Voting 4-1, Lincolnville selectmen agreed Monday evening, Sept. 26 to get cost estimates for renovating and expanding the town office, with a deadline of Nov. 28.

The decision was made following an executive session held earlier in the evening with the town attorney, via phone, to consult about the board’s “legal rights and duties” regarding the possible renovation of the town office.

The vote occurred later in the public portion of the meeting when the selectmen resumed discussion about recommendations from the Municipal Building Committee concerning the future of the town office. Two weeks ago, the committee appealed to the selectmen to make a decision and end a four-year debate about public access issues at the town office and expanding its cramped quarters.

Selectman Rosey Gerry voted against the motion, saying the town should first look at the former Dean and Eugley property in the Center before moving down the proposed expansion path. He said the selectmen agreed to assess the Dean and Eugley site at the last board meeting and urged his colleagues to “follow through with what we said we were going to do. I would like just to look at that.”

Gerry said the town needs to “do something that really looks good” with that site. He also raised concerns about the quality and appropriateness of a possible expansion.

“Let’s not build a little addition that will be outgrown,” he said. “I want to make sure we have pursued all the avenues.”

That included the possibility of building a new town office on the existing Route 235 site.

“I think we could build a really nice facility for a little over half a million dollars,” he said. “I’m not going to vote to put a dinky little addition on this building.”

Selectman David Barrows said he held reservations about the Dean and Eugley site, its environmental history and whether it would support infrastructure. Selectman Julia Libby agreed, as did Selectman Stacey Parra, who said the original expansion plans for the town office are worthwhile. She advocated for the town to have its own meeting room, with camera equipment left permanently set up.

Board Chairman Jason Trundy agreed, saying the town is at the point when it should do something for the town office.

With the final vote, Gerry said: “We’ll see what happens. I just don’t want to see any mistakes.”

In March 2010, the selectmen asked the committee, which had been busy requisitioning contractors for a new fire station, to turn attention back to the town office project. The selectmen figured that lower interest rates and recession-priced construction costs signaled the right time to jump-start the process. They asked the committee to reexamine options for the town office.

Last October, the committee cited current building code compliance of the town office and delivered dim prospects for expanding both into the basement and the second floor. The codes result from the Americans with Disabilities Act, Maine Human Rights Act, International Building Code and the National Fire Protection Life Safety Code. Instead, the committee suggested building two wings on the existing town office to provide more work space for staff, as well as a meeting room.