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As most everyone is aware, the Moretown town offices were destroyed during the Irene flood. Since that time the Moretown Planning Commission and Moretown Select Board have been active in finding short-term and long-term solutions regarding town office locations. Currently the offices are located in the Moretown Fire Station and they are making use of a temporary vault for records.
The flooding has forced an acceleration of a plan that was already in place to solve numerous issues around the town office location. Over a year ago, the select board charged the planning commission with identifying options to deal with administrative needs that were quickly outpacing the space available.
Several options were considered by the planning commission: sharing space with the elementary school, renovating/expanding the current town office, building a new office and purchasing or leasing existing space. There are many factors that need to be considered before the select board can make a decision on which options to pursue further and which may not be feasible. We also understand that many community members will want to add their input to the process. The purpose of this communication is to inform the Moretown community of how the relevant boards foresee this decision process unfolding, and how you can make your thoughts, concerns and opinions heard.
Because at least one of the options on the table involves the Moretown School Board, representatives of both boards have worked together to propose the following process:
· The select board has formally requested that the school board begin to gather some data regarding the feasibility of town office occupancy in the school facility.
· Both boards will participate in a joint committee, chaired by a select board member, to begin to gather and analyze comparable data for all options. If you are interested in serving on this committee please contact Kaj Samsom or Tom Martin.
· Beginning with this letter, we will actively encourage your participation throughout this process. What would be most helpful right now would be to receive your comments in written form so that when the committee gets together we can begin to build a file of public input on each option. If you have input, concerns or questions on any of the options please email or write to Kaj or Tom, and we will share with the committee and both boards.
· As the committee refines and develops its understanding of the pros and cons of each option, certain options may drop off the list as being too costly or not feasible, and other options may take priority. At some point in the next several months, when we have concrete data to share on one or more options, we will host a public forum to answer questions and take additional comment on whatever options are still on the table.
· The final step will be formal action by the select board to endorse one of the options and pursue the next steps. If that option includes the school, the school board will also need to vote on the plan.
Most importantly, this will be a data-driven transparent process that will strive to consider all relevant facts and concerns on possible town office locations. Both boards are committed to pursuing the option that makes the best sense for the community as a whole, incorporating both financial and non-financial considerations. This is a big decision for this town, and we hope you will stay informed and engaged and communicate your thoughts with us along the way.