Big ticket items on town warrant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, January 04, 2018 8:31AM

Peterborough residents may be facing several large bond requests related to infrastructure improvements during this year’s open session of Town Meeting.

The Peterborough Public Library is anticipating requesting $3 million, which would be bonded, from the town to finish off its funding for the Library of the Future project, which would include both adding onto and renovating the existing library. The total cost of the project is estimated to be $8.5 million, the remainder of which will be raised through private funds and grants. 

But the library is not the only large-ticket item that the townspeople may face this May, during the town’s open session, where voting on items such as bonds and the budget are required by the town’s charter.

Related to the library project is a proposal to move utilities in that area, including potentially internet wires, underground, which could potentially cost up to $460,000, Town Administrator Rodney Bartlett informed the Budget Committee and Select Board during its joint meeting on Tuesday night. 

Other proposed bond issuances are related to town buildings or infrastructure. There are repairs need on both the Transcript dam and the North dam, which could cost between $300,000 and $750,000, respectively. 

Bartlett told the board that repairs for one of the dams, likely the North dam, could be put off for another year, in order to keep capital improvement costs down for this year. However, as the Transcript dam abuts work that will be done on Route 202 and the Main Street bridge. 

The town will also likely be requesting $400,000 for roadway system upgrades, which Bartlett said is the same amount the town has requested for the last several years, and will likely continue to request for at least the next decade, as the town’s 10-year road plan is expected to come with a price tag of around $4 million. Bartlett told the board that he is examining the best ways to make those funds work for them, including potentially setting up an expendable trust fund for money not spent at the end of the year, to be used on future projects.

The boards also discussed another potential infrastructure project, which could eventually lead to new facilities for the Fire and Highway Departments. Fire Chief Ed Walker has proposed a $500,000 warrant, the bulk of which would go to planning documents for a new fire station, and the remainder – about $70,00 – for a needs study of the highway department.

Bartlett said that Walker, at the town’s request, has consulted with other towns on costs and plans associated with other recently-constructed fire and ambulance buildings. While the original plan for a new fire building involved incorporating the armory motor pool, located behind the Peterborough Community Center, there is a possibility of getting pre-made plans at a cheaper price if the town plans to build on flat ground, said Bartlett. 

“We expect that number to drastically change,” said Bartlett. He said he should have more concrete numbers well ahead of Town Meeting. 

The Budget Committee and Select Board discussed whether, due to several significant items on the warrant this year, whether the town should consider holding the Town Meeting open session on the Saturday following the elections, rather than Wednesday, as is traditional, to allow the meeting to start in the morning. The board will further discuss this issue at its next joint meeting.


Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.