Selectmen Back Plan for $1.7 Million for Department of Public Works Facility
Selectmen agreed to support article 12 on the Town Meeting warrant.
Selectmen last night agreed to recommend in favor of article 12 at the April 30 Town Meeting, which calls for a $1.7 million appropriation for the new Department of Public Works facility.
The new facility, which is currently being built on Alpha Road, needs an extra $1.7 million to pay for the second phase of construction. Of the $6.5 million already appropriated by Town Meeting for the facility, $1.4 million was left over after phase one construction, including securing the site, roof work, and interior office demolition.
Now, phase two costs are estimated at $3 million, according to Permanent Building Committee co-chairman Pat Maloney. Article 12 of Town Meeting ask for an appropriation of $1.7 million to pay for vehicle storage areas, office space for administration, workshop installation, and a salt storage facility.
The town's highway, parks, sewer and engineering departments will all be housed in the facility, said Town Manager Paul Cohen.
Town Finance Director John Sousa said a "few hundred thousand" of the $1.7 million can be paid for from unexpended bond proceeds from the town's previous school building projects.
"Whenever we issue debt, if we don’t expend it all, we can re-appropriate that to another project of similar time frame," said Sousa.
The $1.5 million left over, Sousa proposes, can come from the town's stabilization account knowing officials plan to deposit at least $1.8 million in free cash back into that account in October.
Currently, the town's stabilization account has about $7.9 million in it, Sousa said.
"We brought the account (from) a low of $1.2 million to around $7.9 million today, (which is about) 7.5 percent of the general operating budget," said Sousa. The state recommends keeping between 5 and 10 percent of the town's budget in stabilization. " Even with (the withdrawal), it'll bring us to 6.1 percent ... and we fully expect a few months later to replenish stabilization."
Selectmen Chairman Jon Kurland asked Sousa if the withdrawal could negatively affect the town's bond rating by Standard & Poor's.
"They'll see a positive trend for three consecutive years, even though they will see a withdrawal," said Sousa, adding he will give a presentation to Standard & Poor's on the matter and explain the situation. "We'll explain that (the money) will go back in."