Andover city staff will be reporting back to the City Council on Tuesday on their efforts to whittle costs from a big-ticket plan to expand the community center.
The $18.9 million proposal has left many in the north metro city of 32,000 with sticker shock and spurred some to push for a referendum.
The project has previously split the City Council, which voted 3-2 in October to move forward while directing staffers to cut costs. The expansion could add spaces for teens and seniors to gather, more meeting rooms, a sports gym, an indoor walking track and a new arena for ice and turf sports.
An $18.9 million budget would result in a property tax hike of about $113 for owners of a $250,000 house, the median value in town.
City officials have said they want to limit the tax increase to no more than $100 for the average homeowner, which means shaving just over $2 million from the price tag.
Staffers will update City Council members Tuesday on their work to trim the budget in areas like lighting, plumbing and landscaping, while keeping the main project components intact.
Some residents have been pressing for a public vote, arguing that the proposed expansion mostly benefits certain groups in Andover, such as the hockey community.
The new arena accounts for about $11 million of the estimated $18.9 million budget. The Andover Hockey Association has indicated interest in pitching in $500,000 toward the arena.
“It benefits just a small percentage of the community,” said Angie Sedesky, an Andover resident who supports a referendum.
A group of residents is planning to present a petition at Tuesday’s meeting that urges the City Council to let voters chime in on the expansion, Sedesky said.
The project is part of a broader master plan for Andover’s City Hall campus as well as the community center, which is run in concert with the YMCA.