NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – The plan for a Department of Public Works facility on Douglas Road isn’t dead, although members of the Northbridge Building, Planning and Construction Committee agreed Thursday that it’s on “life support.’’
Voters will be asked at a special election Dec. 17 to exempt the cost of the project from Proposition 2 ½. If a majority of voters approve, another special town meeting could be scheduled by the Board of Selectmen or through petition, Town Manager Theodore Kozak said.
That meeting would have to occur within 90 days of the election.
At the special town meeting Tuesday, voters rejected a request to borrow $3.1 million to purchase a building at 371 Douglas Road and retrofit the building to DPW needs.
A majority of voters supported the project – 139 to 82. But because the plan was to exempt the $3.1 million from the Proposition 2 ½ property tax cap, a two-thirds majority vote was needed.
DPW Director James Shuris said he was encouraged by the Tuesday vote, despite the outcome. “I can’t be unhappy about getting 63 percent of the vote,’’ he said. “Sixty-three percent have confidence; 37 percent don’t have confidence. That’s significant.’’
If a majority of voters support the Proposition 2 ½ exemption Dec. 17, committee members will likely ask selectmen to schedule another special town meeting.
In the meantime, member Timothy Doiron suggested the committee reach out to the community with information in response to a presentation made by an opponent at Tuesday’s meeting.
“We should make sure every question voters have is answered by the election,’’ he said.
“If we win, even by one vote at the election, it’s important we take another stab at town meeting," member Patrick Moynihan said.
Kozak said he hopes that will happen. “It’s a good project; a good opportunity. I hope it passes at election.’’