Finance panel signs off on deal for extra Fairfield Metro aid
Published 10:00 am, Wednesday, December 14, 2011
It was another stop for re-financing the Fairfield Metro project Tuesday night as the Board of Finance gave approval to an agreement with the state for up to an additional $3 million to help cover construction cost overruns for the new rail depot.
The board voted unanimously to approve the agreement, negotiated by First Selectman Michael Tetreau's administration this summer after it was discovered that construction of the town's third train station was $7.5 million over budget.
Thomas Bremer, Tetreau's chief of staff, explained the short agreement to the finance board, spelling out what work is needed in order for the town to receive the money.
"All the work is done," said Board of Finance member Christopher DeWitt, "so what's the real number (for reimbursement)?"
"I don't have one," Bremer said. "As I've learned in this particular construction, when the work is done, the work begins."
He said local officials are filling out the paperwork that will determine the final cost figures for the road and parking lot work the state said it would help fund. "When all that paper work is determined, that's when we'll submit it to the state."
Bremer said, however, that he expects that figure to be pretty close to the $3 million limit. "We can only ask for work to be recompensed that's listed in paragraph three (of the agreement) and that's what we're working on now," he said.
Vice Chairman Robert Bellitto questioned Bremer regarding a clause that requires the town to repay the state if it receives any money in the future, either through a settlement or lawsuit, from Blackrock Realty. Blackrock is a private developer in partnership with the town and state Department of Transportation on the Fairfield Metro project, with future plans for commercial and residential development on its share of the 35-acre tract.
A jury, he said, could award the town $5 million, for instance, and the state could claim it is entitled to $3 million of that award.
But Tetreau said what is at issue with Blackrock is the cost of remediation done on Blackrock's property, not the parking lot or roadway.
The agreement now goes to the Representative Town Meeting for action. The RTM will meet at 8 p.m. Monday in Osborn Hill School.
The state DOT has already signed the agreement.