At a special Board of Selectmen meeting on September 17, the Board of Selectmen voted on the following resolutions:
“RESOLVED: That the resolution entitled ‘Resolution Appropriating $84,220,000 For The Planning, Design, Construction, Renovation, Demolition, Equipping And Furnishing Of The New Fairfield High School And Related Costs And Authorizing The Issuance of $84,220,000 Bonds Of The Town To Meet Said Appropriation And Pending The Issuance Thereof The Making Of Temporary Borrowings For Such Purpose’, a copy of which is attached hereto, is hereby approved and recommended for adoption by the legal voters of the Town at a Special Town Meeting.
“RESOLVED: That the resolution entitled ‘Resolution Appropriating $29,190,000 For The Planning, Design, Construction, Renovation, Demolition, Equipping And Furnishing Of The Consolidated Early Learning Academy And Meeting House Hill School And Related Costs And Authorizing The Issuance Of $29,190,000 Bonds Of The Town To Meet Said Appropriation And Pending The Issuance Thereof The Making Of Temporary Borrowings For Such Purpose’, a copy of which is attached hereto, is hereby approved and recommended for adoption by the legal voters of the Town at a Special Town Meeting.
“Discuss and vote to set the date and approve the Warning for Special Town Meeting and in accordance with Section 7-7 of the General Statutes of Connecticut, as amended, that the foregoing resolutions be removed from the call of the Special Town Meeting, and be submitted to a referendum vote at an Adjourned Town Meeting to be held on a date not less than seven (7) days nor more than fourteen (14) days after the date of such Special Town Meeting, between the hours beginning no earlier than 6:00am and not later than 12:00 Noon and ending at 8:00pm (E.T.), as determined by the Special Town Meeting, all in accordance with Section 7-7 of the General Statutes of Connecticut, as amended.”
In the ensuing discussion, Selectman Kim Hanson voiced his concern that “we don’t have any detail on what we’re getting for our money…the whole process of picking a number and then designing to that number instead of picking what you need and then picking a number that gives you what you need is very upsetting to me. I think it’s a bad process.”
First Selectman Pat Del Monaco replied, “We have followed the State process. There is a conceptual design–we didn’t pick a number. It is a cost estimates that the experts put together based on allowable requirements from the State, and recent construction projects conducted in the state and adjusted by region…the process dictates that design is done after the referendum is approved.”
Mr. Hanson disagreed, saying Ms. Del Monaco’s description was not accurate. Ms. Del Monaco stated that her description was correct.
Ms. Del Monaco noted, “We are following the state process so that we can maximize the reimbursement that we get from the State. That reduces the cost to the taxpayer.”
“That’s what’s key to me,” noted Selectman Khris Hall. “That the process we are following is going to maximize the contribution from the State, cutting the amount that New Fairfield has to pay along the way.”
Mr. Hanson replied, “The process that’s being followed will almost certainly result in one of two things; either a significant reduction of equipment, etc. Inside of the project to meet the number, or else cost overruns, adds and additions.”
Ms. Hall responded, “This project is going to be very tightly managed. The owner’s representative is on the spot to make sure that it comes in on budget, under budget, and we’re going to work the process to make sure that’s the case.”
After further discussion, the Board voted to approve both resolutions for a town vote. The Board set the date of the Town Meeting for September 26 at 6:30pm. At that meeting, a date and time for a machine vote on the referendums will be decided upon.
The next regular meeting of the Board of Selectmen is scheduled for tonight, Thursday, September 26 at 7:30pm.
By Greg Slomba