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Antrim municipal complex plans scaled back

June 06, 2007|by JENNIFER FITCH

GREENCASTLE, PA. - The Antrim Township Supervisors began to scale back the scope of their planned municipal government complex at Tuesday's special work session, which was attended by 45 residents.

Original bids solicited to construct four buildings on U.S. 11 topped $6 million.

"The only thing you guys do for me is send me a bill for my sewer every three months. Why do we need (that complex) to collect my, whatever, $100 a quarter (waste) bill?" said Jack Baer, a township resident for more than 35 years.

The supervisors have asked the project's architect, Newcomer Associates of Chambersburg, Pa., to delete the magisterial district judge's office and a shell office from plans.

The two spaces were designed at 4,500 square feet. With construction costs estimated at $136 per square foot, the removal of the two offices could reduce the complex's price tag by $612,000.

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Under the urging of supervisors Curtis Myers and Samuel Miller, the board opted to have each component of the complex rebid separately. It wants to compare the cost of the new salt storage and maintenance facilities to the possible sale of its existing property on Antrim Church Road, which has been appraised at $1.3 million.

Myers and Miller said they want to leave storage and maintenance where they are.

The existing site is "at the truck stop anyway. I don't think the trucks and salt storage have any business at the new location," said Larry Eberly, who recently lost a primary election bid to fill a supervisor seat.

Kacie Oberholzer, a student representative on the board, spoke up for the first time in the past year, supporting the idea of keeping storage and maintenance where they are.

"You guys are township supervisors. Your job is to benefit the community. ... It sounds like the building is all of service to yourself," the 17-year-old said.

Township Manager Ben Thomas talked about the frustration of sending the public to satellite offices for their business, especially payment of taxes.

"Who cares if they have to drive an extra mile to do stuff? I mean, they'll get over it," Kacie said, eliciting applause from the crowd.

Discussions about the complex have gotten heated in the past, but the only tension to develop during the work session came when Myers remarked that the public has been deceived about the costs. He mentioned soft costs and added fees for engineering.

Supervisor James Byers took offense, saying every figure has been publicized.

"You've only been here less than two years, and we've been working on this for nine years," he said.

Also, Supervisor Robert Whitmore corrected Myers when he began talking about the need to raise taxes to pay for the complex.

"By the time we build, just using landfill funds, we'd have enough to pay for the whole building," Whitmore said.

The Waste Management landfill in Upton, Pa., pays $400,000 in fees annually to a special fund, which now has a balance of $4.2 million, Whitmore said.

The money could be better spent, some residents argued.

"You don't need something like that (complex) now. You should deal with the problems we're facing now," Dave Richmond said.

"I'm not dead set about this building but the cost. I look out at the roads and traffic piled up," Miller said.

The supervisors had considered reusing industrial buildings but found that move wasn't feasible, Whitmore said. It bought 26 acres of farmland on U.S. 11 south of Greencastle several years ago for $1 million, he said.

The supervisors have also agreed to cut the second floor off a new administration building.




A fact sheet regarding the complex is available at www.twp.antrim.pa.us.

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