Budget Committee Town Meetings

RCL Notes of the January 12, 2017 Budget Committee Public Hearing

1.  The Budget Committee voted 6-1 in favor of recommending the $80,000 warrant article to advance the Recreation Community Center design.  Peggy Balboni voted against, citing the unused space at the Junior High and the need for an overall plan for Town facilities (7:53 elapsed).
2.  A resident expressed opposition to the $3.4 million Selectmen’s warrant article to tear down and rebuild Town Hall.  He said that it is way too much money.  There is a savings of only about $700,000 relative to the $4.1 million warrant article voted down two years ago.  The size is being reduced from 12,500 to 8000 sq. ft.  The value of this option is much less than it was two years earlier for a number of reasons.  It is not architecturally subservient as the addition is too high, he said (45:48 elapsed).
3.  The same resident said that the Heritage Commission’s $3.2 million article to renovate Town Hall is a superior option, but has the same issue with respect to the subservience.  It is also too much money but he does not want the Town Hall torn down (48:33 elapsed).
4.  The Public Works director asserted that the dump/plow truck to be replaced has between 60,000 and 80,000 miles on it notwithstanding the figure of 25,500 miles that appears in the 2017-2022 CIP Plan.  He stated that the truck had some rough years at the beginning as it had been bought off of a lot and was not set up to plow (50:30 elapsed).
5.  Town Administrator Magnant explained the reason for the increase figures for the collective bargaining agreements being nearly twice those of three years earlier.  He said that the health care stipends are included.  There are cost savings that far exceed the cost to the town of the stipends, he said (52:30 elapsed).
6.  One of the signers of the petitioned warrant article to provide $500,000 to repair and refurbish Town Hall in the event that the two bond articles both fail to pass spoke in support.  He said that the project two years earlier had gotten off track after the determination was made that the building had to be brought fully up to code given the magnitude of the expansion.  Five years earlier, the Space Needs Committee had determined that 10,500 sq. ft. was needed, and that the cost would be $2.1 million.  Although the space need has been reduced below that (Rec., Sewer and the Great Hall were removed), the cost is much higher than the Committee, of which Budget Committee Chairman was a member, determined should be needed.  The Town is not willing to spend more than $2 million according to the survey.  Only 15 percent want to tear down the Town Hall, while 60 percent want to keep it.  This is the one option that has a chance of passing this year.  It will not do every last thing that needs to be done with Town Hall but it is the only option that can move the project forward this year, he said.  He asked that the Budget Committee reconsider its vote not to recommend the article (97:47 elapsed).