Departments request $4.1 million in capital items

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NaugyTownHall2NAUGATUCK — Large ticket items were on the table during the Board of Finance’s latest budget workshop.

The board heard requests, totaling about $4.1 million, for funding capital projects Monday night. Capital projects are paid over time through the reserve fund.

The largest request of the evening came from the Department of Public Works, which requested approximately $2.25 million worth of capital projects.

Among the public works request is $923,000 for the borough’s share of repairing and restoring the Maple Street bridge. The department is also seeking $426,000 for vehicles and equipment, including a large plow truck.

Public Works Director James Stewart told the board he wants to retire a 20-year-old truck that is going to need major work soon so the borough would still be short one truck.

Stewart is also seeking $400,000 for street paving and a study to evaluate all of the town roads and lay out a recommended schedule for paving.

Stewart said the borough has approximately 120 miles of roads, some of which are not in great shape. He said if road repairs keep getting put off the cost could rise quickly.

The fire department requested $295,000. The majority of the request, $150,000, is to refurbish the 1996 pumper truck.

Fire Chief Ken Hanks told the board the refurbishment is the second phase of the fire departments 20-year refurbishment plan for its vehicles.

Hanks said that if they receive the funding to do the work on the truck the department will have one new truck, one truck that is five years old, and two that are refurbished.

Hanks is also seeking about $39,000 worth of equipment and tools for the new pumper truck that was bought this fiscal year.

The police department asked for about $340,000 to pay for vehicle leases, tactical equipment and building and information technology upgrades.

Police Chief Christopher Edson said the money for the vehicle lease program, about $244,000, is for four SUVs and two sedans, plus warranties, equipment and lettering.

“We found that the SUVs actually have more utility than the sedans, and the bigger guys like them a lot better because there’s a little more head room and a little more shoulder room,” Edson said.

The SUVs also get about the same gas mileage as the regular sedans, so there is not much difference in the cost of fuel, Edson said.

Each SUV costs approximately $2,500 more than a sedan according to the police department’s capital request.

The department also requested new cameras for officers to wear.

The 24 cameras, which cost $1,000 a piece, would be worn by officers during their shift and be used to record any incident.
Deputy Chief Joshua Bernegger said the department has been testing the cameras since January and the officers are pleased with the results.

Bernegger gave an account of a suicidal person who lunged at officers when they came to his house. The footage was used as a valuable training tool for the officers, Bernegger said.

“This is a game-changer in law enforcement,” Bernegger said.

The department had been considering dashboard cameras for police cruisers but never went forward with them because not everything happens directly in front of the police vehicles, Bernegger said.

The capital requests were rounded about by the Whittemore Library, which is seeking about $133,000 mostly to replace widows in order to curtail the water from seeping into the building; the IT department asked for $122,500 to cover server upgrades and software upgrades; the Assessor’s Office requested $300,000 towards the 2017 revaluation; and the Water Pollution Control Authority requested about $710,000 for a sewer study, sewer rehabilitation and paving of an access road.

The finance board continued to go over the requests line by line Monday evening.

The board is scheduled to do a final review of the entire budget Monday before adopting the budget May 6 to send to a public hearing on May 13. The joint board of the Board of Mayor and Burgesses and Board of Finance is scheduled to adopt the budget May 16.