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Proposed new municipal building cost increase

Susan Prasse

(12/15) The debate over Carroll Valley’s proposed municipal building continued at the borough council meeting December 9th. The building itself as a whole is being proposed at 13,400 square feet. The area designation for police operations would comprise around 3,327 square feet. The new building would also house municipal government operations, community resources, and a library. The design also calls for outdoor amenities including a stage. The newest version of the proposal included an estimated total cost of $3.15 million, up from the original estimate of $2.5 million.

The new number met with growing disapproval from those gathered in the meeting. "We don’t need a Taj Mahal," said resident Tom Wolf, who wondered about the amount of money afforded the new building and those associated with it. Another concern raised by those at the meeting was the source of funding for the building, as the council had just passed the 2015 budget with no tax increases.

Still in the preliminary stages, the proposed building plans largely depend on a "project specific" grant from Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) totaling $2.1 million. Borough Manager Dave Hazlett said that although the borough will apply for the full amount, it is entirely up to RACP how much they could receive. "This is a long and detailed process with very rough estimates," said Hazlett. Funding for the project would be accomplished through existing cash on hand, grants, and possible borrowing.

Many of those attending were also concerned about the building’s "excessive" features. This sparked another discussion about removing the library from the proposed plan. Members of both the council and the public debated whether the library’s inclusion would be cost-effective. Several council members said that it would be a "tenant," paying its own maintenance and utilities.

The issue of the library’s inclusion is paramount in the wake of the RACP’s announcement of their grant application window this week, as it was suggested that inclusion of the library offered a better chance of securing the grant. Applications will be accepted from Jan. 9 to Feb. 9, putting pressure on the council to offer a solid plan within a month’s time.

Because of the uncertainty of what exactly was needed before the application deadline, Borough Manager David Hazlett proposed a postponement to obtain the correct information. In previous meetings, Mayor Ronald Harris has often pointed out the need for a new borough office due to the degraded condition of the existing building, which has been plagued with roof leaks, flooding, wood rot, and diminishing available office and storage space. A public meeting for this topic will be held on January 7, at 7pm at the Borough Office.

Other news - the Borough is currently accepting applications for residents interested in serving on the Carroll Valley Borough Planning Commission. Any questions regarding the process, or requests for more specific information should be directed to the Borough of Carroll Valley, 717-642-8269. All applications will be reviewed on January 5. The Borough Council will consider applications for the vacancy on January 13.

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