West Tisbury space needs defined
The West Tisbury Space Needs Committee has completed a comprehensive review of town buildings and other town-owned property, including the town hall, for which a renovation and expansion plan was rejected last year by voters. The committee's report is available here.
The committee will ask voters at Tuesday's special town meeting for an appropriation, which the committee will use to get professional cost estimates for the various future space planning options. The cost estimates will be used for "comparative planning purposes only." The estimates will help the committee to present options, with projected costs and recommended timing at the spring 2007 annual town meeting. The space needs committee includes Chuck Hodgkinson, chairman, Kent Healy, vice chairman, Les Cutler, alternate Sue Hruby, Hermine Hull, Kathy Logue, Bea Phear, Bob Schwartz, and advisor Joe Eldredge.
The committee's charge was to "Research and organize the specific space needs of the town by department and function." The committee sought advice from "the public, town departments, and other relevant parties in order to prioritize these function and space needs and group them into three areas: immediate (one to three years), moderate (three to five years) and long term (five to ten years). Prepare one or more models and timelines of how to effectively and efficiently satisfy the town's total space needs by creatively using, renovating, adding onto, or leasing existing available assets within the town or building new assets." The outline of needs, available space, costs of changes and renovations, or even new construction was to be located on a 10- to 15-year timeline both the moment when decisions ought to be made and when costs would be incurred.
"Our goal," the committee wrote, "is to satisfy the town's space needs while avoiding significant 'spikes' in annual debt service payments and real estate taxes. Adding projects and debt as the town retires existing debt will do this," the committee explained. The big decisions will come in the spring, when voters will review the recommendations which the committee will make. The recommendation will include four town hall options, two police station options, one library option, and one possibility for a regional animal control facility, the costs of which may be shared among the towns. Two public hearings, in December and January, will be held to describe the developing recommendations and hear public comment.
The committee outlined its plans for the winter and spring this way: "The committee will prepare a final plan for consideration at the spring 2007 annual town meeting recommending solutions for the town's space needs by function with projected timing. The timing will be based upon the functional urgency and cost for each project and its impact on the town's long-term annual debt service payment schedule. The plan will add debt as the town retires debt to manage debt payments - and their impact on our real estate taxes. We anticipate that the town will agree the most urgent space planning need is satisfying the town administration function-what to do about town hall. Consequently, we will present a warrant article seeking voter approval to proceed with a recommended town hall solution, form a building committee and approve an appropriation to hire an architectural and engineering firm to execute the town hall solution. Lastly, if town voters are pleased with the committee's work we anticipate asking for voter approval to form a space needs oversight committee to keep track of voter feedback and approvals of the overall long term town space planning program for all town functions. This committee would make adjustments as needed and work with the capital improvements planning committee on the debt service plan."