Monday, August 20, 2018

So, Selectmen consider tax override to pay for Stoney bridge repairs?
With an estimated $800,000.00 in leftover tax dollars from last year, there does not seem to be a need for another tax increase in Templeton at this time. Will have to see how much of that estimated money comes to fruition and how much of it has to be used to fund the fiscal year 2019 spending plan, as in using one time funds to prop up a spending plan, which is against the town's financial policy. Little has changed regarding Templeton finance.

There is also a lack of clarity regarding Templeton debt, which is another question needing to be answered. In two years time, how much of an increase in Templeton taxes will be needed to pay for all of the Templeton debt?

from January 2018

Hubbardston will receive $425,000 to preserve bridges on Williamsville Road and Ragged Hill Roads over Natty Pond Brook and Templeton Brook.

Orange will receive $420,000 to replace a bridge on East Road over West Brook.

According to MassDOT and the Governor:
The Municipal Small Bridge program is a need and merit based program that seeks to fund those applications that demonstrate a critical need or substantially extend the life of an existing small bridge that is between ten and twenty feet in length.  Projects are evaluated according to a strict set of eligibility criteria that consider the condition, benefits, and repair status of each bridge.

Templeton taxpayers should demand that all other avenues of funding be looked at before any tax increase is asked for. Lack of accountability concerning Templeton debt is one important reason to avoid any new tax overrides at present time.

Monday, July 16, 2018
 ORANGE — Preliminary estimates show that the town will need more than the $420,000 Massachusetts Department of Transportation grant to replace the closed bridge off Route 2A, and Orange is going to the state to ask for more.
Many have expressed that they would like to see the bridge, which has been closed for three years, reopen. Residents, school bus drives and town officials have all expressed eagerness,
because the closure has severed a route from North Orange to Route 2A and the rest of the town.
The Select board has approved a letter to MassDOT District 2 Highway Director Peter Cavicchi asking for an additional $80,000, bringing the total to $500,000 — the maximum amount the town may get from the Baker-Polito administration’s Small Bridge Program.
“We were thrilled, to put it mildly, and very grateful to the state for this program,” Select board Chairman Ryan Mailloux said, reading his letter aloud. “It enables the town to fix a road and bridge issue that is a main route for our school buses and residents, that has been closed while we sought a solution.”
The town has a contract with Tighe & Bond for engineering and design work on the bridge, which crosses West Brook on the three-mile road. Town Administrator Gabriele Voelker has anticipated the project being done by “fall or winter.”
In preliminary designing, Tighe & Bond found that $420,000 was very unlikely to be enough to cover the cost of replacing the bridge.
Mailloux said the town is “exploring all areas” of possible funding in the letter, which is also being forwarded to state Rep. Susannah Whipps.
“We’ll be taking some of our Chapter 90 funds to help cover the gap. However, this directly impacts other necessary road projects,” Mailloux said.
The grant money is a portion of $5.2 million awarded in January to 12 communities to repair or replace small (10 to 20 feet long) bridges.
While the bridge is small, its location in a residential neighborhood has caused some problems. Selectboard member and school bus driver Tom Smith has said the bridge’s closure has added time and inconvenience to bus routes.