Plows, paving, police station in Brunswick capital plan

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BRUNSWICK — Town Manager Gary Brown has proposed spending nearly $9 million on paving to police vehicles as part of the proposed Capital Improvement Plan for 2011-2012.

The Town Council got its first look at the plan, which includes town projects from 2012-2016, at a workshop June 16.

At $5.1 million, the largest item in the 2011-2012 plan is the proposed police station. Although the Town Council has yet to vote on where to put the station, the Brunswick Development Corp. has already acquired three properties at the corner of Pleasant and Stanwood streets that were identified by the Police Station Subcommittee as the best location.

The BDC is also expecting to pay the $135,000 cost of demolishing existing structures and widening Stanwood Street.

The BDC is using its own funds. The town would be responsible for construction of the police station itself, with general obligation bonds. Under the CIP, the station will increase taxes by 1.57 percent its first year of debt service.

Next year’s plan also calls for spending $200,000 to study Jordan Acres, Coffin Elementary and Brunswick Junior High schools to determine the extent of future renovations to the buildings.  Superintendent Paul Perzanoski requested the expenditure during this year’s school budget discussions.

The ventilation system at the junior high will be also getting a make-over. Many of the school’s ventilation systems date back to 1959, when the building was constructed. Replacing them will result in better airflow in classrooms and the cafeteria, and will save money on heating and cooling, said Paul Caron, facilities director for the School Department.

Additional air quality improvements had been planned for the junior high, but they were postponed during this year’s school budget cuts. Instead, the plan calls for spending $159,000 this year and completing the repairs next year for $420,000.

The Police and Fire departments are seeking a $242,000 for a new ambulance,  animal control vehicle and rescue boat.

Fire Chief Ken Brillant said one of three the town ambulances has only 80,000 miles, but it spends much of its time idling to maintain heat and power to the back of the truck, which causes significant wear and tear. He said the town cannot afford to only have two ambulances, given the volume of emergency calls. A replacement would cost $187,000.

The Public Works Department is requesting $2.8 million for street and road improvements. Repaving Rossmore Road is estimated to cost $180,000, and the department has asked for more than $900,000 for resurfacing other streets.

The department is also is seeking $25,000 to repair a culvert beneath Adams Road. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association will contribute an additional $70,000 for that project.

The Parks and Recreation Department has requested $45,ooo for a front-end loader with a snow blower, and the town expects to spend $65,000 on eight new voting machines, as mandated by the state.

Brown encouraged councilors to scrutinize the CIP and remove any items they don’t want to see funded.

These could include a skate park, estimated to cost $100,000, and $1 million for Land for Brunswick’s Future.

Several councilors wondered whether a town-owned skate park is a necessity, and encouraged the Parks and Recreation Department to gauge interest in such a facility. The old skate park was removed to make way for the Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School.

Tom Farrell, director of parks and recreation, said he has been approached by numerous young people who want a town skate park.

“There is an active group in this community that continues to seek a place to skate,” he said.

The 2006 Land for Brunswick’s Future advisory referendum gave the town the ability to spend up to $1 million to acquire land for recreation and conservation. But Chairwoman Joanne King wondered if it is necessary to purchase more land when the town is soon to acquire of that type of land at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station.

“We didn’t have any idea we were getting 800 acres of land when the advisory referendum went through …,” King said. “(The land the town is receiving) is land for Brunswick’s future, and projects that are actually happening.”

The council will likely decide the fate of the skate park, Land for Brunswick’s Future, and other items in the CIP after a July 11 public hearing. Brown said he expects the council to vote on next year’s plan and authorize all related expenditures at that time.

Emily Guerin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or eguerin@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @guerinemily.

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