Deliberative Session set for Jan. 30

MILFORD – The town Deliberative Session is this Saturday, and leading the warrant for the second year in a row is a $5.6 mil­lion article for a new pub­lic library building.

Last year, the same plan failed to get the necessary 60 percent majority, with a vote of 1,188 no to 953 yes.

Library officials say the building has serious de­ficiencies that would re­quire expensive renova­tions, and a new building, planned at 21,000 square feet and two stories, is the most cost-effective solu­tion.

Library trustees told se­lectmen last month they are frustrated the project keeps being put off, while other town facilities, such as the new police station and the new ambulance service building, are giv­en higher priority.

Another facility bond might be on the horizon. On the warrant this year is an article for $25,000 for architect fees for a fire station renovation.

"We’ve worked very hard over several years" to come up with the best plan, Wadleigh Memo­rial Library Director Mi­chelle Sampson said by phone on Monday.

Other town officials, however, say that while the library is in bad shape, other needs take priority. Selectmen and a divided Advisory Bud­get Committee both voted this month not to support the project, which would have an estimated tax im­pact of 33 cents per thou­sand.

The town’s proposed operating budget of $13.9 million is 2.3 percent higher than the current spending plan, a default budget. The 2016 budget is supported by the bud­get committee 7-2.

Once again, selectmen are trying to get town approval to take earth material from the Brox property. A similar ar­ticle failed last year. This one asks for autho­rization to sell materials from about 43 acres in the southern "commu­nity lands" section of the town-owned property. The budget committee did not vote on it be­cause it has no direct tax impact.

Also on the warrant is another bond article from last year that failed to get the required 60 per­cent majority: $216,000 for a storm sewer video inspection system.

One-third of the cost of the system is expected to be covered by the state Department of Environ­mental Services when the project is complete. Of­ficials say the equipment would allow the town to meet federal stormwater requirements more ef­ficiently and cost-effec­tively.

There are three pub­lic works vehicles on the warrant: a sidewalk trac­tor plow with a sander, a dump truck and a tractor-backhoe-loader. Each would be bought with a five-year lease purchase plan.

Also among the 32 war­rant articles is one for $40,000 for selectmen to oppose the Northeast En­ergy Direct gas pipeline and another for $350,000 to add to the bridge re­placement capital re­serve fund.

Articles with no tax impact include petitions asking residents to vote on the gas pipeline and approve the sale of a por­tion of the Brox property.

The Deliberative Ses­sion, at which voters can debate and amend the ar­ticles, will start at 9 a.m. in the Town Hall Audito­rium.

Election Day is Tues­day, March 8.