The town council delayed a vote on funding for a $2.8 million water main project until further information to expand the project could be added. They expect to move forward with a vote at their next meeting.
A public hearing was held on Tuesday night on the potential appropriation of $2.8 million to replace aged water mains in the Cottage Hill and Pico Beach area. Council President Peter Gill opened and closed the hearing with no one speaking in favor or opposed. After the hearing Precinct 4 Councilman Craig Mael proposed an amendment to include the addition of sidewalks and beautification as part of the project. There was some confusion over how to include the sidewalk funding in the project, but Town Manager James McKenna and Gill the best thing to do was to delay the vote so the dollar figure for the other improvements could be included.
“I’d like to make an amendment. We’re already putting up $2.8 million. Do the job right for a few extra dollars,” Mael said. “It’s a beautiful spot. The math makes sense to me.”
DPW Director Steve Calla estimated that the sidewalks would be at least an additional $750,000 added on to the project. After the meeting he said the $2.8 million project, for just the water mains, was needed to improve water pressure for fire protection in the Cottage Hill area and to get rid of an exposed water main on Pico Beach. If the vote goes ahead the town would be borrowing the funds from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. All together there are 14 roads in town included in the overall water main improvement program. Overall the project includes one and a half miles of water main replacement. The mains are made of lead and cast iron and are over 75 years old. The new mains would range in size from 8-inch to 16-inch pipes.
“We have a fragile infrastructure,” Calla said, adding that there have been several water main breaks in the Pico Avenue area.