Friday, May 1, 2009
FinCom against Highland repairs
On Monday the Finance Committee voted not to support expending $445,000 in CPA funds to make repairs to the Highland Building. Article 22 Motion 3 on the Warrant for Town Meeting May 4 proposes allocating funds to install and upgrade fire safety, plumbing and heating systems, and repair the external façade to the now-vacant and deteriorating ex-school building. All other CPC motions and Articles were supported by the FinCom, including one that would transfer $130,000 in Free Cash to fund demolition of the Highland Building if the motion for repair does not pass.
The Community Preservation Committee (CPC) had approved the Highland repair expenditure, which would make the building safe until a plan could be developed for its use. FinCom member Thornton Ash characterized the $445,000 for the Highland as “kicking the can down the road.” He expressed concern that any use would require a large additional investment and that it is not clear where those funds would come from. “So there’s a chance we could spend $445,000, do all the work, and then decide to spend $135,000 to tear it down later,” said Chair Dave Model. Treasurer Larry Barton noted the Selectmen want a decision one way or the other, “to move forward with first stage renovation . . . or tear it down.”
A vote was taken and five members opposed the $445,000 expenditure, with Bjornson supporting it and Dave Guardino abstaining. After hearing that there is over $1 million in available Free Cash, the committee then approved transferring funds for demolition under Article 23 if the Motion for repair fails. Two other CPC motions, one to provide $16,610 for an Open Space and Recreation plan and another for $775,000 to repair the Gleason Library, were supported.
In other action the FinCom voted to support an Article to transfer $72,000 from the group insurance FY09 budget to snow and ice. Snow removal was a large expense this year, while group insurance was less than expected. No other transfers are expected to be proposed at Town Meeting.
The FinCom also voted to accept the Massachussets School Building Authority’s offer to pay the net present value of the balance of grant payments due to the town on school building work completed in the 1990s, or $1,448,518. The town will then call the part of the bond issue for 1999 pertaining to school buildings, an action that will require an expenditure of $1,340,522. Taken together, the transactions will benefit Carlisle, netting $107,996. ∆
© 2009 The