Highway barn is put on ballot.
CHARLTON - The November election will include a ballot question asking voters to exempt from Proposition 2-1/2 funds needed to build a new highway barn. What will not be included on the ballot, however, is the debt exclusion dollar amount.
Selectmen voted last night to move ahead with the ballot question, although the project has not gone out to bid and the real costs are not yet known.
Chairman Rick C. Swensen apologized for the surprise agenda item, saying the Highway Building Committee voted yesterday morning to proceed with the forecasted $4.5 million debt exclusion and the board must act before its next meeting.
The amount will not appear on the ballot because the hard numbers will not be available until after the Aug. 6 deadline to submit local ballot additions. But, Mr. Swensen said, the detailed costs will be provided to voters before the fall town meeting.
Selectman Kathleen W. Walker protested to the blank ballot amount.
"To ask people to vote on something as major as this on the ballot and not tell them anything about what it is going to cost, is not the right thing to do. I think everybody knows we need a new highway barn. The question is how much we are going to debt exclude," she said.
Highway Superintendent Gerry Foskett told the board he was loath to miss this opportunity to put the question before the 4,000 to 6,000 voters expected for the presidential election.
"We didn't want to miss the boat on that one," he said adding the high voter turnout "means a lot to us."
Mr. Foskett assured the board that "solid numbers" will be presented to voters at the fall town meeting.
For the project to build a new highway barn on Flint Road to proceed, it must receive voter approval at both the fall town meeting and at the polls in November.
In other business last night, Administrator Robin L. Craver presented a draft of the selectmen's goals for fiscal 2009.
The to-do list includes establishing a Department of Public Works to consolidate like departments and combining the jobs of treasurer and collector. In addition to the new highway barn, the board plans to complete a feasibility study for a new fire station and develop a conceptual plan for a new senior center.
Selectmen are to meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday to discuss the goals in more detail.
Selectman Scott D. Brown was absent from the meeting.
NAME: PROPOSITION 2-1/2 DEBT EXCLUSION; CHARLTON SELECTMEN; CHARLTON HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT