By Bonnie Adams, Government Editor
Westborough – Voters approved $1.4 million at the Annual Town Meeting (ATM) March 19 for a design and bidding proposal for renovations at the Town Hall and the Forbes Municipal Building (FMB). The proposal would also incorporate plans for a new community recreation facility.
At the March 17 Special Town Meeting (STM), voters had denied a warrant article requesting $33 million for the actual renovations at both buildings and construction of a new community recreation facility.
Selectman George Barrette, who is also a member of the Municipal Building Committee, addressed the nearly 160 voters in attendance March 19.
“We heard the voters loud and clear,” he said. “Our new goal is to bring a new proposal to the fall STM.”
He added that the committee was receptive to listening to the community's suggestions and that residents were always welcome to attend any of the committee's meetings, all of which are posted ahead of time on the town's website and on the bulletin board in front of the Town Clerk's office.
At the ATM, voters also approved $158,569 from Free Cash and $41,431 of monies that were appropriated at the 2011 ATM to fund a feasibility study for renovations at the Sarah W. Gibbons Middle School.
Stephen Doret, a school committee member, presented an overview of the request to the voters. The Gibbons School was built in 1955 and because of its age, has a need for many repairs, including plumbing and a roof replacement, he said. The estimate for all of the needed repairs is $9.7 million. The good news for the town is if it follows a procedure established by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) it will be eligible for reimbursement of 43 to 46 percent of those costs from the MSBA.
Procedural requirements include establishing a study committee composed of various town residents and officials, and appropriating funds for an Owner Project Manager, cost estimates, and an architectural schematic.
The measure passed by a majority vote.
The voters also passed a number of Capital Improvement requests including: $69,500 for a Hurst Tool (Jaws of Life tool) for the Fire Department; $190,000 for a new ambulance; $4,800 for a new door at the Public Library; $55,000 for new carpeting at the Public Library; $88,000 for two new police cruisers; $70,000 for drainage maintenance and evaluation; $100,000 to replace a 1985 Mack 10 wheel truck for the Department of Public Works (DPW); $25,000 to replace a 2000 Ford Ranger pickup truck for the DPW); $15,000 for an engineering study of the Fisher Street Water Plant roof repair; $227,000 to replace a street sweeper; $55,000 to replace a 1984 Mack dump truck for the DPW; and $30,000 for survey work and road cuts at the new Nourse Street Cemetery.
All of the Capital Improvement articles passed by a majority vote.