Freeport capital plan calls for $1.85M in spending

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FREEPORT — The fine-tooth comb financial review that marks budget season is underway, including of the town’s 2018 Capital Improvement Plan. 

Councilors got their first look at the proposed 2018-2022 CIP on Feb. 28. The plan pays for big-ticket items, such as public safety vehicles or infrastructure projects.

For fiscal year 2018, Town Manager Peter Joseph is proposing to the Town Council that about $1.85 million be allocated to meet seven different needs.

Councilors approved spending nearly $1.6 million in the current, 2017 fiscal year, which ends June 30. 

Departments that could benefit if councilors approve Joseph’s recommendations for fiscal 2018 include police, public works, solid waste and several roadways. 

Police

As outlined by Joseph and Finance Director Jessica Maloy, six mobile data terminals to replace six MDTs now in use by the Police Department would cost $27,000 in the plan’s first year. Replacement of the computers’ hard drive is a need. 

Two high-mileage police cruisers each need a changeover due to wear and tear. The rotation of the two cars with two lesser-used cruisers also will move the department’s vehicle fleet to Ford care and maintenance instead of Dodge. The request is $70,000.

Replacement of a 20-year-old speed trailer sign used to caution drivers. To make the new speed trailer electronically compatible with other speed/message signs, including radar use, $12,000 is sought.

Purchasing six audio-video in-car cameras for six front-line patrol vehicles is recommended. Total requested amount is $38,000.

Public Works

Replacing a 2002 John Deere backhoe. Money spent repairing this mechanical excavator would be better spent on a newer model, according to public works, and would cost $115,000. Winslow Park Commission Manager Neil Lyman is interested in buying the old backhoe, the CIP notes.

Solid Waste/Recycling 

Replacement of a near-24-year-old baler used to compress milk jugs. Replacement cost is $20,000.

Refurbishing a 1996 Case bucket loader initially used by DPW and, since 2004, used at the recycling facility. The bucket loader continues to be used to build snow mounds at the snow dump. Refurbishment at a cost of $30,000 would extend the life of the bucket loader another year. In FY 2019, in tandem with the DPW, a new loader would be purchased.

Comprehensive Town Improvements

A paving overlay on U.S. Route 1 South from the intersection with Desert Road to the Yarmouth town line is recommended. Federal funding is in place to cover 75 percent of costs; the town must match the remaining 25 percent, which is $339,500. 

Reconstructing Curtis Road will cost $500,000. The road’s current condition warrants drainage improvements, existing pavement grinding and reclamation, shim gravel and 4 inches of new pavement, as noted in the CIP plan. This summer, reconstruction work on South Freeport Road will be done. Money awarded the town from the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System will be used to pay for South Freeport Road repairs. Founded in 1975, PACTS is the federally mandated metropolitan planning organization.

Restoration of the Concord Gully Brook Watershed is part of several projects to improve water quality. The brook is one of two streams in Freeport declared “urban impaired” by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. Equipment to monitor water flow, retain a water quality expert’s services and work with the University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center is being requested at a cost of $25,000. 

Municipal facilities

Replacing the hardware of a quarter of the town’s municipal computers prompted a $22,000 request. Hardware replacement dovetails with the town’s FY 2015 computer server upgrades, which would cost $18,000 for labor and licensing.

The floor at the public safety building is 24 years old and worn. Replacing the meeting room and kitchen area floors this year will cost $20,000.

Dunning Boat Yard’s timber pilings and east side bulkhead need serious attention, at an expected cost of $5,000. 

Three to four new, more efficient copiers are needed town-wide, at an estimated $15,000 price tag.

A new roof at the highway building is needed before solar panels can be installed on the building. Replacement of the 23-year-old roof will hasten the move to solar; $75,000 is the request.

LED street light conversion is a town-wide goal. The total request is $130,000. Freeport may follow the lead of  Falmouth, South Portland and Rockland, which have been working toward LED streetlight conversion for many years, the CIP plan notes. Conversion to LED means energy and monetary savings.

A new generator is requested for the Public Works facility for $75,000. The generator would be connected to the town’s natural gas service instead of electrical power.

Installing more heat pumps at Town Hall improves temperature control year round. Heat pumps supplement natural gas and reduce the need for individual air conditioning units. A $15,000 request will start this project.

Setting aside $5,000 toward the next town-wide property valuation is the FY18 request. 

Cable

The Town Council requests $4,000 be added to the capital reserve fund in FY18 for repairs and replacements of cable department equipment.

Converting the town’s community access TV station to high definition from analog systems is recommended. Including equipment, the total request is $120,600.

The cable van purchased in FY 2017 needs outfitting with shelves, equipment racks, and lighting. Amount requested is $8,000. 

Destination TIF Village Improvement 

Sidewalk improvements along Main Street’s east side are proposed, including brickwork. The total request is $97,000; Mill and Bow streets near Main are the focus.  Additionally, $6,000 is requested to repair sidewalk ramps and meet Americans with Disability requirements. 

The Freeport Economic Development Council requests $95,000 from TIP funds to continue pursuing the town’s business goals. 

A public hearing on the 2018 CIP plan is set for 6:30 p.m., April 4, at Freeport Town Hall, located at 30 Main St.

The CIP is posted on the town’s website, freeportmaine.com. 

Lisa Connell can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or lconnell@theforecaster.net. Follow Lisa on Twitter: @connell_ld.

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