Bonding Referendum Tomorrow for Major Projects

There’s a vote coming up on Saturday on a $12.5 bond package for eight different construction projects. Absentee ballots are available for any resident who will be unable to vote. The referendum will take place from 6 am – 8 pm at Wolcott High School. Any resident who usually votes at Wakelee or Tyrrell can vote in this one single voting location. Absentee ballots are available in the Town Clerk’s office during the following hours:

Tuesday, Wednesday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Thursday 8:30 – 5:30 pm
Friday 9:00 am – noon

The town will be holding two informational sessions on the bond package this week. Each will be at 6:30 pm.

Thursday Aug 25th – Firehouse Company #3
Friday Aug 26th – Firehouse Company #1

Town of Wolcott_ Explanatory Text (8_11) (7)

A simple majority of votes will approve or defeat the referendum package. Town officials estimate that if the projects were not bonded, an increase of approximately 3 mills would be required to complete the projects within annual budget allocations. Council members from all political parties conceded that with current school construction bonds expiring, issuing new bonds would level fund the debt service accounts and give the town savings over time.

The bond proposals will include the following projects:

1) $10 M in road reconstruction and paving
2) Reconstruct a waterline serving 13 customers on Woodtick Rd.
3) Construct a new waterline up Center St. to Wolcott High School
4) Purchase a fire engine pumper
5) Replace the Wolcott High School gymnasium floor
6) Replace the bleachers in the WHS Gymnasium
7) Install new alarm systems at Wolcott High and Wakelee Schools
8 ) Construct a walking trail around Scoville Reservoir

Road Reconstruction

Approximately 25 miles of road is expected to be not just resurfaced, but rebuilt down to the base over several years. Many of Wolcott’s roads- particularly in the North End – have been neglected as funding for paving was diverted to snow plowing. What was often left behind was only enough money to pave perhaps two to five miles of Wolcott’s 189 miles of roadway. At that rate, it would take nearly 38 years to resurface all of the town’s roads.

Mayor Dunn noted that some roads which have deteriorated into poor conditions include a section of Woodtick Road north of St. Pius Church, Spindle Hill Rd, Thomas St. Midwood Dr. and Central Ave. also have drainage issues which need to be done. Over the years, Transportation assistance and LOCIP (Local Community Capital Improvement Grants) from the state have assisted the town in paving its roads, however this money is often diverted during nasty winters to snow plowing. Dunn says that paving costs are always increasing, and currently cost about $300,000 per mile. “The $150,000 we currently receive in LOCIP grants don’t go very far.” He intends to use more than one company to complete the project over two paving seasons so costs can be kept low and bonds repaid as quickly as possible.

A similar proposal for $3.5 million in road improvements was defeated several years ago.
Roads that are reconstructed will be done so to ensure that water runoff is properly diverted through drainage as well as crowning the roadway.

Woodtick Road Waterline

An older waterline on Woodtick Rd. from Waterbury services about 13 customers. The condition of the waterline is said to be deteriorating greatly and may impair the water supply to those residents who are reliant on it. If approved, bond money will replace this line.

Wolcott High School Waterline

A proposal for a new public water supply to the High School which would replace the current well has been on the Board of Education’s 5 Year Plan for many years. “The well will collapse one day,” school officials told the Town Council at an informational hearing on June 14th this year. The school had to close in 2007 for a day when the well ran dry. Engineering plans show that this waterline will be extended from Wolcott Rd. and up Center St. just short of Juniper Dr, before it turns left through backyards towards the school. It will go behind the end of Orchard La. A pump station and watertower will need to be placed near the school to complete the project.

Alternative routes, such as winding the line up Boundline Rd. from Minor or Center St. would triple the cost of the project, according to School officials. They say that property easements already exist and the project will take two years to complete.

The state of the current well is that it has a high level of iron in it. School maintainance personnel are required to test water quality every two weeks because it serves the general public. A new public water supply line will eliminate the need for testing. Other funding possibilities have been explored but have fallen short. Federal ARRA stimulus money was applied for, however denied three years ago. The state’s budget deficit precludes any possibility of those kinds of grants as well and Town officials believe that the cost of the project exceeds that of a single year allocation. superintendent Joseph Macary believes that the waterline would be helpful for Center St. and Orchard Lane residents by boosting property values. Residents along Center St. will be assessed a tax for the line at the current rate that is allowed by law in other areas of town.

School Alarm Systems

School officials are pushing for new alarm systems at Wolcott High and Wakelee Elementary Schools. “The alarm system at the High School is 50 years old,” superintendent Macary told the Town Council. It was updated in 1974, although its difficult to get parts for the current alarm panel which shows if a fire or other problem is occurring. “If a smoke detector goes off, we have to check the entire building for it. The current system is a safety hazard,” says Facilities director Fran Hubeny. Updated alarm systems were installed at other schools about ten years ago when additions were built onto them. The breakdown in cost between the two schools would be $125,000 for Wakelee School and $264,000 for the High School. Wakelee has an annual enrollment of about 450 students and about 800 at WHS.

Town Council member Michael Perrone inquired if new alarm systems would be able to detect Carbon Monoxide levels. Last year over 20 students at a Waterbury School were hospitalized after a furnace malfunctioned emitting the noxious compound. He was assured that this could easily be done. The new alarm systems are expected to last 30 – 40 years and will only include alarm systems and not include camera upgrades. WHS has such a system installed a few years ago.

High School Gymnasium Bleachers and Floor
Facilities Director Francis Hubeny told the Town Council that the current High School floor was laid in 1987 and the current gym bleachers are not up to code. “When you pull the fold -out bleachers out of the wall, you currently get splintering of the wood from the front panel. New bleachers will come with hand railings which currently don’t exist on the old ones.”

The cost to replace the gym floor is estimated to be $148,900 and $89,885 for the bleacher set.

Engine 6 is the next engine which is scheduled to be replaced according to a planned replacement program by the Fire Department. That unit was purchased in 1989. The department has planned to replace one piece of apparatus every one to two years in their fleet.

Scoville Walking Trail
Mayor Dunn placed a new proposal to extend the current walking trail to circumnavigate Scoville Reservoir into the bonding package as an opportunity to expand the Town’s recreational opportunities. The current trail was built by his predecessor, Michael DeNegris. “The current trail along Wolf Hill Rd. is used alot” Council members inquired if open space funds were available to fund this project instead of a bond. “There’s simply not alot of that available,” reported the Mayor.

The proposed walking trail would be extended to St. Pius Church as well as around the north side of the reservoir. The Town already owns the land around the water, including a 50 foot easement on the side fronting Coe Rd.

When developers come into town, a specific allocation of land is required to be set aside for open space, although a monetary sum may be assessed in lieu of this. Most developers opt to set aside land instead, however.


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