Capital requests approved

Mar 25, 2020 by

Published March 25, 2020

By MARK SARDELLA

WAKEFIELD — Despite limitations imposed by social distancing due to COVID-19, the town is doing its best to conduct business and that means moving the the FY 2021 budget process along.

With Chairman Edward Dombroski and Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio in the WCAT cable studio and four other town councilors participating via remote hookup, the Town Council met in a virtual setting that the public could watch and hear on television or online.

One matter on the agenda was the FY 2021 Capital Outlay budget. Dialing in via phone, Capital Planning Committee Chairman Frank Leone presented the budget, which was also publicly posted on the town’s web site for any viewers who wished to follow along.

Leone said that he and Capital Planning Committee members along with DPW Director Joseph Conway met six times to consider some $6 million worth of capital requests from various town departments before arriving at a recommended capital budget of $2,018,119 for FY 2021. The process also included meetings with various department heads to discuss their requests.

Leone highlighted a number of items on the recommended list. He noted continuing prior leases of $41,976 for the Fire Alarm Department and $261,584 for the DPW.

Under new leases, Leone pointed to a new DPW truck with a plow and sander (replacing a 2003 truck) for a lease payment of $55,000 in FY 2021. (Total cost is $250,000 in a lease to purchase arrangement.)

Also under Public Works, Leone highlighted a new crane to replace a 1999 model for a $55,000 lease to purchase payment in next year’s budget (total cost $250,000).

A mobile work trailer for the storage of equipment was also included for the DPW at $15,000.

Also in the fleet section of the capital budget for next year is the replacement of three police cruisers at a total cost of $177,000.

Under buildings, Leone pointed to a $15,000 line item for conference room upgrades at Town Hall. A new boiler at the Greenwood Fire Station was included at $30,000. A Beebe Library request for $60,000 for carpeting and flooring was highlighted along with  $10,000 to investigate damage under the front stairs at the library.

The capital budget includes $36,000 to replace defective faucets at the Galvin Middle School. Other items on the list were a hot water heater at the Dolbeare School ($7,000), a walk-in refrigerator at the Woodville School ($15,000) and video equipment for the first floor conference room at Town Hall that will allow meetings to be televised from that room ($31,000).

Leone called attention to a $140,000 upgrade to the Woodville Playground scheduled for FY 2021. He explained that the town has been trying to upgrade one school playground per year.

Also in the capital budget is $25,000 for food warmers at the high school that are used to keep lunches warm until they are distributed to the elementary schools, as well as some new attendance software for the schools ($24,000).

A $217,059 request from the School Department for new wireless access points was also included in the budget.

New portable radios for the Fire Department were in the capital budget at $124,000.

Finance Committee member Joseph Bertrand, who chairs the FinCom subcommittee on capital outlay, said that the subcommittee met with the Capital Planning Committee on March 10 and was in “total agreement” with the recommended list and amount.

Town Councilor Ann Santos asked about the faucet replacements at the relatively new Galvin Middle School.

Bertrand, who also chairs the Permanent Building Committee, said that the town got extra points from the state for including certain “energy efficient” equipment when the school as built. The faucets, Bertrand noted, did not work well from the beginning and that was the reason for the replacement.

The Town Council also approved the proposed FY 2021 Capital Outlay budget for the Water Division at $82,500 and the Sewer Division at $112,500.

The Town Council vote to approve the $2,018,119 Capital Outlay budget for FY 2021 was unanimous.

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