NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – Fire Chief Gary Nestor will not have the support of the Finance Committee at the Oct. 23 fall town meeting for $40,000 to repair the concrete floor at the Rockdale Fire Station.
Instead, Nestor was advised at a meeting on Tuesday to bring the project to the Building, Planning and Construction Committee.
Finance Committee Chairman Salvatore D’Amato stressed that he isn’t changing process but attempting to have process followed as mandated in the Town Charter which requires all construction and capital improvement projects go through the BPCC.
By law, the BPCC is supposed to have a list of capital project requests from town departments in hand by Oct. 1 and to have firm project costs ready for voters at the spring town meeting each May.
The plan and the estimate presented by Nestor came from a Northbridge call firefighter, who works full time as an engineer. He volunteered to design the plans for repairs needed so the station floor can carry the weight of the town’s new fire truck.
Consigli Construction provided an estimate of costs, but formal bids have not yet been sought.
“What do we do if we go out to bid and it comes in higher?’’ D’Amato asked.
Town Manager Theodore Kozak said the town often goes to town meeting with cost estimates and he recommended the Finance Committee agree to support the request.
“I know how things have been done in the past,’’ D’Amato said.
“But for the past three to five months we’re been pounding the pavement about legitimate process. We followed it for the DPW and the library and the public believed us’’ and supported the projects, D’Amato said.
At the Oct. 23 fall town meeting, voters are being asked to support a building maintenance plan funded with proceeds from money received in lieu of taxes from solar farm agreements.
That proposal will be “destroyed’’ at town meeting if voters can’t trust process is being followed, D’Amato said.
The Finance Committee also voted not to support two school department requests - $60,000 for a new gymnasium floor at the Balmer School and $40,000 to resod Lasell Field.
However, with D'Amato opposed, the Finance Committee agreed to put $100,000 into the stabilization fund for those projects as one has already gone out to bid and the other was promised by the town manager on the condition that future school building projects will be under the direction of the BPCC.