Northbridge Board Wants $8M DPW Plan Put Before Voters

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The Northbridge BPCC hopes to bring an $8 million proposal to replace the DPW facility on Fletcher Street.
The Northbridge BPCC hopes to bring an $8 million proposal to replace the DPW facility on Fletcher Street. Photo Credit: Deborah Gauthier

NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – Members of the Building, Planning and Construction Committee met Thursday with representatives of HKT Architects, looking for reassurance from firm about the Department of Public Works facility project on Fletcher Street.

They were disappointed.

HKT has a contingency fund of $350,000 to handle possible contaminated soil in its $8 million DPW proposal. But, because the HKT study did not include a thorough soil examination, it isn’t known if a serious soil contamination problem exists at the site. An accurate cost estimate of cleanup is not possible without further study, said Scott D. Lindgren of Pare Corporation. 

That cost is a number BPCC members believe they need if they are to bring the $8 million DPW proposal before voters, something they’d like to do at the spring or fall annual town meeting.

At a meeting two weeks ago, BPCC Chairman Thomas Pilibosian asked the Board of Selectmen to sponsor the $8 million question on the town meeting warrant. The board will vote on that request at its meeting Monday.

The BPCC has money remaining in its HKT account to authorize further study of the soil on Fletcher Street, but is reluctant to spend it unless selectmen agree to place the article on the warrant.

BPCC Chairman Thomas Pilibosian said he believes voters should be given the opportunity to vote on the proposal, which is the result of funding they approved at town meeting a year ago.

Selectmen supported the HKT study and design, but backed away when the cost of the project became known. Rather than pursue redevelopment of the Fletcher Street DPW facility, selectmen instructed the BPCC to find other options.

One of those options was to purchase and renovate a building on Douglas Road, a $2 million option rejected at a special town meeting and election last December.

“We hear criticism that we keep spending money on studies and nothing gets done; I don't like hearing that.  That's why I want to take it to the people and show them this is what's been done,’’ Pilibosian said.

“We lose credibility asking for money for studies that go nowhere,’’ said BPCC member Patrick Moynihan.

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Comments (9)

"Jack be nimble, Jack be quick.
Jack jump over the candle stick." (Auth. unk.)

Would we have to vote at town meeting to put it on the ballot ? Would we have to call a special election? If we do I say no but if not let people vote on it. I don't think it will pass.

Sandiegogal,

Are we not potentially watering down the Town Meeting and the Town Warrant process?

What could be next do the Taxpayer's in Northbridge prefer Whole Milk or Skim Milk, to be put on the ballot for Town Meeting?

Lets have a good thought out solid economically sound DPW proposal, I think the Taxpayers deserve nothing but the less? Lets not water down a true valued Democratic process that most agree this may be a waste of time and effort?

Why would voting on something we authorized the Building committee to look into water down the town meeting? We are having a election so why just vote to finalize that no one is interested in their proposal once and for all.

Sandiegogal,

Just seems like it will be a waste of time, why not just wait until the Town if it ever has a more viable and affordable DPW plan to put before the voters and taxpayers?

With Senior's on Fixed Income's and the Working poor with their noses some just above water in this economy, and the economy in general. Then with all the other needs the Town has, I strongly doubt a $8-$9 Million Dollar DPW Facility would pass a universal Taxpayers vote.

If i recall, the impact to each taxpayer would not be enormous. With an understanding that the economy is bad and people are struggling to get by, I fully understand your comment. The problem with proposals like this, is that every individual tax payer boils it down to their own problems/impact. If people look at the situation in entirety, the impact does not appear to be so great.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to give any form of government any more taxes than I already do. But one needs to remember, Taxes were lowered this year by the school being paid off early so each person already got a break at one point from the town. Also, with all the equipment sitting outside, I believe more is being paid in maintenance costs to keep our towns' equipment running.

To sum it up, people need to realize that while the $8-9 million number looks large, once it is divided up amongst all, it is not a huge impact.

bruinsfancam8:

The Town needs a new DPW we agree, in the opinion of many a price range of $1-$2 Million dollars, may be the best chance of passing in this economic atmosphere we are in, and could be in for a while.

Place looks just like it did when I worked there 53 years ago. Time for an update.