Town Referendum Today on $11.9 Million Road Bond

by Christopher O'Brien

Town residents head to Wolcott High School today to vote on whether to approve an $11,910,000 bonding projects for roads, schools and a new public works garage. The High School is the only polling place for the vote including for those residents who normally vote at Wakelee or Tyrrell schools. The polls are open from 8 am – 8 pm.

The bonding package, involves the following general areas:

$10,500,000 for reconstructing and repairing various town roads that were not rebuilt or paved in the last bonding referendum a few years ago. This also includes money to repair various town parking lots and install catch basins as well. Normally, money needed for road paving and repair comes out of the “Town Aid Roads” and “LOCIP” line items of the town budget.

If the bond is approved, $863,700 will be allocated towards upgrades in the schools. An additional $275,000 will go towards constructing a new public works building and the remainder of monies approved would be for administrative and issuance costs. Some on the Town Council have argued that the bond package will have little effect on the tax rate in town because other bonds have been paid back already and the town’s obligations to past debts are now expiring.

Mayor Tom Dunn has told the Town Council that bonding roads in this way over several years makes sense because the Town could not pave all of the needed roads out of one year’s budget. He also says that if it is approved, he could reduce the 2014-2015 budget by $415,000, resulting in a lower mill rate overall. A road study was previously made to assess the impact of roads through 2026.

The school system intends to upgrade the central office at Alcott School, including moving the superintendant and two assistants from the old Center Street school which is used today. A lecture hall and music suites at Wolcott High School will be upgraded. The largest allocation goes towards renovating the front canopy at Wakelee School. The projects included in the bond package were not included within their annual budget, so if the budget is approved, the Board of Education’s budget will not likely change.

The final part of the project would be building a storage area in the public works area for the Senior Citizens buses.

The Town Council unanimously approved sending the bond package to referendum at their April 15th meeting.




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