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Thursday, July 31, 2014

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Show us the money: Selectmen delay vote on $1M school projects for funding info

Published 7:02 am, Thursday, January 16, 2014
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The Board of Selectmen on Wednesday endorsed three capital projects at town schools -- with a combined price tag of just under $1 million -- but put off a formal vote on the proposal.

The hang-up for the selectmen was the lack of a specific bonding resolution indicating how the projects will be funded. But with the selectmen slated to meet again on Jan. 29, prior to the next Board of Finance meeting, First Selectman Michael Tetreau said postponing the vote would not delay review of the funding for the projects.

"I'm comfortable with the projects," Tetreau said. "They need to be done. I'm not comfortable voting on a resolution that doesn't indicate where the funding is coming from." The three projects are: partial roof replacement at Mill Hill School, with a $461,614 price tag, and the replacement of two boilers at North Stratfield School ($364,652) and one boiler at Fairfield Warde High School ($152,500.) Board of Education Chairman Philip Dwyer said the school board last year asked for no money to fund projects considered "capital non-recurring projects," although in previous years, such projects accounted for about $2 million in bonding. This year, he said, replacement of the Fairfield Warde boiler was added because it failed and had to be repaired.

It was originally scheduled for replacement in the 2015-16 fiscal year.

"The Board of Education unanimously approved these as a priority," he said of the three projects. "That doesn't mean these are all the needs of the district," but the projects that need to be done now.

Tom Cullen, director of operations for the school board, said there are 13 roofs on the Mill Hill building, not including the portable classrooms. Four portions of the roof need to be replaced, amounting to 14,176 square feet. He added that the school district has been getting some "pretty good" bid prices for roof projects.

In response to a question from Tetreau, Cullen said the state reimbursement for roof projects ranges between 18 and 20 percent.

The boilers being replaced at North Stratfield were installed in 1964, and Cullen said they are being replaced as part of a plan to replace boilers throughout the town's schools, starting with the oldest.