NAUGATUCK — The Board of Mayor and Burgesses voted Tuesday to send about $13 million worth of capital projects to a referendum in November.
Voters will decide on borrowing money for the four projects separately. The questions will be on the ballot along side candidates for state office Nov. 4.
The four projects were recommended to the board by the five-year capital committee.
The largest project is $6 million for upgrades to the borough’s wastewater treatment plant. The work is mandated to meet changes in state and federal laws regarding the way mercury is disposed of and the amount of mercury that is acceptable.
Burgess Rocky Vitale questioned what happens if this project is rejected at the referendum since it’s mandated.
If the upgrades are not made the borough can face fines from the state and may run into issues with the contract with Veolia Water North America to operate the incinerator at the plant.
“If this goes to referendum and gets turned down, what’s the contingency plan,” Vitale asked. “I’m just concerned, if that doesn’t go through and we have to do that as a budgeted project, that’s a lot of money.”
Mayor Robert Mezzo said legal counsel advised that the borough has the authority to bond for the work anyway since it is a state mandate, even if it’s rejected.
Officials also want to borrow $5 million for improvements to roads, bridges and infrastructure. Out of the money $1 million would go towards repairs to the Whittemore Bridge and the rest would be for road repairs and a traffic signal at the intersection of Melbourne Street and Rubber Avenue.
Vitale said the road repairs have been needed for a long time.
“Everybody has been complaining about the roads and conditions,” Vitale said.
The other two proposed projects are $1 million to repair and renovate Hop Brook Pool, which has been closed since 2012, and $775,000 to move the recycling center off of Rubber Avenue.
The $775,000 would go towards the construction of a new recycling center, including a shed, ramps, concrete walls, asphalt walls, a small office and concrete paths for the dumpsters, Public Works Director James Stewart told the board.
Vitale didn’t think the Hop Brook Pool should be grouped with the other bonds, since he felt it wasn’t as important.
“I’m very concerned we have bond issues that I would consider to be either pressing or emergencies and Hop Brook Pool isn’t necessarily considered that,” Vitale said. “I’d rather not see it affect something that needs to be done.”
Vitale was concerned residents might focus on the overall amount, rather than the individual questions.
“People may look at it and say, ‘Holy mackerel look at this total they want to bond,’” Vitale said.