By Diana Bowley of the new staff - DEXTER - It's a building that has been used by an assortment of organizations from Cub Scouts to senior citizens, but to continue its use, improvements are needed.
Since the tight municipal budget allows for little extra in this community, the Town Council on Thursday voted to apply for a Community Development Block Grant to make improvements and upgrade the historic town hall.
If the $165,000 funding request is approved, town officials plan to install an elevator or lift to the upper floors in the building, install new steps, improve the heating system and make facade improvements, among other work.
The town should learn about the awards in February.
"I feel really pleased; I think the building is invaluable to our community," resident Carol Shoreborn, who attended the meeting, said Thursday of the council's action.
Town Manager Judy Doore said the town has the required 25 percent match from $32,500 in the capital reserve account and $9,000 set aside for the steps.
The council had been told earlier the boilers needed to be replaced in the building but have since learned they can be repaired.
Doore said resident Steve Wintle, who volunteered his time to inspect the boilers, believes less than $4,000 is needed to make the improvements. Doore said the town previously had spent $2,000 on the heating equipment.
The plan for the building meanwhile is to winterize it and keep the heat at a minimum, Doore said.
The Town Council also approved purchase of new software and a printer at a cost of $5,800 from undesignated funds for motor vehicle registrations, despite some concern.
Councilor Rick Goodwin said he was not against the new system but suggested that the purchase be addressed in the 2007 budget, a move also supported by Councilor Fred Sherburne.
Goodwin said the town was only halfway through the budget year, and those funds may be needed elsewhere if a problem arises.
Doore said it would be easier to train the staff on the new system during the slower months. She also said the town should collect more in excise taxes which will offset the cost.
An amendment to the land use ordinance that clarifies the minimum dimensional requirements for each dwelling unit or for commercial use or activity was aired at a public hearing.
The proposed amendment will be acted upon by the council next month.
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