Committee suggests bonding for projects

Hunters Mountain Road in Naugatuck is one of the borough-owned roadways identified in a recent study that needs to be completely reconstructed. The borough's five-year capital committee has suggested bonding $4 million to repair the worst roads in the borough as part of a $6.14 million package. –FILE PHOTO

Hunters Mountain Road in Naugatuck is one of the borough-owned roadways identified in a recent study that needs to be completely reconstructed. The borough’s five-year capital committee has suggested bonding $4 million to repair the worst roads in the borough as part of a $6.14 million package. –FILE PHOTO

NAUGATUCK — Those who complain about the quality of local roads now have an opportunity to do something about it, but it will cost them.

The borough’s five-year capital committee has suggested bonding $4 million to repair the worst roads in the borough.

That will be part of the $6.14 million the committee will likely ask residents to vote on at a referendum in November, if the Board of Mayor and Burgesses votes at its meeting next month in favor of the referendum.

Burgess Bob Neth, chairman of the five-year capital committee, said there will be four questions on the ballot. Residents will be asked whether the borough should: Spend $4 million for road repairs; Put $1 million toward repairs of the Whittemore Memorial Bridge on Maple Street; Spend $1 million to renovate the outdoor pool at Hop Brook School; Allocate $145,000 to tear down the dilapidated former commercial building at the corner of Maple and South Main streets.

“Because things are so tight, I’d like to see the people of Naugatuck make the decision,” Neth said.

Department of Public Works Director Jim Stewart said he thinks $4 million would be a good start for road repairs; it would cost about $30 million to repair all roads.

The Whittemore Bridge repairs would cost about $3 million; residents approved $2 million for the project 13 years ago.

The Hop Brook pool has been shut down for several years and needs major enhancements to make it usable again.

“For many people, using that pool is like their vacation, so we as a committee believe it’s important for the community,” Neth said.

He noted that using public money to tear down a private building, like the one on the corner of Maple and South Main streets, is controversial.

But, he said, the property would be deeded back to the borough. And, he said, the borough needs an easement on property that is also owned by the building owner, Rich Hertel of Rich’s Car Works, for future phases of the greenway project along the Naugatuck River.

Mayor Robert Mezzo said he generally supports the committee’s recommendations, adding that he has “the highest level of respect for Burgess Neth and the committee.”

Mezzo does have some concerns over the road repairs item.

“I know that may be unpopular, but I have a little concern over bonding in an area that we normally fund through the operating budget,” he said. “I defer to Burgess Neth’s judgment and think that’s something the voters can ultimately decide on. I’m open-minded about it.”

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