Selectmen Discuss Town Upgrades

The Capital Improvement Planning Committee (CIPC) presented their proposed capital projects and improvements over the next five years to the Marion Board of Selectmen on Tuesday evening. The Committee discussed submittals for 18 projects in fiscal year 2014 that total $5,729,030, a number that is larger than previous years.

Included in the top five projects were replacing the pilings at Old Landing and Island Wharf, including the Island Wharf floating docks, at a cost of approximately $150,000. Next was the Phase 1A sewer, drain and road work at South Street and Ryder Lane at a cost of $4.3 million. This would be the first of five phases on those streets projected over the next 10 years.

Other projects included the replacement of 10 windows at Sippican Elementary School at a cost of $66,000, a sewer system upgrade of control systems, including new hardware and software for plant operations, at a cost of $60,000, and an upgrade of school door security at Sippican Elementary School at $28,000.

Further down on the list were project requests from the highway department, fire department, emergency medical technicians, harbormaster and other town departments.

After much discussion on the financial impact of the improvements, Norman Hills, CIPC Chairman, recommended that the Committee look beyond the five year timeline and possibly ask the town to hire a facilities manager to look after the assets of the town. Dawson noted that the town’s 60 structures, including items such as the town gazebo, all have to be looked at for regular maintenance.

A lively discussion followed regarding mold remediation in the basement of the Town House. A low bid of $14,323 was rejected by the Selectmen due to the lack of experience of the contractor on mold remediation.

“Mold is a tough issue, and we need someone who has done this before and had a successful outcome,” said Selectman John Henry.

The Board agreed to award the contract to the other bidder who has experience.

In other business, the Board approved the sale and issuance of refunding bonds which will save the town substantial interest on bonds taken out for the renovation of Sippican Elementary School, the new water tank and the boat pump out station at Town Wharf.

“This will reduce our interest rate on these debts,” said Paul Dawson, Town Administrator.

Last but not least, the Board tackled a letter from the Buzzards Bay Coalition which stated that the town is not in compliance with acceptable seepage and leakage issues from the town sewage treatment plant into Buzzards Bay.

One issue, brought up by both Dawson and Henry, was the fact that the lagoons in town were not lined.

“This is a below ground system, not lined … we need to address this,” said Henry.

After a lively discussion, the Board agreed to rebut the letter and to continue discussing the issues at issue at future meetings.

By Joan Hartnett-Barry

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