he explained, could stay in the same place, which would be a substantial costs saving, although the electrical and HVAC would need to be upgraded.

He would place a new parking lot in the woods behind the library, but he noted that the existing parking lot on the side of the building would remain. The walk from the parking lot to the building would be similar to what it is in Wolfeboro, he said.

Skip said he had spoken to numerous contractors while developing his plan. He also urged the trustees to engage an architect, but suggested they note use the architect who had made the plans for the building across the street, saying it would be perceived in the public as a conflict of interest.

Librarian Christie Sarles and Trustee Mary Anne Murray said they’d like more information about what the interior of the renovated building might look like. Skip said that the architect would have to work out those details.

Although they weren’t entirely sold on the spot, the trustees expressed their appreciation to Skip for coming up with a new plan. Skip will be meeting with the board of selectmen at their meeting on April to go over the plan, and the trustees said they would like to attend that meeting as well.

Guy Pike also had an idea for the town to purchase the plot of land at the corner of Union Wharf and Middle Roads for the purpose of a new police building. He said that the project could be done, with the purchase of land and the construction of a building, at no additional cost to the taxpayer by using funds already raised from taxes that are currently in the police building capital reserve fund as well as over a million dollars in the undesignated fund. At that point, said Guy, the library could either renovate the existing building, or build a new building across the street, without the connection to the police building that has been weighing it down for years.

Chairman Gordon Hunt explained his comments from Town Meeting that the “library will get built,” saying that he had meant that in some form or another that a new library would be constructed. “Something is going to get done, because the needs of the community need to be addressed. At the same time, as I say, nothing is set in stone. We’re going to look at everything.”

Guy thanked the trustees for running an open meeting and for welcoming input from those in attendance. “I appreciate the openness of your meetings. It’s really the way the town of Tuftonboro aught to operate, and we do alright with this with the library trustees. And I’m very pleased with that. You guys are just folks, and folks is what we all are.”

For more details, please watch the video and also consider attending the selectmen’s meeting on April 24. In addition, if I left out anything pertinent in my write-up, I hope Skip, or any of the trustees, will clarify in the comments.


The approximate time line for the video is as follows:

0:00 Pledge of Allegiance
0:20 Skip Hurt presents plan for library renovation of current building
47:55 Guy Pike comments
57:00 Gordon Hunt “something will get done.”
58:00 Max Ledoux asked a question about fundraising
1:01:36 Regular meeting
1:03:00 approval of March 2017 Trustees Minutes.
1:04:45 Treasurer’s report
$698k in hand
1:06:18 Librarian’s report
1:16:45 Christy reported selectmen are going to explore doing payroll every other week. Treasurer thinks by law that hourly employees have to be paid weekly.
1:17:40 New Business
Drug and alcohol policy adoption
1:20:35 Clarification of circulation reporting
1:28:00 Old Business
Capital campaign committee activity (almost $100,000 in pledges)
1:30:13 motion to adjourn

Selectmen Discuss Police Building, Library

met with Police Chief Andrew Shagoury this morning to hear his thoughts about a new police building. Chief Shagoury said he would prefer to wait and put more money into the police department facility capital reserve fund, rather than move for a warrant article at the next Town Meeting for the construction of a new facility. He noted that if the town has the money in hand to spend on a building project, then Town Meeting can authorize the expenditure with a 50% vote. However, if a loan is required, then a 2/3 vote will be required. A 2014 study concluded that a new, standalone police building would cost just over $1,000,000. The police department facility capital reserve fund had approximately $332,350.39 in it as of December 2015, and the 2016 Town Meeting authorized the addition of $50,000 to the fund, bringing the balance to approximately $382,350.39. (It is an interest bearing account, so the exact balance as of today will be slightly higher.)

Chief Shagoury said he did not think that expanding the current police offices at the town office would be a good idea. There wouldn’t be significant cost savings in his opinion and it would be difficult to have construction going on at the town offices. He would prefer a new building on a new location.

Selectman Carolyn Sundquist said that the new library building warrant would likely not come back for a vote at Town Meeting until 2018, so the police department facility capital reserve would have two more years of putting money away.

Selectman Lloyd Wood said that in his mind and many people’s the police building is linked to the library. Sundquist said she didn’t want to bring the warrant up without enough money in the capital reserve fund because the warrant would fail. My notes don’t tell me if she meant the warrant for the library or for the police building, but she stated twice during the meeting that she didn’t think the library would come back for a vote until 2018.

Wood said he very strongly would like the new police building to be located near the library and the elementary school. He stated that when he was police chief in Auburn, New Hampshire, he worked two cases that involved the deaths of little girls. He feels that if the police building is close to the school and library it will send a message to “all the creeps, perverts, and pedophiles.” He said that was more his personal opinion than a statement as a selectman.

Discussion followed of whether there needed to be detailed building plans at this point. Selectman Bill Marcussen stated he didn’t think it made sense to have detailed plans before putting money away.

The general consensus was to put more money into the police department facility capital reserve fund over the next two years.

The selectmen also announced they will be attending the Ragged Island Association’s annual meeting tomorrow, July 9. They are meeting at the dock at 9AM.

Sundquist also alerted Marcussen and Wood that later this month they will need to discuss a memo sent to them by Clay Gallagher, the transfer station director, about cost-of-living increases in the budget for social security contributions to employees.

The selectmen had met for about thirty minutes in a non-public meeting prior to talking with Chief Shagoury. According to the agenda for the non-public portion of the meeting they were discussing “a legal issue.” After one point during the non-public meeting, Administrative Assistant Karen Koch left the room so that the selectmen could discuss an employee evaluation. Koch said she wasn’t sure if they were evaluating her or not. She also said she wasn’t sure if the selectmen wanted her to divulge the nature of the “legal issue” that they had been discussing. After about five minutes the selectmen called Koch back into the room for another five or so minutes before they opened the public portion of the meeting.