Regionalization an option to buy paving equipment

Benedetti representatives make a presentation on their equipment to Beacon Falls residents in May.

BEACON FALLS — A second referendum to buy paving equipment is not likely following a public informational meeting on the subject last month. However, town officials are still perusing other options to buy the equipment they believe could save the town millions of dollars.

A $5.1 million bond for road and sanitary sewer main improvements, which included the potential for purchasing Benedetti paving equipment, failed in a referendum in March.

After the item was rejected, Board of Finance member Lou Krepinevich made a push to informing the public on the equipment.

Krepinevich brought representatives from Angelo Benedetti, Inc. to meet with town residents to explain the benefits of their asphalt recycling system. However, the representatives were met with opposition from a few outspoken townspeople who were concerned the equipment would not work on their roads.

The equipment would chop up the existing pavement, recycle it, and lay it back down all in one step. According to town officials the equipment could be used on 60 to 70 percent of the roads.

First Selectman Susan Cable said that she respects the opinions of the town’s people.

“Obviously we can’t afford to go to another referendum,” Cable said.

She said she had doubts as to whether it would pass on a second go-around.

Although a second attempt at gaining voter approval for the equipment isn’t in the cards, the town hasn’t completely given up on finding a way to bring the equipment to Beacon Falls.

Cable said she spoke with the Council of Governments, including leaders from Prospect, Naugatuck, Middlebury, Wolcott, about the possibility of buying the equipment as part of a regional effort.

She said there is a grant available this upcoming year to buy equipment if it’s shared by communities. She said she has asked the town’s state delegation to look into whether local towns could qualify for such a grant.

“They’re all very interested in looking into it as a regional kind of thing,” Cable said.

She said she hoped to make a presentation with Benedetti representatives to leaders from other towns to explain the equipment.

The idea of sharing the equipment with Beacon Falls was met favorably from neighboring town leaders.

“We’re open to the idea,” Naugatuck Mayor Robert Mezzo said.

Mezzo said he would be interested to learn more about the equipment and how it works.

“I don’t think it works for every street, but from what I’ve heard there are some benefits and it’s used significantly in other portions of the country,” Mezzo said.

He said he would like to see the project involve more of the Valley communities, which share economic and population density situations.

“Any time that you can do something regionally, it’s a benefit to the communities economically,” Mezzo said.

Prospect Mayor Robert Chatfield also said he was anxious to see the equipment in operation.

“If it works the way it sounds like it is, it will be very good for all the towns involved,” Chatfield said.

Cable said she appreciated Krepinevich’s efforts to think outside the box.

“I think Lou Krepinevich really tried, put his heart and soul and a lot of time and effort into it and trying to get an idea across to help save us money,” Cable said.

She said he is very frustrated and discouraged that his idea has not born fruit.

“It’s not a dead project. It’s just going to be looked at with a different approach,” Cable said.