Foxborough Board of Selectmen chair James DeVellis has lived in Foxborough for 11 years and for as long as he can remember; sewer has been an issue in town.
“I’ve spent a lot of time going to [Foxborough’s] Master Plan meetings and the underlining charge is sewer,” DeVellis said. “It has been that way for as long as I can remember. I think we are at the crossroads now. If we are going to get the sewer, it seems like the planning board, the selectmen, the zoning board and the town government are all aligned to get this done one way or the other.”
DeVellis believes sewer is the single most important issue the town is currently facing because without it there is no future growth in downtown Foxborough.
“I think that’s the biggest challenge,” DeVellis said of the town’s need for more sewer capacity. “Sewer opens up a lot of opportunities in the downtown and also for businesses. Without good infrastructure, we are kind of spinning our wheels.”
The issue has been brought to Town Meeting year-after-year with no success but DeVellis hopes a different approach this fall will yield better results.
“I think the Water and Sewer Commission has taken the charge two or three times and it’s failed every time,” DeVellis said of rejected proposals. “This is a little different because we’ve got Town Hall working very hard to come up with a plan that will go on the Town Warrant in December.”
DeVellis said there are two courses of action the town can take in securing more sewer capacity.
“Basically, it is let’s pick ourselves up by the bootstraps and get it done on our own – that’s plan A,” DeVellis said. “[Plan] B is if there is another business, i.e. The Kraft Group, that can help us while we are helping them for development. If they come together at the 11th hour and they can help it, that’s great. If not, we are going to go ahead because we need to.”
Second to the town’s need for water and sewer issue has become the issue of Town Hall.
“Town Hall seems to be the hot button right now,” DeVellis said. “One school of thought is the building is dilapidated and a lot of people want to point the fingers on whose responsibility it was to let it go so bad to the point where it is woefully out of code compliance.”
So, what are the town’s options?
“Do we keep kicking Town Hall and say it’s somebody else’s fault or do we step up and address it?” asked DeVellis. “Fact being that it’s the front door to our town and if we are looking to get the best and the brightest to work for Town Hall then they need some respect on square footage and their working environment. That’s one of the biggest things that we are working towards.”
DeVellis said the town will attempt to address these issues at December’s Fall Town Meeting.
“In December, we will have things on the [Town Meeting] Warrant like moving ahead with a design for Town Hall, [constructing a] turf field, [presenting a] sewer and water [plan] and a lot of smaller things,” DeVellis said.
DeVellis, who served as a member of the town’s Advisory Committee for three years, including serving as chair one of those years, said selectmen will receive a list of warrant articles to be presented at Town Meeting in the next couple of weeks.
“There’s a list from the Advisory Committee that has not come to the selectmen yet,” DeVellis said. “The department heads have to submit them. A warrant article can come from citizens; it can come from department heads.”
As for when the fall Town Meeting will take place?
“There’s too many conflicts on Dec. 10 so we may do it on Dec. 11,” DeVellis said. “We can’t do it in November because the sewer articles aren’t going to be ready. If we do it in January it’s getting too close to spring Town Meeting.”
As part of the selectmen’s goals this year, DeVellis said the town’s “dump” is getting “very close” to getting solar power.
“[That will] bring in a tremendous amount of revenue,” DeVellis said. “That’s been talked about for a long time but we are finally doing something about that.”
In addition to solar power, DeVellis said the town’s DPW director, Roger Hill, has cataloged all of the town’s roads and categorized them as “good,” “fair,” or “poor.”
“We are going to have an update on our pavement management plan … That plan jumped up quickly and we are looking to brining all of our roads up to a very high level quickly because of things like the meals tax that was implemented,” DeVellis said. “Infrastructure is head and shoulders over what it was three or four years ago.”
DeVellis, in addition to chairing the Board of Selectmen, chairs a volunteer committee entitled, Turf’s Up, which aims to bring a turf field to the Foxborough community. DeVellis presented at last week’s School Committee meeting and received overwhelming support from the committee as a whole. To read more on the proposal, click here.
Note: Log on to Foxborough Patch Wednesday morning for the full Q&A with DeVellis