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Residents oppose government complex

March 28, 2007|by KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - The Antrim Township Board of Supervisors was hearing strong opposition late Tuesday from residents for its proposed multimillion dollar municipal government complex along U.S. 11 south of Greencastle.

The board intended to reach a decision Tuesday night on bids for the six project contracts, but had not voted by 10 p.m.

With rising controversy surrounding the project and the vocal opposition of two board supervisors, about 100 residents wound through the back roads of Antrim Township to attend the meeting, which was held at the Kauffman Ruritan Community Center.

Most of those who addressed the board on the issue spoke against the estimated cost to build the proposed complex.

"Seven to eight million is excessive for this project," Fred Young Jr. said.

Architect Jennifer Greenlee from Newcomer Associates of Chambersburg, Pa., said the lowest base bid total for the project was $6,483,774, and did not include bids cast for alternate projects at the complex or any soft costs such as furnishings.

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While most residents expressed only personal opinion to the board, a few researched township finances and similar projects in the area.

Tracy Baer reviewed the 2007 and 2006 township budgets and asked the board to table the bids.

"I suggest that given all the controversy around the building and the cost that you think about tabling the bids until you do three things," she said.

Baer asked the board to announce the actual and current funds balances to the public during a meeting, complete a list of all 2007 capital projects, estimated costs and how the projects would be funded and present the audited financial statements for 2006, which the board is scheduled to receive in April.

"Please consider the building at its estimated cost, the money we have and other projects that affect not just a few employees sitting in the building," she said to applause from the audience.

Fred Young III researched a new complex in Berryville, Va., which he said incorporated both a municipality and a county, but only cost $5.6 million.

"I suggest you step back and look at what other communities have done," he said. "I propose as Mrs. Baer said we step back and look at the cost of this project."

Board Chairman Robert Whitmore said the board would reach some decision on Tuesday when it voted on bids for the six project contracts.

The board began discussing a new facility in 1998.

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