By Keith Regan, Contributing Writer
Northborough—Ahead of a planned meeting with the town’s legislative delegation next month, the Board of Selectmen laid out its priorities from state government for the coming year, many of which have been on the board’s wish list for several years.
Several of the priorities the board discussed at its meeting Feb. 22 focus on state funding, including Chapter 90 roadway construction funds.
Town Administrator John Coderre noted that the town’s pavement management plan requires investing $1.1 million annually to keep roads at their current rating of 71, or average condition. In order to reach that level, the town needs an additional $300,000 from the state—or to consider allocating funds from the town’s long-range capital budget.
“We know if we don’t invest that much, we’ll fall behind,” Coderre said. “We have a plan but it requires the state doing their share.”
State officials have said they will release $200 million for communities in the program this year, but Northborough is hoping for an additional $100 million will be added in the coming fiscal year.
The town is also concerned about special education funding, specifically so-called circuit breaker funds. Representatives of the school district will be on hand when lawmakers appear before the board on Monday, March 14.
Town officials are also concerned about the potential impacts of looming public records reform, some of which require communities to fulfill records requests at no charge.
“It’s not only an unfunded mandate, but it could lend itself to abuse,” Coderre said.
And Northborough will again ask its lawmakers to push for reform of the state’s public construction project procurement law, which requires that all workers be paid prevailing wage. Coderre said the new police station roof project, for instance, would cost $37,000 less if not for that requirement. The town is hoping lawmakers will consider exempting projects under $100,000 from the law.
In other business, the board voted to create an ad hoc naming committee that will review proposals to name buildings, open space and other town assets after residents and officials.