Hanson has changed the method of finance for the new Elementary School project, decreasing the annual tax burden on residents.
Board of Selectmen Chair Jim Egan said they bonded out for 25 years instead of 20, decreasing the annual tax burden by about $200.
Egan discussed some logistical fixes for the approaching Special Town Meeting. “The January 25th Town Meeting will take place at the High School Performing Arts Center,” he said. He added that the room holds 975 people.
This change of location will solve the problem of having residents in two separate rooms, as occurred at the Special Town Meeting in October.
Egan added that there are other changes in the works: a possible shuttle service in the parking lot and babysitting options, to solve parking problems and the late-night vote back in October.
The town held a two-hour panel discussion at the Middle School last night. Questions included topics such as the tax impact, the educational value of a new school, and if doing “nothing” is an option.
Selectmen Chair Jim Egan commented on the tax impact. “Probably the single most important change was the method of finance,” he said.
Ellen M. Stockdale, Assistant Superintendant of Teaching and Learning for the Whitman-Hanson Regional School District, explained the educational values. “You won’t have the flooding, the movement of classrooms, ” she said, “There are so many reasons and I think of every day I would go to the building as the building principal and my question would be: what isn’t going to work today?”
Egan is hopeful for a positive vote this time around. “I, as an individual, I’m very concerned about putting that kind of money into either one of those two buildings,” he said, “That doesn’t remedy the situation…I hope townspeople understand that the most sane solution to this whole issue is to build a new building.”
The Indian Head and Maquan Schools are over 50 years old, and the entire panel agreed that building a brand new school is the most economically sound option.
Egan added that “doing nothing” is not an option. “We have to do something,” he said. The panel encouraged residents to continue to ask questions in order to make informed votes based on facts and information.