Public Works Facility
This Project is Also Known as "Town Highway Garage"
The Selectboard for the Town of Milton is reviewing plans to build a new public works facility, subject to voter approval in 2022. The proposed development consists of the construction of a new single-story, approximately 30,000 square foot public works building and a 14,300 square foot salt shed on a 6.7 acre donated parcel of land.
Why does the Town need this facility?
The needs of the Town have outgrown the existing facilities on Ice House and Kienle Roads. The proposed new facility offers several improvements:
- More storage space to shelter large equipment helps prolong the life of that equipment and reduces daily time spent moving vehicles in and out of the garage. This means the plows get out on the road faster each day!
- Planned features include a wash-down bay to clean damaging chemicals from vehicles and equipment, again prolonging the life of the equipment.
- The larger, dedicated storage shed provides an environmentally friendly solution for storing salt, liquid deicer and other materials needed to keep our roads safer for driving in the winter.
Learn more about the conditions and challenges of the current facilities:
What our highway team has to say:
“Our current facility has a severe lack of space to work on trucks and to keep expensive equipment covered. The floor is too rough to use creepers and makes it difficult to use jacks. There’s no wash bay, and a lack of floor drainage means working areas are always wet. It’s also just a very uncomfortable working environment. There are multiple spots where the wind comes right through the walls.” ~ Fleet Mechanic
“We need a new highway garage very badly. We have to pull all the trucks out to work on equipment – even at -20°! It’s difficult and unsafe pulling trucks in and out of the shop with less than one foot of walking space between trucks and equipment. We work on cold wet floors as the trucks thaw out, and the expensive equipment that doesn’t fit in the building is left outside and has trouble starting because of the cold. Since we have no wash bay, the trucks can only be washed when weather permits. On top of all that, the building is horrible on heating. We go through a quarter of a tank of fuel in 2 days when it’s below 0°.” ~ Maintenance Technician
Why should the Town do this right now?
This is an ideal time for the Town to address this need. In addition to the opportunity to use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to expand infrastructure, the Town is also scheduled to pay off the fire station in FY24 and interest rates to borrow are at a historic low.
Why this proposed location?
The proposed location for the new facility is a 6.7 acre parcel of land, adjacent to the municipally owned Bombardier property, which has been generously donated by the Brault family. This location is central to town, which is beneficial to prevent wear and tear on town vehicles and to prolong the need to add another plow route. Having a large enough campus to house all necessary staff and all building and grounds equipment was a key consideration in plans for this development.
Estimated Project Cost
The following estimates are based on information received in December 2021:
Anticipated Construction Cost: $6,500,000
Total to Finance: $5,500,000
Interest Rate: $2.70%
Term: 30 yrs
Annual Payment: $307,166
30% from Impact Fees: $92,149.80
Current Annual Debt Payment Retiring in FY24 (from General Fund): $31,000
Increased Expenditure to be Paid with Tax Revenue: $184,016.20
Article IV on the Town Meeting Day Ballot:
"Shall general obligation bonds or notes of the Town of Milton in an amount not to exceed Five Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($5,500,000), subject to reduction from available state and federal construction grants-in-aid and other financial assistance, be issued to finance the construction of a new, 30,000 sq. ft. Town highway garage and associated improvements on a +/- 6.7-acre parcel of land to be acquired by the Town located westerly of Park Place?"
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why does the Town of Milton need a 30,000 square foot public works building with almost a 15,000 square foot salt shed?
This facility will have to serve the community for 50 years. The Town is growing and will likely have to add additional equipment in the future. We will not overbuild it, by any means, and we feel that it would be very short-sighted to build a building too small at this time of record-low interest rates.
Why build now when building costs are at all-time highs, there is pressure on everyone’s household budgets and inflation is far outpacing residents' income?
We believe now is the right time to build this facility for a number of reasons:
- Historically low interest rates make it more affordable to borrow the necessary funds.
- We have the ability to utilize federal ARPA dollars, impact fees and state/federal grants for portions of the project.
- The fire station loan is paid off in FY24.
- We also plan to sell the property on Kienle Road for fair market value to help offset the cost of the project.
Why does it cost $6.5 million?
This number is based on preliminary estimates we have received from the developers who have participated in the site planning process to date: Download the ECI Standard Pricing Proposal from December 21, 2021 (PDF). Nearly $3 million of the cost can be associated with the site work. The initial estimate does account for higher construction costs since the pandemic, which are attributed to issues with the supply chain and accessibility to materials driving up construction costs.
How will the town pay for the new public works building if voters approve?
We are proposing to borrow $5.5 million from the Vermont Bond Bank, use impact fees, use proceeds from the sale of the Keinle Road property, use $350,000-450,000 of ARPA funds and apply for state/federal grants for the salt shed.
What is going to happen to the old highway garage near the dam?
The Town plans to assemble a citizen committee to evaluate the future use of the Ice House Road property. Green Mountain Power owns all of the land surrounding the building and leases it to the Town for $1 per year. The Town has a prospective buyer. GMP has stated that they are interested in purchasing the property from the Town at fair market value.
When would the construction begin on the new building if voters approve it on Town Meeting Day?
The design and permitting process would start immediately. However, this project will require an extensive permitting process, which will take several months. Actual construction will likely start in late 2022 or early 2023.
When will the highway department move into the new building if approved by voters?
If everything goes as planned, the highway department will move into the new facility in late 2023 or early 2024.
How much more will it cost taxpayers annually if voters approve this project?
We estimate that the annual increase to a taxpayer with a $350,000 residential property would be approximately $3 per year.
Will this project have a negative impact on the Bombardier Recreational Park?
No, this project proposes a new road that intersects with Park Place just behind the library and goes in a westerly direction for approximately 240’ and then southerly for approximately 560’ to access the new facility. Highway trucks and other equipment will not enter the recreation park.
How much more will it cost to operate this new building versus the two current buildings?
We believe that operating costs for the new building will be equal to or less than what is currently expended to maintain the two buildings.
GIVE US YOUR FEEDBACK
If you would like to share your thoughts on this project, please contact the Town Manager Don Turner.
The Selectboard continues to monitor preliminary work on this project. Watch for continued discussions on this project at Selectboard Meetings, and look for Article IV on the Town Meeting Day ballot in March 2022.
Watch this page for updates on the proposed Public Works Facility (Town highway garage).