By Sue Ellen Woodcock
It took town officials a couple weeks to determine the best number for the Miller Field debt-exclusion override vote set for June 21 â€“ now voters will say yes or no to keeping the project capped at $9.8 million.
Tuesday night Councilor Nick DelVento, who also serves on the Finance Committee, said the Finance Committee did want a cap on the project and they felt $8 million might not cover it all. He said with $9.8 million the town would be at the upper limit of the overall project.
â€œThere had been a range of $7.5 million and $9.5 million,â€ he said.
Councilor James Letterie said $8 million was a â€œsoft capâ€.
â€œGoing forward this needs a hard cap,â€ Letterie said. â€œThe high school project people knew the range and it stands on its own merits.â€
â€œThe finance committee wants it capped,â€ said Town Council President Bob Driscoll. â€œWe need a little wiggle room.â€
Two weeks ago to council contemplated setting the override vote at $8 million, but there was a concern about whether that would be enough to complete the project.
â€œItâ€™s being transparent with the public,â€ said Councilor Rich Boyagian. â€œWeâ€™d hoped it was lower but now we have the upper limit to be able to cover it all.â€
Councilor Heather Engman said the overall timing was frustrating, but if the bid comes in higher the town will be prepared.â€
Councilor Russ Sanford was concerned about the change in figures. Councilor Phil Boncore also wants to know where the additional figure of $1.8 million came from. Delvento said it is a buffer. If the appropriation had been for $8 million, it may have been too low and jeopardized the project. Boncore then asked for the new tax rate figures but Town Accountant Mike Perez did not have the figures yet because he did not yet have the principle and interest rates yet.
The Milller Field project will now include parking at the new high school and the moving of tennis courts to Ingleside Park.
The council voted unanimously to set the debt-exclusion override question at $9.8 million. Councilor Linda Calla was absent from the meeting.