Bond proposals heading to vote

Beacon Falls firefighter and emergency medical technician Kurt Novak stands next to a 25-year-old fire engine at Beacon Hose Company No. 1 earlier this year. Money to buy a new fire truck to replace the engine pictured is one of three proposals voters will be asked to authorize on Tuesday night. –FILE PHOTO

Beacon Falls firefighter and emergency medical technician Kurt Novak stands next to a 25-year-old fire engine at Beacon Hose Company No. 1 earlier this year. Money to buy a new fire truck to replace the engine pictured is one of three proposals voters will be asked to authorize on Tuesday night. –FILE PHOTO

BEACON FALLS — Voters will have their say on a proposed bond plan Tuesday night.

A town meeting will be held at the firehouse, 35 North Main St., to vote on authorizing the town to borrow up to $1.82 million. 

The bond package includes $420,000 to cover overruns on work done on the Depot Street Bridge, $700,000 to begin upgrading the waste water treatment plant and $700,000 for a new fire engine. A public hearing will be held on the funds for the waste water treatment plant at 7 p.m. A town meeting to vote on each project separately will be held immediately following the hearing.

First Selectman Gerard Smith said the hearing will only be for the treatment plant project. However, he said, residents will have a chance to discuss each item during the town meeting.

The water treatment plant is the only part of the potential bond package that will be the subject of a hearing since it is part of a much larger project. The town is planning a long-term, $16 million overhaul of the plant.

The $700,000 the waste water treatment plant will be used to upgrade the plant’s three pump stations and bring the plant in compliance with state regulations for phosphorous and nitrogen levels. If the plant is not in compliance with the regulations by 2014 the town will face fines from the state.

The new fire truck would replace an engine that will be 25 years old next year.

Earlier this year Fire Chief Michael Pratt told the Board of Selectman the engine does not meet current safety standards. He added if it starts to break down, the truck may cost more than it’s worth to fix.

The new fire truck that Beacon Hose Company No. 1 is looking to purchase is a ladder truck as well as a pumper. Currently, Beacon Hose does not have a ladder truck.

Smith said the overruns on the Depot Street Bridge come from the engineering work that was done, the inspections and the final closeout payments. The town will be reimbursed for approximately $43,000 from the state and receive another $149,000 from grants to offset the costs.

Smith said the work has already been done on the bridge and the town is now obligated to pay for it. 

While the residents will be voting to give the town permission to bond up to $1.82 million, the town does not intend to borrow the whole amount.

The town will look into paying for the items with cash from the general fund and grants before it borrows money, Smith said. By passing these three items the town is able to spend up to $1.82 million, he said. 

Smith said if the items are approved they will not affect this year’s taxes. He couldn’t say what affect it would have on next year’s taxes since the town is refinancing its debts and doesn’t know what portion of the money spent on these items will come from bonds.

Smith said the three items are large expenditures, but they are all necessary for the town.

“I would encourage people to come out, listen to, understand, and support all three questions,” Smith said.