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.