GILFORD — Selectmen voted unanimously last night to spend $154,920 to purchase two new dispatch consoles for the police station expansion project — putting the project $90,000 over budget.
Police Chief Anthony Bean Burpee told selectmen that the amount of money in the $169,000 federal grant to build a communications center and pay for two dispatch consoles is about $90,000 less than it will take to complete the project
Bean Burpee said he met with Ossipee Mountain Electric recently and learned that replacing the two old dispatch consoles with two new ones will cost $154,940. The amount of the grant that can be used for the new dispatch center is $64,280.
Saying the architect "grossly underestimated" the cost of the dispatch center, Bean Burpee came to selectmen to learn how he should proceed.
The new police station was passed at the March 2014 annual town meeting at a price tag of $1.2 million that included the $169,000 federal project. There was a delay in the start date of the construction because the initial bids were far greater than the approved amounts but after negotiations with the lowest bidder one was accepted.
Construction began in April but was delayed when the contractors had to remove additional amounts of ledge at an additional cost of $17,511. Because of the terms of the federal grant, obtained through the state from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, funds must be spent by September 30 or the end of the federal fiscal year.
Bean Burpee said the furniture had been pre-ordered but he and representatives from Ossipee Mountain have just finished the bid specifics for the dispatch center. He said the department needs two consoles because of Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook, the Timberman Triathlon, and other events as well as for emergencies. He also said the two existing consoles are outdated and difficult to find parts for. He said the department can't buy one new one and use one old one because the technology can't be integrated.
Town Administrator Scott Dunn said the consoles could be leased and paid for from next year's budget or they could try to find the money in this year's town spending plan. He also said they could petition the N.H. Department of Revenue to use money from the existing surplus but warned selectmen that it's very difficult to get the special dispensation for an emergency.
Selectman Chan Eddy said staying with the old equipment is "buying trouble" and supported getting it done this year as did Selectman Richard Grenier, who noted that he felt they were letting down the voters who gave the town permission to spend $1.2 million and not more.
Chair Gus Benavides said he would support getting it done this year but would not support petitioning the state for using the existing surplus.
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