Northbridge Building Committee Looking For Direction From Selectmen

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Members of the Northbridge Building, Planning and Construction Committee discussed its need for a budget at its Thursday meeting. Photo Credit: Deborah Gauthier

NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – The Northbridge Building, Planning and Construction Committee wants direction from the Board of Selectmen as it looks ahead to capital projects in 2013.

The BPCC conducted a post mortem Thursday night on a year of failed attempts to build a Department of Public Works facility.

Three separate DPW projects were proposed in 2012. One was considered too expensive to bring before voters and funding for two less-expensive options was rejected by small margins at town meetings.

“Where do we go from here?’’ asked Committee Chairperson Thomas Pilibosian.

“In as much as our direction comes from the Board of Selectmen, we should wait and see what they want us to do," said member William Mello.

Member Timothy Doiron suggested a meeting of all players in the DPW debate. “If we still feel the DPW is a valid venture, we should pull in all factions, those who were vocal publicly and behind and scenes and have a discussion,’’ Doiron said.

“If the end result is no one wants to build a DPW, we will have saved ourselves several meetings," he said.

Committee members agreed to the meeting, scheduled for Jan. 17, but only if the Board of Selectmen directs them to continue pursuit of a DPW facility.

According to the Town Charter, “we don’t decide who gets what when; that comes from selectmen," Mello said.

“The Charter has a very specific charge. At the end of the day, whatever we propose, if selectmen think we’re on the wrong track we won’t get far,’’ said member Patrick Moynihan.

“We should go to selectmen and say, ‘this is what the Charter says; what do you want us to do,’’’ he said.

Doiron agreed to attend the Jan. 7 meeting of selectmen and ask the board for direction.  “If they say a meeting is a complete waste of time; if they say no, there will be no more guessing,’’ he said.

“In the meantime, no one talks about the 800 lb. gorilla in the room which is the fire station,’’ Moynihan noted. Town officials have been discussing the need to replace its aging fire station for years, never going beyond the discussion stage.

In an unrelated matter, the committee agreed to ask for a budget at the spring annual town meeting.

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