Finance board recommends bonded capital as is

The Board of Finance has endorsed both bonded capital projects proposed by the Board of Selectmen for fiscal year 2017, and will recommend both for approval at the Annual Town Meeting on May 3.

The two projects are the fifth year of the five-year road restoration project for $1,800,000, and replacing Fujitani Field for $650,000. Taken together, that’s $2.45 million in bonded capital.

At the Board of Finance’s capital meeting on April 7, board members asked First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice some final questions ahead of the Town Meeting.

Finance chair Jeff Rutishauser inquired about the field — “$650,000, do we have it as a positional order? Because I hear that a lot of people are really interested in this field, and it takes some installation, so do we have a positional order on it, or a fixed price for a period of time?” he said.

“We have a fixed price,” Vanderslice said, “and the idea is that we get going on it.

“If the bonding is approved, then we’re going to be ready to go. They’ve already met with the various vendors. The whole selection process has already occurred, so this price is good for this summer. The idea is, on July 5, you start the installation,” she said.

“Remind me,” said John Kalamarides, “what the plan is going forward to prefund having to replace this in another 10 years.”

“I gave a proposal to the Board of Selectmen but we haven’t talked about it yet,” Vanderslice said. “It’s basically half of the money comes from the revenue from the rentals of the field, and the other half is going to come through private money, fund raising.”

“Would you do the same for the Lilly field in 2019?” Kalamarides also asked.

“Exactly,” replied Vanderslice.

“I really like the idea of a separate fund, and funding half from revenues. It’s a great idea,” said Richard Creeth.

Asked about future items on the five-year capital plan, Vanderslice said, “I think we need to take a big-picture look at everything.”

When asked specifically to weigh in on talked-about improvements to Wilton’s police station, she said, “We haven’t decided anything about the police station.”

“Somebody came in two years ago and put together what the ideal would be in terms of size of a building and what you would need, and that’s pretty much all that’s been done.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do. There’s no decision that we’re building a new police station, versus renovating the current police station. Everything is on the table,” Vanderslice said.

She added, “We want to get ahead of this, because we’ve got a lot of buildings that need work.”

“[The police station] needs work, the annex — there’s a lot of deficiencies in that building; there are places that are overcrowded, like the annex, and then you have excess space up at Comstock, for example,” Vanderslice said.

“We need to look at everything we own and come up with a long-term plan,” she said.

After inquiries were over, the Board of Finance resolved by unanimous vote to recommend both bonding authorizations to voters at the Town Meeting.

The Annual Town Meeting to discuss the budget will take place on Tuesday, May 3, at 7:30 p.m. at Middlebrook School, with voting following the meeting. Residents may also take part in the adjourned vote on Saturday, May 7, from 9 to 6 at the Clune Center.

Both bonding authorizations will be voted on individually by citizens. They will pass or fail on an up-or-down vote.