Town Meeting article asks for $540K to replace police station siding


Town Meeting article asks for $540K to replace police station siding
Town Meeting will weigh in on replacing the siding of the Northborough Police Station. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

NORTHBOROUGH – Town Meeting will weigh in on an appropriation of $540,000 to replace the siding and trim of the police station.

The article — Article 19 — was discussed during the April 1 Select Board meeting.

The $540,000 figure is based on an estimate from an architect. Town Administrator Tim McInerney called the $540,000 figure a “horrible number,” but the figure was an estimate and the town needed to still go out to bid.

“Hopefully, we can drive that number down,” said McInerney.

Of the total, $70,000 will be re-appropriated from an article approved during the 2023 Town Meeting to paint and repair the exterior of the station. According to McInerney, the town is also recommending passing over another article for a hook truck.

According to Finance Director/Town Accountant Jason Little, there will not be an additional impact on taxes due to the project.

McInerney said the town has to do the work on the police station, put the project out for bid and get an appropriation “because the building will crumble even worse.”

“Within a year, you went from painting to siding to nails coming out to the tune of four inches all the way around that building. … It is in bad, bad shape,” said McInerney.

In regards to the interior of the police station, Chief Brian Griffin said the department does have needs down the road, but they were doing OK in terms of the general structure of the interior.

“I see us being in that building for another 30 years with some TLC inside and out. It’s tight right now, but we’re surviving,” said Griffin.

During the meeting, Select Board members voiced concerns about the price tag. Laura Ziton said the price tag was “unfathomable and unconscionable” with all of the other needed projects.

Select Board member Lisa Maselli said she talked with a representative of a company that manufactures this material.

“Based on the escalation and going from $70,000 to $540,000, I just don’t think we should move on this,” she said. “I think this is one of those things that we’re going to have to say, ‘What are we going to be able to do with our [$70,000]?’ and do some more investigation.”

She said it didn’t appear that all of the trim needed to be replaced.

“I think there’s an awful lot of speculation as to what things are going to cost. A labor bill of $111,000 is just phenomenal, and I just can’t get behind it. I don’t think that the general public should be asked to do that with having a fire station [project] and having a town offices and such,” said Maselli.

In reference to the nails, she said when the crew went to do the painting, they weren’t allowed to knock the nails back in.

“Nobody went before them and resecured the clapboarding before they were painting, which is kind of crazy,” she said.

She called for rethinking the project “and the realities of maybe not being able to anything to this magnitude for another year.”

McInerney said if they waited a year, the cost would continue to rise.

Chair Mitch Cohen reiterated that the $540,000 was an estimate; it wasn’t a bid nor were specific products or companies mentioned. The project needs to go through a formal bid process, he said.

“To do that, you can’t just say, ‘Hey everybody, come look at our building and tell us what you think.’ You need to have an architect draw up the bid specs, which is a technical document that describes precisely what needs to be done … and then it goes out to bid,” said Cohen. “The ideal timeline for this would’ve been if this had been noticed six months ago.”

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