Public Input Being Sought on Project Override

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

Winthrop residents will have a chance on May 17 to voice their opinions and concerns about capping the debt exclusion override for the Miller Field/Lewis Lake project at $8 million in a public hearing.

Tuesday night the town council held a lengthy discussion about the figure to be attached to the project. Town Manager James McKenna selected the $8 million figure to work with and said they would keep the costs under $8 million. He said when the town puts the project out to bid they will keep it under the amount votes approve. The council voted to send the figure to the finance committee for discussion before May 17.

If the debt-exclusion override is set for $8 million, single-family homeowners with an assessed value of $354,113 and a 15-year bond at 3.5 percent interest would pay about an additional $130 a year in property tax.

The debt-exclusion override vote will take place on June 21.

The project will include tide gate improvements, lake dredging and expansion, and additional storm water storage within the drainage area of Lewis Lake, and further including the demolition and removal of existing facilities at Miller Field and the design engineering, permitting, construction, furnishing and equipping of a new track and field and related facilities at Miller Field. North Shore Regional Vocational School will be contracted to build the field house.

A secondary issue that came up Tuesday night was whether or not to include parking space striping at the new school and the relocation of two tennis courts to Ingleside Park. It was questioned whether or not the $450,000 for the project could be included in the override funding.

“The costs of Miller Field are well-defined,” McKenna said. “We’ll live within the budget you set.”

When speaking of the project it is often mentioned that the town saved $8 million in bonding costs with the new high school.

Councilor Heather Engman asked, “What happens if the bids go over?”

McKenna said they would look at the necessary elements or wait for new sources of funding.

Councilor James Letterie said he doesn’t feel the number is as firm as when the new school project was voted on.

Council President Robert Driscoll Jr. said he felt the number was a good one.

The public hearing will be held in Harvey Hearing Room at 7 p.m.

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