Town Requests Capital Funding for Four Projects

A breakdown of the town's capital project requests, which the Board of Finance will be voting on next week.

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.

Alexander B. C. February 22, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Fairfield Resident February 22, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Why didn't the town do soil borings around the fuel storage tank at Fire Station #1 before they put the work out to bid??? If they had done so, they would have had more accurate mapping of the extent of the soil contamination so the contractors could have submitted a more accurate bid in the first place. Good Job........NOT!
Jombi February 22, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Fairfield resident.. Boo Freaking Hoo....... no body put a gun to their heads to do soil testing.
Creeky February 29, 2012 at 04:58 AM
Fairfield Resident, Good question. Those tests would have cost a few grand at best. It is yet another indicator that the problems with Fairfield government are not limited to the elected officials. We've got an unbelievable dearth of talent. We need to turnover a lot of these positions, particularly at the management level.
Creeky February 29, 2012 at 05:15 AM
Jombi, I don't understand. Is the point, boohoo, what a shame no one threatened them physically in hopes of motivating them to not completely suck at their jobs? Or why should they not suck at their jobs? Perhaps, you are right on target. There is no actual metric of performance attached to salary and job security, and that is a problem. I'd love to know, compared to other towns, and adjusted for the volume of permits, does Fairfield have higher, the same, or lower, legal costs due to permitting? And if we are significantly higher, where is the issue? Building Department, Conservation, et cetera? Is there one or some managers whose departments are especially adversarial? The taxes on my home have increased 100% in six years. That is unsustainable and will crush property values if continued. Doubt it? Twelve years ago, when my wife and I were shopping for our first home, we were originally shopping in our own neighborhood, (at the time) Black Rock. We discovered that once you added taxes to the mortgage payment, equivalent properties in Fairfield were significantly cheaper. Fairfield is on that path. The idea that our government is not in a complete state of failure is naive.
jombi February 29, 2012 at 11:28 AM
Creeky just keep paying. We are not called the goldcoast for nothing. Just pay and stop your sniveling
Creeky February 29, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Jombi, If my "sniveling" is so upsetting, why respond to me? And you said boohoo (actually "Boo Freaking Hoo") which would be the definition of sniveling; really, look it up. So, what is your point? That you can snivel but others shouldn't?
Fairfield native February 29, 2012 at 05:33 PM
jombi- you will soon see that the same people complain about everything on this board. It is like The Boy Who Cried Wolf. After awhile you see their names and pass by on the comments thinking, " oh, there is XXXX complaining as usual". I would be miserable if I had that outlook on life.
jombi February 29, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Creeky just to keep you up to speed boo freaking hoo is a term your friend up there "Fairfield Resident" uses all the time, just check past posts for Fairfield Resident. I was just making fun of his artistic jouralisim. As far as your taxes go just stop complaining and get with the program. You want to live on the creek you will pay to live on the creek. Don't like it move to Taylorsville North Carolina, new three bedroom home on 14 acres with a pond and beautiful rolling hills. no fire service no pesky local cops really no services at all which seems like something you really want with you comment that you would rather be less ready for emergencies. The TAXES are $540.00 per year. Sounds like a fit for you.
Creeky February 29, 2012 at 06:13 PM
jombi, Like a lot of folks, you are under the impression that I'm complaining about high taxes due to the value of my home increasing. It didn't. I got a bad valuation, as did a number of my neighbors. What you are not aware of is that my property has been valued at twice the price per acre as my neighbors, and 18.48 times as high as a much more valuable lot down the street. All I want is to pay my fair share, based upon the fraction of the town grand list that my property actually represents. You are enjoying artificially low taxes due to people like me, who are paying our share plus yours. It's theft. My frustration is at a peak and now I'm seeing flaws in our government everywhere. And yes, my back goes up, when people say things like stop your sniveling, when you haven't even educated yourself on the topic. 1848%, per acre, land value differentials on properties on the same side of the street, with the same creek frontage, should offend you. Or, maybe I'm nuts? Can you tell me, why I shouldn't be upset that I have to pay more in taxes than my neighbors whom own the same, or better (conforming) lots? I'm not trying to be a smart aleck. I'm earnestly asking.
jombi February 29, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Creeky i use to pay 19340.00 on less that half an acre of residencial property aganist I95 in Fairfield, no kidding. No kids in the schools, never call the cops or fire dept for anything, drove my garbage to the transfer station to be assaulted by the garbage police (you know who you are Mike), paid bizzar bills to UI, BHC and SCG, ate mediocre meals in over priced resturants, the list goes on. i'm not foolish, i just packed up and moved, the people are friendlier the weather is great and I have yet to be run off the road by a minivan or BMW. Call it a day Creeky and pack it in.
Fairfield native February 29, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Jombi- just don't have kids down south and place them in public school. I have had numerous...yes numerous friends who moved south and either returned to Fairfield County because the education their children were getting in public school was abysmal...or they were saving in taxes but spending $30,000 a kid to send to private school. Either way, it was cheaper and a better decision for their families to move back. You get what you pay for...
jombi February 29, 2012 at 09:15 PM
fairfield native like i said in my earlier post no kids. no kids coming done with all that and i can go out the back door and shoot any of my firearms with no consequence. I'm loving it
Fairfield native February 29, 2012 at 10:42 PM
sounds like you made a good choice jombi!
jombi February 29, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Fairfield Native just some food for thought, A friend down here sends three kids to school, they attend a Christian based school in 4th, 6th and 9th grades. The school out preforms all the public schools in the state and out preforms public schools up north and they it for less that $4000.00 per student. The kids get scholarships all over the country and abroad. FFLD BOE is outa control.
Fairfield native March 01, 2012 at 02:24 AM
I hear you but I am just sharing what those in my life have experienced- all have said that it is an educational nightmare- they lived in Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas. The big attraction is the cost of living being so low...until reality set in for them.


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