EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

January 29, 2013

Pelham seeks bond for SAU offices

Voters asked to OK $895,000 bond

PELHAM – School administrators have a backup plan if voters fail to approve renovating Town Hall for the relocation of School Administrative Unit 28 offices.

But taxpayers won’t see much of a savings.

Administrators have estimated leasing office space in the community for 10 years would cost about $80,000 a year.

A warrant article coming before voters will ask them to approve an $895,000 bond issue to finance renovations to Town Hall.

The school district would help pay that off with rental payments to the town amounting to $217,000 per year over five years.

The pending breakup of the Windham-Pelham SAU this summer is forcing the move to new offices.

Windham will keep the current SAU 28 offices to house its new standalone SAU 95. Pelham’s future administrators have been invited to temporarily share space in Windham while Town Hall is renovated for their new home.

A key selling point at Town Meeting for the renovation plan is that the town won’t just be throwing money away on rent, they will have something to keep.

School and town officials have discussed the benefits of sharing meeting space in the renovated facility.

Consultant Gino Baroni of Salem-based Trident Project Advantage Group met with the Budget Committee earlier this month.

Baroni told the budget panel if the town was going to spend money, it should do so on its own facility to build its assets.

Selectman Ed Gleason told the Budget Committee a five-year bond would add 15 cents to the tax rate in the first year, decreasing to 13 cents by the fifth year.

Committee members questioned whether the project could be financed over one year, but Town Administrator Tom Gaydos said that would result in a 61-cent impact on the tax rate.

The Budget Committee voted, 9-1, in favor of the bond issue, with only Larry Hall dissenting.

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