NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – The total cost to purchase property and a building on Douglas Road and renovate the building into a functional Department of Public Works facility will be about $3 million, the Northbridge Finance Committee was told at a meeting Tuesday.
Town Manager Theodore Kozak said he recommends asking voters at the Oct. 23 fall annual town meeting to borrow $995,000 to purchase the land and building. Renovation costs could be sought at a special town meeting early next year or at the spring annual town meeting in May 2013, he said.
The two-step funding plan met with criticism from resident Shelly Buma, who said voters shouldn’t be asked to purchase the property until the town has gone out for bids and has firm renovation costs.
“It needs to be a package deal,” Buma said.
Cost estimates presented Tuesday came from a professional estimator with HKT Architects, the firm that conducted a feasibility study on whether the DPW could stay at its current Fletcher Street location.
Though the study showed the Fletcher Street property could be used, officials considered the $8 million cost to build a new facility there too high and sought other options.
The new plan keeps snow and ice removal at the Fletcher Street site, and the cost estimate includes about $100,000 in improvements there.
Buma also pointed out to Finance Committee Chairman Salvatore D’Amato that supporting the property purchase before receiving renovation bids is in direct contrast to policy he has insisted be followed on other projects.
D’Amato agreed it’s a “flawed process’’ but said that delaying the land purchase until receiving renovation bids would put the town at risk of losing the property.
“We’re coming to the end, I hope, of a 17-year process,’’ D’Amato said. His committee won’t vote on whether to support the purchase until Oct. 11, after the Building, Planning and Construction Committee, which meets Thursday, has weighed in on the plan.
Kozak said the $3 million project would cost the average homeowner about $23 per year. With the property off the tax rolls, the town would lose about $11,000 per year in tax revenue.
The Finance Committee voted not to support a second town meeting article related to the Department of Public Works, one petitioned and seeking $1.8 million to build a DPW facility on town-owned land on Providence Road.