BURLINGTON – Town Meeting decisively supported various Capital Budget items during this week’s first session, including 14 items from the Police and Fire Departments, and the Department of Public Works (DPW).
The 15 items in the fiscal year 2020 Capital Budget equaled $1,524,823. The total Capital Budget checked in at $2,974,823 and 30 of the 31 the items are being funded from the Free Cash Account, while the remaining item is funded from the Sewer Enterprise Fund.
Each year, the town allocates just under $3 million from its free cash account and the money is set aside for capital projects among the town and schools.
The following Capital Budget items were unanimously supported by Town Meeting:
• Stream Cleaning/Drainage Repair ($200,000)
This is an annual program the town has been committed to for much of the last decade. A Vactor truck is rented and used to remove excess road sand that has ended up in the streams. Some of the debris and sand needs to be cleaned up so the streams and drains are structurally cleared. This has been a recurring article since 2001.
• Sewer Pump Station Rehab ($15,000)
Part of the necessary upgrades to each sewer pump in the town’s neighborhoods.
• DPW Vehicle Replacement Program ($480,250)
This year, a cemetery truck, sander truck, and front-end loader are needed. The front-end loader is 22 years old.
• Repairing the Library Roof ($220,000)
The roof is an original piece of the Public Library, which opened in 1995. The broken-down roof currently has issues with water leaks.
• Work at Mill Pond Water Treatment Plan ($42,000)
The DPW is hoping to take advantage of the sediment removal system that is currently being installed on the site, so the plan is to use this article to repair ant deteriorating concrete that exists.
• Vine Brook Water Treatment Filter Repairs ($80,000)
This is considered the first of a three-year mandatory repair plan. It is needed to keep the treatment plant working until the town’s water supply is replaced via its current initiative of joining the MWRA.
• Storage Shed ($30,000)
The Historical Commission needs a storage facility for the historical artifacts they currently store at the former Clark & Reid building on Great Meadow Road. The proposal is to construct a new shed at the site of the West School at the corner of Bedford Street and Francis Wyman Road. The project calls for a 14-by-22-ft. shed (about the size of a one car garage bay).
• Upgrades to Prison Cell Door Camera System ($32,000)
This is a necessary upgrade to the prison cell door camera system located at the Police Station. The current system is outdated and will be upgraded to a key-fob system.
• Elevator Upgrade at Police Station ($50,000)
A standard upgrade of the repair controls pertaining to the elevator.
• EMS Computer Aid Dispatch ($22,750)
The upgrade is needed as the current systems do not communicate “well” with each other. It will provide better timing and communication for the EMS dispatch.
• Fire Security Cameras at Headquarters ($15,296)
The existing system is 20 years old, consisting of old analog cameras, of which six of the nine are not working properly. The new cameras will be digital.
• An important piece of information was divulged during the meeting regarding the Fire Department. It was formally announced that current Fire Chief Steven Yetman will be retiring. No exact date was given regarding his final day, but it was confirmed this Town Meeting session will be his last.
Management Information Systems
• Updating Financial Software Modules ($68,000)
This is the next step in updating the modules, which will benefit employees, customers, and those in the Town Treasurer’s Office. It will allow the aforementioned parties to access pay-stubs and other matters digitally online.
• Website Redesign ($40,000)
The current website was created by Revize (vendor) in 2012 for $12,000, and there was a minor redesign in 2016 for $7,000. This was to address issues that included needs on the school site and to include the new “mobile” users. Now, with mobile usage being over 40 percent, this is one of the key issues addressed in the redesign. For many departments, this is a virtual office and a place where residents, businesses and visitors can come and look up information covering a wide range of questions. The website also has a number of online payment capabilities allowing users to pay taxes, water bills, permits and records requests. There is over $79,000 of revenue a month from these online payments. The cost to develop a new website is in the $33,000 to $40,000 range, hence the $40,000 Capital Budget item request.
Board of Health
• Administrative Vehicle ($24,245)
The Board of Health currently does not have any transportation for emergency or routing services. There are five staff members who are in need of this new and visible vehicle to respond to town emergencies, including to transport important supplies for a possible emergency occurrence or emergency drills. Additionally, the Board of Health directs numerous special events (Household Hazardous Waste Collections, Influenza Clinics, Bladder Cancer Screenings, and Community Health Fair), where they have been forced to rent vehicles or use personal cars. Furthermore, with a continuing expanded role and a larger staff, the vehicle would also be used to respond to resident complaints, conduct communicable disease case management, and attend trainings and conferences and professional meetings. The vehicle will be utilized by the Board of Health staff to conduct day-to-day business rather than staff’s personal vehicles.
• LED Lighting at the Simonds Park Tennis Courts and Skate Park ($220,000)
The current lighting system was damaged during a repaving project and a repair was made. During the repair, it was discovered that the electrical system had deteriorated and was unsafe to continue to operate. The entire system needs to be replaced, and will be upgraded with LED lighting so people can use the courts and park at night, which they can’t at this time.
All the aforementioned Capital Budget items was unanimously supported by Town Meeting during its first session this week. The remaining items in the Capital Budget items were heard at last night’s meeting, so stay tuned for further coverage in the Daily Times.