The Board of Finance is scheduled to vote on Feb. 28 on both the town and Board of Education’s requested capital projects funding. This will be the first budget vote and the second of many budget hearings to come.
The following is a breakdown of the town’s non-recurring capital requests. A similar breakdown of the education side’s requests will follow prior to Tuesday’s vote.Project Cost DPW Undergrond Storage Tanks $247,500 Old Town Hall Emergency Bunker $102,300 Fire Station No. 1 Tank Removal Added Cost $272,000 H. Smith Richardson Bunker/Tee Renovation $105,000 Total $726,800
Department of Public Works: Underground Storage Tanks
This request would cover the removal and replacement of four underground heating and fuel tanks buried at three sites in town. The tanks’ removal is mandated by the state.
The tanks will be replaced by aboveground ones; a trend that DPW Director Richard White said the town is following.
The three sites identified for this year’s request for funding are the DPW garage facility (which houses two 10,000 gallon tanks; both are more than 20 years old); the H. Smith Richardson Club House (one 1,000 gallon tank that is more than 20 years old); and the Mill River Sewage Pump Station (one 550 gallon tank that is more than 20 years old).
The replacement of the DPW garage facility’s tanks is the priciest ($213,000) of the three sites. According to White, the soil surrounding the tanks is contaminated due to leaks from previous tanks that had been installed there. The removal and replacement project will require monitoring and remediation, two steps not required for the Smith Richardson Club House ($6,000) and Mill River Pump Station ($28,500).
For each of the projects, White said, the town will need to hire outside experts. This cost is included in the request.
Installation of Emergency Generator at Old Town Hall
While White told the Board of Finance on Thursday that this project was not a “must-do,” he explained it would be beneficial to the town to install a generator at Old Town Hall.
A generator was installed in Sullivan Independence Hall in 1990 and it has been “very beneficial,” according to the explanation for the request provided by town officials.
Old Town Hall houses key town agencies (such as the offices of the Town Clerk and Tax Collector) and 35 employees, White said. “It’d be unfortunate if they couldn’t get to work because of a power outage.”
First Selectman Michael Tetreau agreed. “There were two events this past year that made us aware of disaster backup,” he said, speaking of Tropical Storm Irene and the October snowstorm. The latter, he added, nearly compromised Election Day for much of the state because it occurred the week before Election Day, when many were trying to register to vote.
“You don’t want a power outage to deprive people of a right to vote,” Tetreau said.
White added that Old Town Hall cools down quickly once the power goes out, so that would represent a major problem during a winter storm. “It could freeze the pipes really fast,” he said.
Long-range costs for the generator, like regular maintenance and fuel, are estimated at less than $3,500 a year, according to the request.
Department of Public Works: Cost Overrun for the Replacement of Underground Storage Tanks at Fire Station No. 1
The original $152,000 capital request to remove the tanks at Fire Station No. 1 and No. 5 was made and approved last year; however, once the process started, it became clear that the soil surrounding the tanks at No. 1 was contaminated.
The contamination was not discovered until the digging began to remove the two tanks at Fire Station No. 1, White said. Due to the tanks’ age, officials could not pressure test the tanks prior to removing them to determine if there had been leakage, he added.
Due to the contamination, 1,100 cubic yards of soil had to be removed, transported, and incinerated at a DEP-authorized facility in Waterbury, Conn. A treatment system had to be installed behind the fire station as well, according to the 2012-2013 capital request. The total cost for the project rose to $372,000; of the original $152,000 request, $100,000 had been used toward Fire Station No. 1, and now the DPW has requested the additional $272,000 to finish the project.
H. Smith Richardson Golf Course Bunker/Tee Renovation
This capital request represents Year Three of a ten-year master improvement plan for the golf course, according to the Golf Commission Chair Craig Curley. In 2010, the Golf Commission drew up a $1 million overall improvement plan and were advised to ask for approximately $100,000 annually in capital funding over the next 10 years.
The type of work the commission would like to get done -- the bunker and tee renovations -- is necessary to keep the golf course from “falling behind,” Curley said.
“We are trying to maintain and restore the course to a certain level of playability.”
The request for funding covers the renovation of seven bunkers and two tee boxes. The bunkers have suffered from poor drainage, are misshapen, and lack sufficient sand, according to the formal request submitted to the Board of Finance.
The tee boxes are small for a golf course of Smith Richardson’s size according to United States Golf Association standards, Curley said. They cannot be adequately maintained and are prone to excessive wear and tear.
For a budget season schedule and regularly updated information, check out the Fairfield Patch Budget Guide.