WILMINGTON—2013 is the year of the high school.
Town Manager Jeff Hull told the Crier that the new facility will be Wilmington’s primary focus in the upcoming year.
Officials hope to award contracts and begin work, but they still face a legal fight based on environmental concerns. According to Hull, Gerald O’Reilly filed an appeal with the Superior Court on November 16. Wilmington received a summons on December 6.
O’Reilly, along with a group of residents named the Ten Resident Group, have filed several appeals to the project since Wilmington’s Conservation Commission first issued its Order of Conditions, or environmental requirements that, if met, meant the project could move forward in the town.
The series of appeals that followed led to the DEP’s involvement that, with each appeal, consistently generated results in the town’s favor.
The decision O’Reilly is appealing was a recommended by DEP Presiding Officer Timothy Jones, who cited in his report that the appellants, O’Reilly included, did not provide sufficient evidence to support their claims.
Wilmington will have to decide whether to accept bids, which are due on January 18, or hold off on any work until the appeals are resolved. They will meet with legal counsel, as well as various officials, and, in a month, make a final decision.
The Town budget is also, of course, occupies top-of-mind for Hull in the near term.
“That’s going to be a major focus over the next several months here,” he said.
Hull called the establishment of the Fiscal Year ’14 budget a “major goal,” and he will make sure it provides all of the services residents have come to expect.
The governor’s recently announced 9C cuts loom in the background for the current fiscal year, however, and lend a sense of uncertainty to the budgeting process and to the impact on local aid for next year.
In addition to the budget, Hull said the town will focus on the Yentile farm project. Wilmington purchased the property at the Annual Town Meeting, which was held on May 5, with the purpose of transforming the parcel into athletic fields.
“At this point, we’re gathering information through the survey,” Hull said. “Ultimately, we want to translate that into a recommendation that can go back to the Board of Selectmen.”
Hull also highlighted the replacement of windows at the North Intermediate School. This, too, was approved at Town Meeting. The town had received some funding, but Hull is looking for more.
“We’ll be working to try to get additional funding through the Massachusetts School Business Authority,” he said.
But, again, the primary objective for the town will be moving forward with the high school project.
Any future dates—such as breaking ground—remain to be seen, Hull said.