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New Mendon Police Station Dealing with Rising Construction Costs

The Mendon Board of Selectmen met jointly with the Police Station Building Committee on August 20 to provide the Selectmen the latest plans involving the new police headquarters.

At a June meeting, the Committee announced the latest plans showed an increase of $1.2 million over the approved $5 million budget. The unexpected discovery of unsuitable soils, as well as increases in site work and renovations costs contributed to the new price tag.

Since then, the Committee has been researching other options hoping to bridge the increased gap. According to Committee member Don Morin, the different design options were reviewed and included scaled down versions of the previous designs.

However, it was realized those options would not meet the needs of the current department let alone any future needs. "We want this to be a 50-year building," Morin stated in an interview after the meeting. "Our goal is to build the right building."

Another option (Option H) was then recommended that would build a 9,025 square foot police station but remove some aspects such as a secondary access road and fitness room as well as reduce the overall size versus another option. In addition, a list of bid alternates is included as part of Option H. The price tag is $6.23 million.

Contributing to the financial issues are the increases in labor and materials that have skyrocketed since the $5 million funding was approved in 2017. For example, Morin stated the station's electrical costs were initially estimated at $37 per

square foot in March 2017; those are now estimated at $106 per square foot. "We're hoping that's a very conservative estimate and will go down but the estimator told us to plan for it," said Morin. "But everyone is going through this, Mendon isn't alone."

The same rising construction costs seem to be affecting other municipal projects, including a library renovation project in Falmouth. Due to increased construction prices, the Falmouth Library Trustees are seeking $1 million more than the $5.6 million already allocated for the project.

Different funding options for the police station increase were discussed including borrowing from stabilization. "I realized afterward that we can't do that. It would demolish stabilization down to zero," said Selectman Rich Schofield after the meeting. An expansion of the existing $5 million

debt exclusion was also discussed. "I'm absolutely not in favor of doing that," said Schofield. "My personal approach is to construct with the money allocated." Taking out ten, one-year notes using available funds under the existing levy limit could also be an option.

Ultimately, the Selectmen approved the Committee's recommendation to place Option H out to bid with the bid alternates included. In addition, as a safeguard, a placeholder for a warrant article on the November Special Town Meeting was

also approved concerning a possible

debt exclusion. The Committee and the Selectmen were planning to meet again on September 6.


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