The Town of Halifax will hold a special town meeting on Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at 7:30pm in the Multi-Purpose Room in the Halifax Elementary School. The warrant includes the following articles: two articles authorizing borrowing for repairs to the Elementary School, one for $7,262,124 for work on the roof, windows, doors, siding, and trees, the other for $687,876 for work on the fire suppression system and security system. The other articles include a change in the zoning by-law regarding commercial indoor or outdoor amusements, two concerning a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes)
for a solar farm on Summit Street, a non-binding article concerning the possible sale of land by the Silver Lake Regional School District to the Town of Kingston for a police station in Kingston, a proposed change, dealing with pay while serving in the military, in the contract with firefighters, and acceptance of a State statute regarding the opening of Town departments on Saturday.
In connection with the two proposed articles concerning repairs to the Elementary School, the Town will hold a public presentation concerning the project on Wednesday, February 15 at 7pm in the Multi-Purpose Room of the Elementary School.
Approval of the two appropriations for the school project is contingent upon approval of debt exclusions for this project. The debt exclusions will be on the ballot at a special town election on Saturday, March 11 from 10am to 6pm at the Halifax Elementary School Gym.
If approved, the Town will receive approximately $3,472,607 from the Massachusetts School Building Authority to help fund the project. The remaining amount, $4,477,393 would be paid through a 20-year bond. The cost of the bond would increase the tax rate by $0.4946 and the additional taxes on a median value house would be $147.25. These amounts would decrease in subsequent years. At the end of the 20-year bond, these amounts would no longer be included in the tax rate.
These repairs have been proposed because of the age of these parts of the school. The roof was last replaced when the last addition was constructed back in 1993-1994. The windows and doors that will be replaced are either older than that or can be significantly improved with modern models. A tour of the outside of the siding will show significant decay. The trees in the courtyard need to be removed as part of the work on the roof. The fire suppression system is leaking in a number of places. The security system needs to be updated to meet the standards set in the other school buildings in the district.
The Town Meeting is scheduled for next month so that if the school repair project is approved, the work can begin this summer. If the Town waited until May to approve the project, then the work would have to wait until the summer of 2018.