Capital plan moves forward as budget talks continue

Apr 24, 2018

The Select Board voted to recommend the town’s 2019 capital plan for major purchases and spending, but held off on voting in favor of the town’s 2019 budget amid concerns with some proposed increases.

The plan includes one major change: $465,000 to fund an urgent replacement of the Town Hall roof. The roof sustained significant damage during one of the nor’easters in March.

Originally intended to be funded next year, it necessitated moving the project ahead to have it done by next winter, according to Interim town Administrator Greg Barnes.

Other highlights include $146,169 to continue the Dartmouth Police Department’s police cruiser replacement program.

The plan includes $200,000 to fund technology and infrastructure improvements in the school system and $185,000 to upgrade the radio systems in each school. An overhaul of Memorial Stadium is also on the docket with $400,000 in funding specifically focused on LED lighting and advanced engineering of the aging stadium.

The plan includes funding for various Department of Public Works projects in sewer, water, and solid waste – $1.7 million, $3.6 million, and $185,000 respectively.

Parks and Recreation could also get $40,000 to fund two projects: software to support its facility sticker program, and band stand repairs and renovations in Apponagansett Park.

The Select Board voted unanimously to recommend at Town Meeting, but decided to hold off on voting on the town’s operating budget as more meetings are scheduled to iron out details and answer questions raised by the Finance Committee.

Among the issues: a nearly doubling of the Dartmouth Emergency Management Agency budget, concerns with the police department’s vehicle maintenance plans, and issues with how custodial services are handled at the Council on Aging.

Discussions are also ongoing regarding the Department of Public Works’ vehicle maintenance budget, which includes a staffing increase to bring the department closer to centralizing vehicle maintenance.

However, there are concerns about how the police department could factor into the equation – the DPW likely won’t be ready to handle that until 2020 and will need more staff, and questions have been raised about whether or not centralizing vehicle maintenance will ultimately lead to savings.

In other Select Board business…

The committee searching for Dartmouth’s new town administrator has picked three finalists to send to the Select Board for interviews. Interviews are scheduled for April 30 and May 7. Interviews will be broadcast live on DCTV.