The town of Hope is putting their plans for a new town hall on the back burner.
The current town offices are in a pole-barn like building that is not ADA accessible, has poor heating and cooling due to a lack of insulation and has seriously outdated bathrooms. It was originally built in the 1970s as a garage.
A study committee received a recommendation from consultants that the town needs a $2 million to $2 and a half million dollars building to meet the current and future needs. But the only funding identified would be a possible 40-year-loan through the federal government, says Trena Carter with Administrative Resources Association, who advises Hope on grant and funding opportunities.
“Basically when you are dealing with a town hall or a city hall, federal funds — the community development block grant funds — it is not an eligible expense,” Carter said. “So therefore, the USDA has a community facilities program that will fund that but but it is basically a loan program, there is no grant that is associated with a community facility like this.”
Clerk-Treasurer Diane Burton put together a three-year budget to show the council what payments would look like or even a slimmed down proposal.
“With the fact that making payments for 40 years is kind of a scary thing, something that we thought might be helpful is for the next three years to just set aside those (funds) as if you were making those monthly payments,” Burton said.
“That would kind of show us that ‘Hey, we have done this for three years and it hasn’t been a problem for the town do that.’ Plus it is setting money aside that we can try to use to knock down that balance. Now, in three years and if you say I don’t think this is a good idea. Or perhaps there is a struggle those payments, then you can use those funds for something else. It is not like it has to be used for a Town Hall.”
But council members said they could not see working on the project now when there are more pressing needs such as major sewer repairs.
Council members also said they did not want to burden future generations with a 40 year loan.