Today we continue our look at the questions voters will tackle at Town Meeting next week with a rundown of the various capital requests. Should the town purchase a new ambulance to replace an aging one? New police cars? A generator for the Senior Center? You get to decide next week.
Capital items are generally handled in a single article – this year Article 11 – separate from the operational budgets. Here’s a look at the items on the capital request list this year.
- Senior Center generator ($152,000) – For emergency purposes, a reimbursement grant will help offset 75% of the cost.
- Facilities maintenance fund ($29,000) – For repairs and improvements to town buildings not covered by the operating budget.
- Trottier electrical ($30,000) – For electrical upgrades that would allow Trottier to be used as an emergency shelter.
- New ambulance and fire department gear ($299,026) – This is actually three line items that I have combined here into one. It covers a new ambulance ($200,00) and miscellaneous gear for the Fire Department. The sum would be paid through the ambulance fund, not through a tax levy. Fire Chief Joe Mauro said the department’s capital plan calls for replacing ambulances after ten years. The one slated now to be replaced is unreliable and has had maintenance issues, including breaking down during calls, Mauro said.
- Assessors inspections ($62,200) – To fund a DOR required re-inspection program for real estate parcels. The sum would be funded through the overlay account.
- Police cruisers and lockers ($114,800) – The Police Department is requesting $76,800 to replace two cruisers according to their regular replacement schedule. They also want to replace lockers in the police station for $38,000. Police Chief Jane Moran said the current lockers are old and deteriorating, and cannot accommodate the gear officers are now required to carried.
- Phone system ($17,600) – To replace the town’s 14-year-old phone system.
- DPW equipment and repair ($207,500) – To replace a 2003 dump sander that no longer has replacement parts available ($200,00), and to repair a cemetery dump truck ($7,500).
- DPW roads ($300,000) – The annual request for road maintenance in conjunction with Chapter 90 state funding for roads.
The Board of Selectmen has voted to support all of the requests at Town Meeting. As of mid-March, Advisory had voted in favor of a majority of the items, but was still considering a couple of the requests including the replacement ambulance. Advisory has been meeting regularly in the run-up to Town Meeting, and may have voted on the remaining items at this point, but I haven’t heard. They’ll announce their support (or not) on the floor of Town Meeting.
So, what do you think of this year’s list? Are there any items you’re wondering about? Share your thoughts in the comments below.