Amenia’s new garage moves toward bonding resolution

Conceptual rendering of the design for a new Amenia Town Garage calls for six bays for trucks and equipment.

LaBella Associates

Amenia’s new garage moves toward bonding resolution

AMENIA — With general agreement that the current town garage is outdated and badly deteriorated, and after years of planning for a new town garage, the Town Board at a special meeting on Monday, July 1, agreed to ask the town attorney to draft a bonding resolution to be considered at their next meeting on Thursday, July 18.

“This is something you all need to work together on,” former Town Supervisor Victoria Perotti had told the Town Board during public comment. Describing the old garage’s condition as “unsafe and unstable,” Perotti urged the Town Board to move ahead with the project, noting that the $6.3 million project would be bonded out for a 30-year term, lessening the impact for taxpayers.

When the bonding resolution came up for discussion during the meeting, Highway Superintendent Megan Chamberlin noted her 20 years of service to the town highway department in the current building.

“When it rains outside, it rains inside,” Chamberlin told the Town Board, describing current cramped conditions as “unsafe, offering no ventilation.” She added that the heating system is inadequate.

“This project is a priority,” Chamberlin said.

Following discussion, the Town Board voted unanimously to ask Town Attorney Ian Lindars to draft a bonding resolution for the project to be reviewed at the Thursday, July 18 meeting.

Reviewing the project’s financing details, Town Budget Officer Charlie Miller said the new Town Garage and Salt Shed’s budget is $6.3 million which includes a 30% contingency allowance.

Miller noted that the final long-term bond amount is estimated to be $5.7 million after applying ARPA funds and potential NYS WQIP grant for salt sheds, and a Community Development Block grant.

A taxpayer impact statement, prepared by Miller, explained the Town’s long-term bond through the Department of Agriculture (USDA) would be repaid over 30 years. The current USDA bond interest rate is 3.5%.

The annual payment amount on a $5.7 million bonded (principal and interest) would be $306,253, Miller said.

Translating those figures into impact that could be felt by individual taxpayers, Miller provided some examples.

For a home with an assessed value of $115,000, the annual property tax increase would be $27.96. If the assessed value stands at $250,000, the increase would be $60.79. And, if the home were assessed at $385,000, the increase would be $93.62.

“This garage has to get done,” commented councilmember Paul Winters and he felt that the impact amounts seemed fair, but he favored a mandatory community vote on the project.

Miller replied that he felt that the Town Board is elected by residents to serve as their representatives, agreeing with Winters’ statement that the garage “needs to happen.”

“We need to move ahead as quickly as we can. No one should be working in those conditions,” said councilmember Rosanna Hamm.

“This appears as a number one priority on the list of town goals,” said councilmember Brad Rebillard.

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