May 17 2016
Town Meeting Approves $4.7 Million in Capital Expenditures
By: Rich Hosford
Town Meeting spent the first part of Monday night discussing and voting on Capital Budget articles.
All of the proposed expenditures were approved for a total of $ 4,787,883.
Most of the capital expenditures were funded from free cash, Ways & Means Chair William Beyer explained. He said the town typically wants to carry over $3.5 million from one year into the next and this year the town had more than normal. This allowed the town to use $3 million to fund paving where normally it would bond out that expense.
Some of the bigger expenditures were $200,000 for stream cleaning and drainage repair (necessary to meet state environmental standards), $410,000 for Department of Public Works (DPW) vehicles and $595,000 to replace the roof at Pine Glen Elementary School.
Some articles garnered more discussion and debate than others.
An article to spend $24,000 to repaint the town’s Museum was thoroughly discussed. Some members asked if it was necessary to do it now and others questioned the high price.
Town Administrator John Petrin and DPW Director John Sanchez said the high price was because the current paint contains lead and so they need to hire certified workers and pay for the lead removal process.
There was also an article to spend $110,000 for a renovation of Regan Park’s playground that some members questioned.
Recreation Department Director Brendan Egan said the current playground has a sand surface, meaning that it is not handicap accessible. The new surface would be accessible, something they are trying to update at all of their parks and playgrounds.
Town Meeting members who lived in the area said the playground is popular among children and argued the renovation should be approved. In the end, like all the other expenditures, it was.
Three of the capital expenditures were paid for from the sewer enterprise fund.
Town Meeting voted to approve $250,000 from that fund for a sewer pump rehabilitation and $700,000 to fix the sewer main in the area of Wayside Road.
The biggest expense in this batch was $1,450,000 for the Lucaya Pump Station and the force main connected to it. This station had been having difficulties for a while now, Sanchez said, but about a week and a half ago it failed. He said the department had to do an emergency bypass costing $150,000 to temporarily fix the problem. If they didn’t, he explained, they faced a scenario where sewage could have backed up into people’s homes and come out of their drains.
“Thankfully we’ve been able to temporarily solve the issue,” he said.
Not wishing to face that potential disaster Town Meeting voted to approve the expense to fix the problem.