The Reporter this week on P. 1, highlighted plans in two different columns to spend the same surplus HS renovation money; the NEW Town Hall as well as the new TURF field. If we can do this why not just add two more projects to this list, the Burrell and Taylor school projects. And lets not forget the $60 million OPEB (the retired employee medical benefit) liability!
I have highlighted the abuse of this so-called HS renovation surplus since the Chair stated in his minutes a $6 million "surplus" after the bids were received as opposed to an original $1 + million! This prompted the spending by the School Comm. on wish list items for the HS. They claim this is their sole perogative, and it is rubber-stamped by the Bldg. Comm. Please recall that the program presented on two occasions included brochures itemizing each and every item requested for X dollars. And lets not forget that the State approved the project based on the original program and bidding documents. This approval included support funding for these items alone. One Comm. Member stated that the State is reneging on this funding. REMINDER, they never authorized the additional work! And another said this funding is to be used for the building. In spite of specific work itemized to be done, and completed, they feel any other funds can be used by them alone as they see fit!
But our Town Meeting authorization form of government is ignored and unauthorized purchases made. We did this for the Commuter Parking Lot, and I am informed we have hired an architect to do work at the Highway garage. There has been NO Town Meeting action on these issues. And we are now told that we can use this million dollars to by-pass a debt exclusion and 2/3 vote of Town Meeting, just a simple majority. This smoke screen is more than devious; they cannot get an $8 million project approved when the options are more cost-effective, in spite of the apocalyptic pronouncements of the manager.
Dick Heydecker, 508-543-9412