NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – A special town meeting will be held Dec. 4 and a special election Dec. 17 asking voters to support a $3.1 million plan to purchase a building on Douglas Road and renovate it for use as a Department of Public Works facility.
Selectmen made that decision Monday in a 4-1 vote with Selectman James Marzec voting against. The Dec. 4 town meeting warrant will open on Friday and close Oct. 26.
The board met Monday to vote its position on Oct. 23 fall town meeting warrant articles. They agreed to ask voters to pass over Article 4 which seeks $995,000 to purchase the building on Douglas Road. The initial intent was to purchase the Douglas Road property now and request an additional $2.1 million at the May town meeting next year for needed renovations.
Finance Committee Chairman Salvatore D’Amato suggested a package deal instead.
“The Finance Committee voted unanimously not to support article 4,’’ he explained. Though his board unanimously supports the plan, they do not agree with the “split vote,’’ he said. “It would be a drastic mistake to do a split vote on this."
Selectman James Athanas agreed with the package deal. “I feel $3 million is a reasonable number and I feel it will be an easy sell if we go to a special town meeting and be done with it… tie it all up at one time.’’
Selectman James Marzec disagreed. “There is an alternative article that needs to be addressed as well,’’ he said, referring to a $1.8 million plan to build a DPW facility designed voluntarily by engineer Neal Mitchell.
“A steel building built from scratch for $1.8 million is much better than retrofitting a building for $3.1 million and my opinion won’t change,’’ Marzec said.
The Finance Committee voted not to support the Mitchell plan, which is article 17 on the town meeting warrant. Selectmen agreed to take no position on that article, giving voters an opportunity to debate that question on the town meeting floor.