First Glance at Fiscal Future for Capital Expenditures Committee

The Capital Expenditures Committee got a first look at the capital requests for the 2021-2026 fiscal years from Town Manager Sarah Stanton and Finance Director Victor Garofalo at the committee’s August 27 meeting. The pair presented a list of all requested capital investments in the six-year span. The majority of the projects were routine procedures and weren’t met with any questions, but a few caught the attention of the committee members, including a town-wide traffic study.

Two projects, which are priorities for the Selectmen, are improvements at North and Chelmsford Road, and work on Willson Park. Committee member Barbara Perry expressed hope that the effects of the projects at these intersections will last a long time in order to avoid another reconstruction any time soon.

Another major project was a possible land acquisition to house a new fire station. After years of discussion regarding the size and inaccessibility of the old station, the town has met with an eminent domain consultant to assess potential land for a new station, which would be followed by the Selectmen deciding on whether to purchase it. Currently, the cost for the land acquisition is listed in the draft budget for 2021 at $5,000,000.

Many of the other projects are in line with the town’s Net Zero emissions plan The Investments proposed are an electric police cruiser and solar panel installation on the roofs of prominent buildings such as JGMS, Town Center, and the DPW. Those installations are slated for 2026, but Stanton explained that the timeframe could be shifted depending on the priorities of the Net Zero Committee.

Correction ~ September 6, 2019: The budget amount for land acquisition is $5,000,000 rather than the $500,000 as originally posted.

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