Wilton finance board approves nearly $4M track and road bonds

WILTON — The Board of Finance has given the go ahead to bond nearly $4 million for two capital projects.

The board voted Tuesday to authorize bonding up to $1,225,000 for replacement of the Wilton High School stadium track, and $2,752,000 for road paving for the 2021 calendar year.

The vote followed the Board of Selectmen’s approval of the projects from the previous night.

Both bond proposals will go out to bid in January, First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice said.

“This is a unique opportunity with very low interest rates at this time,” finance board chairman Jeff Rutishauser said.

The plan for the high school stadium track calls for it to be fully replaced following years of deterioration, repairs and patches.

“The track was to be approved at the 2019 town meeting, but the Board of Selectmen decided to delay it because of uncertainty of school regionalization,” Vanderslice told the finance board. “So we decided to do repair work and wait a year. The track is past its useful life.”

The track will be used by students for track and athletic events, and is also popular with town residents who like to jog and walk on it.

“During COVID, a lot more people are using the track,” Vanderslice said.

The track will be replaced by a new Beynon 300 Track, which has been designed to International Amateur Athletic Foundation standards and has a 20- to 25-year life expectancy, Parks and Recreation Director Steve Pierce said at a recent tri-board meeting.

Bids for the track replacement are to include three prices: one for a red-colored track, the least expensive option estimated at $1.115 million; one for a blue track for an additional $85,031.22; and one for a blue track with gray exchange lines which would run $22,000 more than an all-blue track.

After reviewing the bids, the Parks and Recreation Commission will make a recommendation to the selectmen for their final approval.

The $2.752 million road paving project covers 11 miles of road paving in 2021, drainage repairs, catch basin materials and cleaning, roadway materials, and disposal.

The total cost of this project is estimated at $3.381 million, plus an additional $400,000 for remaining 2020 road work. The costs will be offset by $1.029 million from the remaining road paving budget, bringing the total bond request to $2.752 million.

By next spring, the town will have paved more than 15 miles of roads, “the largest ever in a single year,” Vanderslice said.

With Wilton taxpayers facing a potential 4.8-percent mill rate tax hike in next year’s budget, bonding the track and road paving projects could possibly offset part of that increase by removing those expenses from the budget.