NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – The Building, Planning and Construction Committee put its support behind the purchase of a building and property on Douglas Road for use by Northbridge's Department of Public Works.
Although the purchase of property comes under the jurisdiction of the Board of Selectmen, Town Manager Theodore Kozak said the Finance Committee wanted to know the building committe’s position before deciding whether to recommend the $995,000 purchase to voters at the Oct. 23 fall town meeting.
The Finance Committee is charged with taking a position on all town meeting articles.
“My recommendation is to purchase the building,’’ Kozak said, although there is some risk involved. It has been estimated that an additional $2.1 million will be needed to renovate the structure to fit the needs of the DPW.
Voters could agree to purchase the property at the upcoming town meeting but refuse to fund the renovations, a request that will be made at the spring town meeting next May. That would leave the town with a property it can’t use.
Kozak said he would prefer to bring the proposal before voters as a package deal, but the property is for sale now and there isn’t time to go out for formal bids on the renovation before town meeting.
Building committee members expressed concern over the $2.1 million renovation estimate.
”We don’t want to find out something will increase the cost after we’ve done our due diligence,’’ member Paul Bedigian said.
“We’re tried to make sure we won’t have that problem,’’ Kozak said. “We’re pretty confident we’re pretty close. We’re going to town meeting with some confidence that we’re close.’’
DPW Director James Shuris and a cost estimator for HKT Architects, which had proposed an $8 million DPW facility at its current location on Fletcher Street, did simultaneous estimates and came up with nearly identical numbers, Shuris said.
“It’s a good estimate. It won’t be much different in May,’’ Kozak said.
Finance Committee members Salvatore D’Amato and Christopher Thompson also attended the meeting.
D’Amato suggested that Finance Committee support will come with a condition – that no more than $3.1 million be authorized. “That’s what we’ve done with other projects, like the high school,’’ he said.
D’Amato believes voters will support the project if they see a united front by the building committee, selectmen and Finance Committee.