May 7 2019

A Look at Town Government Capital Project Proposals

By: Rich Hosford

Starting next week Town Meeting will be voting on a wide variety of articles, some of which include significant amounts of funding.


One article on the warrant is the annual Capital Budget projects made up of requests from various departments for new equipment, vehicles or facilities and repairs to existing buildings or systems. In total this FY20 capital requests add up to $2,924,823 with $1,524,823 coming from the town side.


Some of the big ticket items on the town side were discussed at a recent Board of Selectmen meeting. There is also information about why they were included in the warrant backup material.


The town’s Management Information Systems is seeking $68,000 to install three new modules to the town’s financial software MUNIS. One of the modules is a simpler electronic filing system that will make document retrieval easier. The second will create a web portal that will enable town employees to access and print their documents like W-2 forms and paychecks. The third will enable a web portal that will allow residents to pull information like taxes, water bills and excise bills electronically.


The Town Clerk’s office is seeking $40,000 for the town website to keep it up to date and in working order.


The Police Department is seeking $32,279 to upgrade door security and cameras in the holding cells. They say the current analog cameras are outdated and that new digital ones would provide them with “virtually 100 percent” camera viewing coverage of the cells. For the door security they say they need a new FOB system that will work with an updated computer operating system.


The Fire Department is seeking two capital projects. The first is $22,752 for a one-time expense to upgrade the computer aided dispatch system to bring it up to date. The second is $15,296 to replace the current security camera system at Fire Station Headquarters. They say the current system is outdated and only working at 30 percent of its capacity.


The Department of Public Works (DPW) has a number of capital projects on the list.

The first is $42,000 to repair deteriorated concrete at the overflow in the Mill Pond Facility. This work will be in conjunction with the installation of an automated sediment removal system previously approved by Town Meeting.


DPW is also looking for $80,000 to fix a filter at the Vinebrook Water Treatment Plant. They say that although the long-term plan is to abandon the plant when the town links to the MWRA that is still a ways off and in the meantime they need to keep it up and running at as much capacity as possible to meet demand. This is especially true during the summer months when water usage increases.


The DPW also has a proposal for $200,000 for culvert/stream cleaning and drainage repairs. This has been ongoing since 2001 and this year the department is focusing on a stream that runs from Cedar Street to Eastern AVenue and to repair a drainline on Carey Avenue.


The DPW is also seeking $480,250 for its vehicle replacement program to replace old and out of date pieces of equipment. They say they need to replace a 2001 sander truck that has over 80,000 miles, a front end loader that is 22 years old and a Buildings and Cemeteries truck that has 150,000 miles.


The DPW has a proposal for $220,000 to repair the roof at the Burlington Public Library that has been experiencing leaks due to age. The roof is the original to the building built in 1995.


The DPW is also asking for $50,000 to fix the elevator controls in the Burlington Police Department that have been experiencing issues due to age.


A final DPW capital project listed in the warrant for $30,000 for a shed to house historic Burlington items will be withdrawn, according to Town Accountant John Danizio at a recent Board of Selectmen meeting.


The Board of Health is asking for $24,245 to replace a vehicle used for a variety of purposes, including attending meetings, trainings and conferences as well as field inspections and transporting supplies to events. It is also for emergency purposes.


Finally the Recreation Department is seeking $220,000 to replace the electrical system for the lights at the Simonds Park tennis courts and skate park. According to the back-up material the current light system was damaged during a repaving project and a repair was made. During the repair it was discovered that the electrical system had deteriorated and was unsafe to continue to operate and that the entire system would have to be replaced.


BNEWS will have a comprehensive look at the School Department capital project requests tomorrow.



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