DALLAS TWP. — The township’s municipal offices will not be moving into the former Hildebrandt Learning Center in Dallas Borough.
Last year, the supervisors pursued a sales agreement to purchase the former childcare headquarters for $1.3 million. At a meeting Monday night, they killed the deal.
The township supervisors voted 2-0 to rescind their decision to buy the building, with Supervisor Chairman Frank Wagner and Supervisor Robert Wagner voting against the move.
Supervisor Vice Chairman William Grant abstained due to his prior involvement with Hildebrandt Leasing LLC. Grant divested himself from the company in May 2015.
“The municipal building should be centrally located in the township,” Frank Wagner said.
The two-hour meeting was standing room only, as township residents came to hear the dollars and cents behind last year’s decision to pursue a purchase the former childcare center offices at 105 Lt. Michael Cleary Drive, as well as a comparative cost analysis for renovating the existing municipal building.
“The numbers are very close,” Grant said.
The three-floor, 8,136-square-foot building required renovation to the basement to meet the needs of the township police department. A long-term goal was to combine Dallas Township and Dallas Borough’s police forces under one roof, Grant said.
The main floor would have housed municipal offices for the secretary, zoning and code enforcement officer, police chief and a public meeting room.
State Rep. Karen Boback, R-Harveys Lake, would have leased 1,000-square-foot office space on the third floor for $12,000 a year, Grant said.
The cost of purchasing and renovating the building would have totaled $1.97 million, and would have been partially funded through a $1 million USDA loan with a fixed rate of 3.75 percent over 35 years. The remaining costs would have been funded out of a $3 million surplus held by the township, Grant said.
The township’s annual payment would be $51,340.
But township engineer Ryan Doughton estimated the cost to expand the current 4,182-square-foot municipal building at $1.6 to $1.8 million.
The cost to finance the remodelling through conventional funding would result in a 4.25 percent fixed interest rate 10-year loan, Grant said. The annual payment would be $65,008, he said.
Many residents voiced their support for the new building purchase, and several noted that at first, they were against the idea, but after hearing the facts have changed their minds.
Township resident Jan Goeringer admitted she signed a petition against purchasing the property.
“I was told our taxes would go up, but that is not what I heard here tonight,” Goeringer said.
Robert Wagner felt he made the right move.
“I am standing by what the people voted me in for,” he said. “I spoke to a lot more people than those who came to the meeting.”
Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.