The Municipal Complex project includes the design and construction of a Highway Garage and a shared building with the Council on Aging and Town Hall, which includes the current Town Hall Annex departments. Combining these four facilities into two buildings on a single property is more efficient than constructing or renovating four separate buildings. This consolidation allows for enhanced customer service, efficient governing with all departments under one roof, increased meeting space, and decreased maintenance and energy costs for building operations. A needs analysis can be found on the Capital Building committee website:
The preliminary budget has this project ranging from $53 million to $48 million. The Capital Building Committee and town officials are committed to refining this cost and sharpening pencils for the lowest possible cost to tax payers as well as using available funds to lessen the burden to taxpayers.
Once the actual costs are refined, an individualized debt calculator will be available for folks to enter in their respective home values and determine how much of an impact this project will have on their tax bill. Under current estimates, the tax impact for an average homeowner is about $100/quarter.
Since our plan involves placing the bond payment directly onto the levy, some of the tax increase will be absorbed by current operational spending, so these figures remain as conservative estimates.
The Board of Selectmen has recently adopted a Financial Policy that spells out our commitment to responsible governing and budgeting. In this policy, the recently enacted meals tax has been flagged for a revenue source that can be tracked, accounted for and directed toward infrastructure projects for the community. Over two quarters, the Town has received $159,304 in meals tax revenues.
The Town has also planned for this expenditure over the course of three years, closely examining the town’s operating expenditures and tax rate, planning and coordinating all of
the town’s infrastructure needs. In doing so, we are bringing this project forward at a time when debt has been continually decreasing and coming off the tax rolls. Timing it this way allows some of the added debt from this project to be absorbed in already-appropriated sums that exist in the operational budget. In other words, part of the debt coming on from this municipal complex project will simply replace debt from previous projects whose payment terms are coming to an end.
|New Fire Station Headquarters and renovations to existing Stations 2 and 4: the Fire Feasibility Study Committee recommends situating a new station at the current Highway Facility location||New Junior High School: MSBA process begun late last year; 5-7 year timeline; proposed location on DelMac site, adjacent to High School
*Full report available August 2023
The Town will be borrowing for the entirety of this project. A single bond payment will be included within the levy limit and no debt exclusion is anticipated. Therefore, some of the tax increase will be absorbed by current operational spending practices.
Our current financial health is such that we believe we will receive competitive interest rates. We have an AA+ bond rating.
Other current projects, specifically the sewer design and the build out for Medeiros Farm Recreational Complex have other funding sources that have already been secured and earmarked:
|i.||Sewer Design||In 2021, the Town finalized an Intermunicipal Agreement with the Town of Somerset to tie into their wastewater collection system. The design portion of the sewer system has been funded with American Rescue Plan Act funds and is currently underway. The Town will work to utilize federal and state funding opportunities, including the State
Revolving Fund (SRF) or grant opportunities, to assist in financing the construction of
|ii.||Medeiros Farm Recreational Complex||The Town has recently completed a conceptual site plan for Medeiros Farm as we plan our a recreational complex. The plan identifies soccer fields, tennis/pickleball courts, disc golf, walking trails, playground, pavilion, skate park, temporary skating rink, and other amenities. The Town will not embark on building all of these features at once; rather, this document will be used as a guide to move forward and to apply for grant funding to fund such projects. The Town has successfully secured an earmark of $750,000 and begun planning, design and itemizing which aspects of this facility will be built first. The Swansea/Somerset Youth Soccer League has also been working with the Town to build soccer fields and has funds available to begin that process. The Town will continue to work with state and federal partners and to closely monitor grant programs to build out this very exciting recreational center. Community Preservation Act funds would also be sought in future years to continue future phases of this work.|
|iii.||School Feasibility Study||Requesting funding Fall 2023 Town Meeting; $2 million request to be certified free cash or direct taxation. A full finance plan will be presented prior to the vote after the necessary meetings with Advisory and Finance Committee take place this fall.|
Steadily increasing construction costs, costs for required repairs to address hazardous materials removal and accessibility issues in existing spaces, and additional costs for temporary or permanent space for municipal offices and Council on Aging programs will result in higher overall costs to the town.
Also, all four buildings included in this consolidation plan require repairs, remodels, and updates to existing infrastructure that are costly and cannot be completed while maintaining services to residents. Therefore, temporary space
and relocation would be required for any renovation or repairs to existing facilities.
After months of deliberation by the Capital Building Committee and several Town-owned and privately-held parcels were analyzed, the DelMac Orchard site was determined to be the most advantageous due to size, location, ownership, access, traffic, and development costs; See Capital Building Committee website for reports and recommendation: https://www.swanseama.gov/departments/town_administrator/capital_building_committee.php
It is anticipated that the Town Hall will be repurposed as a meeting space/Cultural+Historical Resources Center; that the Town Hall Annex will be demolished and subdivided into 2-3 private house lots while keeping the Animal Control Facility as-is on a separate Town-owned lot; and that the COA Facility will be sold to a private developer for re-use as a residential or mixed-use building.
A building that is sized to store all of the Highway Facility equipment will not fit on the current location due to constraints around the parcel. Additionally, the Highway Garage style proposed at the location of the current facility was voted down three times. The Fire Feasibility Study also found, through studying emergency and ambulance response data, that the current location of the Highway Department is ideal for a future fire station.
The owners of the Mall property responded to a request for proposals we put out for municipal office space. After negotiations and digging deeper into the proposal performing our due diligence, we found legal constraints that arose during negotiations with the selected vendor, which was the mall property. The Board of Selectmen issued a statement regarding this matter in October of 2021.
The By-law allowing municipal facilities to be exempt from zoning has been in place for 50 years, so the Town is eligible to place its buildings in residential areas. Except for Fire Station 4 and the Police Station, all town-owned buildings currently operate in residential areas. The parcel being proposed was selected, in part, because it is already town-owned and therefore would allow the town to avoid taking other parcels off of the tax rolls. Additionally, we aim for municipal buildings to be geographically centered and to have ease of access for all residents.
In 2019, the Town voted on whether to purchase this parcel of land. The Warrant Article specified “for the future use as a school expansion project, or any other municipal purpose”. The Capital Building Committee has insisted that the Municipal Complex proposal take the schools’ plans into account and is reviewing approvals with the school’s needs for a Middle School in mind. Layouts showcase the three fields requested by the School Department as well as a Middle School building, laid out based upon the square footage required for enrollment. The Middle School project will undergo a Feasibility Study in partnership with the Massachusetts School Building Authority after being accepted into the program earlier this year. Funding for the Feasibility Study is being requested under a separate warrant article at the November 6, 2023 Town Meeting.
No. The Fuel Depot will remain where it is currently being constructed on Gardners Neck Road.