Four capital projects were under consideration for financing in a proposed town of Canton bonding package amounting to over $20 million, but an item off the table took center stage during public comment Monday at a joint special Boards of Selectmen and Finance meeting.
Many residents are asking for the . As of 11:13 p.m. Monday, 253 people had signed an online petition that Canton parent Robert Miller posted on Aug. 15. In an letter addressed to First Selectman Richard Barlow on the petition website, he asks town officials to consider it for bonding.
"We have a $2 million asset there," said Miller, who is the father of a swimmer on the . "Why are we waiting for it to fail before we do something about it?"
While almost the entire room of residents at the meeting, many with Dusky Dolphins swimmers in the family, raised their hands in support of it, the selectmen collectively agreed there wasn't enough information to act on it at this time. Selectman Stephen Roberto, who supports the idea of pool improvements and has brought the topic up at previous meetings, said he would like to know whether a private company is another option.
However, the Board of Selectmen referred all four of the projects already being considered for bonding to the Board of Finance. In a meeting that immediately followed the special meeting, the finance board deferred making a decision until Aug. 29. The special meeting will be scheduled for 7 p.m. in the . Canton's Capital Projects Study Group previously recommended bonding a prioritized list of capital projects soon to take advantage of low interest rates.
Canton Public Schools and community center roof replacement, road repair and highway garage projects were unanimously supported by the Board of Selectmen.
The only one the board was split over was a proposal to install a new six-lane track with eight sprint lanes, a multi-use turf field and lights at . While Roberto and Selectman Lowell Humphrey voted against it, it passed 3-2. They both liked the idea of a new track and field, but were concerned about the maintenance.
"I don't think it is a responsible project right now," Humphrey said.
The Board of Finance will be considering the following anticipated project costs before approving the ones that will go on the ballot in a November referendum.
Latest Project Cost Estimates
- Roof replacements: $3,073,442
- at 5 Cherry Brook Rd.: no more than $7 million
- : $3,456,500
- Pavement management program for road repairs: $7.5 million
A proposal to renovate the high school parking lot might be included in the pavement management program plans.
Once the finance board has approved some or all of the four projects for bonding consideration on the ballot, the board will bounce them back to the Board of Selectmen to set the ballot questions and referendum date.
The selectmen have not decided at this time whether the projects will appear as individual questions on the ballot or one combined total bonding package question. Two members of the public asked that they be individual questions so that the vote isn't all or nothing. Board of Finance member Mary Tomolonius agreed.
"I think it's very important to have it as separate questions," she said in the joint meeting. "They should have the right when they vote to be given the chance to vote on the project they want to pay taxes for."