By K.B. Sherman, Contributing Writer
Grafton – Paul Cournoyer, superintendent of sewers for Grafton, met with the Board of Selectmen Jan. 19 to present a progress report on upgrading the town’s wastewater treatment plant.
He noted that the improvement program began about four years ago and is currently coming in about $9 million below initial estimates. The improvement plan is based upon a 2014 forecast of the town’s needs through 2034. Savings to date are due to lower-than-expected loan interest rates and a reduction in some of the initial estimates. Replying to a question from Selectman Bruce Spinney, Cournoyer said that the project update will be presented to the town at the spring Town Meeting. Cournoyer also stated that the process so far has been smoother and more pleasant than has been the case with other town projects largely because of good planning and support from town voters and officials.
The new plant’s initial cost estimate was for $49 million – $22 million for upgrade due to increased demands on existing facilities and another $27 million for projected new construction and use. Although the engineering cost estimate was lowered to $35 million, Walsh Construction won the contract with a bid of $29.9 million. The contract was executed in December 2015, with a construction completion set for March 2018. A $22 million loan has been secured at 0 percent interest and a second of $18.1 million at just 2 percent.
In other business, Jen Anderson, director of recreation, updated the board on the proposed 2016 schedule for use of town recreation facilities and explained the new cost structure. While past activities have often lost money for the town, the new schedule should produce a surplus of at least $2,400 for the year. Daily and seasonal fees will still be divided between town residents and non-residents as has been the case in the past, with non-residents paying more. As has also been the case in the past, Grafton’s fees will remain in line with those of surrounding communities.
Boulevard Street, which passes behind 1 Grafton Common and in front of Jordan’s Garage, was unanimously approved by the board to be renamed George Jordan Jr. Road. Jordan was killed in the final days of World War II and the renaming is a tribute to that town soldier.
The application for a liquor license renewal for Town Dairy generated considerable discussion. The town did not issue the license that expired Dec. 31, and the board had trouble with the application to renew. First suggested by the board was to approve under protest, giving the decision to the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC). This would, said town counsel, give the business its license but leave to Grafton the power to enforce it. The fact that no one from Town Dairy had attended this night’s meeting was also mentioned negatively as a consideration. After considerable discussion, Selectman Dennis Flynn moved to not issue the license while pursuing a solution to such a problem through the state legislature/ABCC. This motion was approved unanimously.