Dispatch center proposal moves step closer to vote in Franklin County

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FARMINGTON — Franklin County commissioners voted Tuesday to send to referendum a nearly $600,000 building project for a new dispatch center on county land.

The proposal is expected to go to voters countywide on Tuesday, June 12.

Dispatch Building Committee Chairman Stan Wheeler presented commissioners with a revised budget that brings the cost of the proposed center to $598,300, $31,000 less than an initial proposal.

Commissioners voted 2-1 on Dec. 20, 2011, to send a $629,300 proposal for the center to voters. Commissioner Gary McGrane of Jay was opposed.

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All three commissioners agreed Tuesday on the proposal to go to referendum but not before several questions were answered.

The stand-alone building would be 2,200 square feet and would be constructed directly across from the Sheriff’s Department on County Way. Dispatchers currently dispatch out of that building.

The reduced cost is the result of changes to site improvements, movable furniture and having county custodian Greg Roux act as field representative instead of hiring an outside clerk of works. Roux is a retired construction contractor who had owned his own construction business in Farmington.

The Building Committee eliminated one dispatching console, leaving three for three dispatchers and room for a fourth, if needed in the future, Wheeler said. The dispatch center currently has two and a half consoles, he said.

The proposal also eliminated a bathroom to make it a janitor’s closet. But it would be plumbed, so if a second bathroom is needed later, it could be added.

Bid contingency and construction contingency accounts totaling $43,300 is available to allow for changes, if necessary.

The building would be built on a slab with a 4-foot frost wall around it. It would have vinyl siding. Some items such as the roof would be bid out two ways, one for metal and one for shingles, Wheeler said, to get the best option.

The building would also be more energy efficient and considerably more secure than the existing center, he said. There would be two doors that dispatchers would have to press buzzers for to let people into the actual center.

The building would also be built using insulated core foam that gives a R-38 insulation value compared to R-19 when using traditional 2-foot by 6-foot framing, Roux said.

If more space is needed for another department such as the county emergency management agency, the building would be constructed so it could be easily added to, Wheeler said.

Wheeler also asked if committee members, those who would be needed to present the proposal in different towns, could get reimbursement for mileage, if a county vehicle was not available.

Chairman McGrane said something could be worked out.

Wheeler also said the Building Committee discussed space at the former Phillips Primary School, now the town office, which was offered by Phillips selectmen for the new center. A Phillips selectman was involved in discussions and concurred with the committee, he said.

They decided it was not a viable option, Wheeler said.

It was also recognized that county buildings should be in the county seat, he said.

The dispatch center is also the arrest warrant depository and the warrants need to go with those being arrested and taken to jail. It would be difficult and time consuming to travel to get warrants in Phillips, Wilton or New Sharon and then get back to the jail, he said. Those towns offered use of former school buildings for the center.

“Thank you for all your hard work,” McGrane told members of the committee.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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