BURLINGTON – Three pricy financial warrant articles were decisively passed by Town Meeting during its most recent session.
New Ambulance ($380,000)
The first warrant article supported pertained to the purchase of a new ambulance for $380,000. At this time, the town operates with three ambulances (primary, secondary, and spare). The spare is 14 years old so the new ambulance would bump the spare out of the rotation and knock the primary and secondary ambulances down one step.
Water Main Upgrade/Replacement ($1,000,000)
Second, a warrant article phrased as a water main upgrade/replacement was OK’d for $1 million. The proponents expounded on the need for the financial item, stressing a clean water supply is the single most important municipal infrastructure system, and any disruption of failure can cause an immediate threat to public health.
Although the town has made “some significant investments” in the system to upgrade interconnections between the standpipes, the overall system is approaching its 50-year pipe design life. Currently, two 1960s vintage water mains exist on Terrace Hall Avenue and Burlington Mall Road, between South Bedford Street and Stony Brook Road. During the recent Terrace Hall force-main project, both water mains were undermined, stressing the brittle AC pipe subsequently compromising the structural integrity of the mains.
A failure of these water mains would be “very disruptive” to the heart of Burlington’s business and retail areas. With the $1 million, the Department of Public Works (DPW) intends to replace this AC pipe with a ductile iron water main, as well as other water mains disturbed during the Terrace Hall project.
Centralized DPW/Recreation Facility – Phase II ($15,500,000)
Finally, Town Meeting passed a warrant article that will kick-start Phase II of the centralized DPW/Recreation Facility for $15,500,000.
In October 2017, the Selectmen voted to give staff much-needed direction in terms of where to locate a centralized DPW facility.
The choice ended up being a two-phase project that will see upgrades to the existing DPW highway facility and former Clark & Reid site, both of which are located on Meadow Road, behind Kohl’s.
The existing DPW highway garage and central maintenance division, and the recreation maintenance facility behind Sullivan Funeral Home, off Winn Street, are “beyond sub-standard.”
On Great Meadow Road, the DPW facilities would be centralized on the Clark & Reid site and existing highway garage. The plan is for the Clark and Reid site to house the central maintenance facility and recreation maintenance facility, and the DPW highway garage will be rebuilt so it can house the highway division, and water and sewer division.
Phase I of the project was approved by Town Meeting last May consisting of designing the entire project (both Phases I and II) and upgrading the Clark & Reid site so it can house a new recreation maintenance facility and the DPW central maintenance division. Phase I also entails installing a new truck bay wash for all the town’s trucks at the Clark & Reid site, which the town doesn’t have now. The total cost of Phase I is $17 million.
Phase II was supposed to go in front of Town Meeting next May, but town officials are asking for an early approval to get the ball rolling and potentially earn savings on the estimated $15.5 million project.
Phase II will see the necessary upgrades made to the DPW highway and water and sewer divisions currently located at the highway garage site on Great Meadow Road. Workers at this site will be moved to the newly constructed central maintenance area at the Clark & Reid site, while the highway garage site is demolished and rebuilt.
Town Meeting firmly supported the aforementioned warrant articles.