Last hearing on proposed new Franklin County dispatch center is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, May 10, at the Jay Town Office.

FARMINGTON — Franklin County commissioners and a county Dispatch Building Committee held a public hearing Thursday on a proposal to build a new 2,200-square-foot, stand-alone dispatch building on County Way.

The principal cost would not exceed $598,300.

Members of both panels stressed the importance of constructing a securer building for the communications center. It would be across from the Sheriff’s Department office where dispatchers are now.

Among concerns raised was the possibility that the state would deem the current building not in compliance with standards and that the county could lose its public safety answering point, which handles 911 emergency calls.

The current dispatch center does not meet any state or federal standards in security, Building Committee Chairman Stan Wheeler said.

It is estimated that if the calls were sent to a state center, the state would charge about $145,000 a year for the service, at $4 per person, Wheeler said he was told. At that cost, a new building would be paid for in five years, he said.

Another concern is if the state has the next generation of 911 equipment installed in the current facility, it would cost about $80,000 to move it into a new facility if the project is not under way within the next 12 months.

Wheeler, an emergency dispatcher, has worked with a team of people over the last year that represented law enforcement, fire protection, public safety, medical services and municipal government to put together a plan.

“We think it is a bare-bones but adequate facility,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler’s committee is not the first to work on trying to get a new center.

“We’ve been at this for a while,” he said.

He was told, he said, that stakeholders gathered in 2006 realizing that the center is vulnerable and something needed to be done with dispatch to improve security and make it a better facility.

A plan evolved into a much bigger project than just a new dispatch center and a vote for $4.6 million bond, which included buying a building to move county government offices into it, was overwhelmingly rejected in 2010.

This time, voters in more than 20 county towns and organized plantations and townships will be asked on Tuesday, June 12, at respective polling places, if the county should issue general obligation bonds in a principal amount not to exceed $598,300 to finance a new center.

The bond would be issued over 15 years. There would be annual principal payments and semiannual interest payments over the term. The average interest rate would be 3.81 percent for a total of $189,479.76 in interest, according to the treasurer’s certificate. The exact interest rate would depend on the rate at the time.

The total debt service for the project is estimated at $787,779.76. Over the course of the bond, according to a sample amortization chart, the highest payment would be $61,764 in 2014 and would decrease from there.

It is estimated that the cost of the project on a house valued $100,000, would be an increase in taxes of about $1, Wheeler said.

Commissioner Fred Hardy of New Sharon, known for his frugal spending at the county level, said that he supports the project.

“I think the dispatch has been wanting for several years,” he said.

The proposed plan is estimated to cost $175 per square foot. The construction costs for the new center is $385,000. New furniture and movable equipment is estimated at $60,000. There is also $43,300 allotted for contingency.

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