Committee Objective: Evaluate the feasibility of establishing a public works department.


Conclusions - 2002

1. Implementation of a public works department is not economically viable, at least not at this time.

2. At some point in the future, a public works department may become cost effective if:

        Plowing costs increase significantly.

        Town maintained roadway mileage increases.

        DEP mandates that the transfer station be relocated off the aquifer.

3. Since open land is rapidly disappearing, the town should immediately identify a suitable parcel for future town use (public works complex, school, fire station and/or administrative office) and initiate the procurement process.

4. The evaluation of several sites that were on the market identified only two that were marginally acceptable.


Progress - 2003

1. The March 5, 2003, town meeting appropriated $3,000 to identify a suitable parcel of land for future town needs and committed to a referendum vote before any such purchase is made.

2. Since only two marginally acceptable parcels had been identified in 2002, the committee decided to solicit interest of landowners of 20 acres or more that met the selection criteria.

        A questionnaire was prepared and sent to the owners of 64 potentially acceptable parcels.

        Ten owners indicated a possible interest in selling to the town within five years.

        Nine of the ten were field evaluated the tenth was sold prior to its evaluation, but was unacceptable anyway.

        Two of the parcels appeared to be better than the 2002 parcels.

        One was not actually owned by the company identified in the tax records and the actual owners were willing to sell only a few acres.

3. The remaining parcel is separated from the existing school ballfield by a narrow parcel, the owners of which have indicated a willingness to sell 2.5 acres to the town at the right price.

4. The owner of another parcel adjacent to the ballfield had previously indicated a willingness to sell part of it to the town and still has a possible interest. This would enhance the overall purchase, but is not essential.


Next Steps

1. Appraise the three parcels. The appraiser has been selected and a letter of authorization will be issued by the administrative assistant in early March.

2. Following receipt of the appraisals, negotiate the sales price with the three owners.

3. If the prices are acceptable to the selectmen, enter into appropriate purchase and sales agreements contingent upon acceptable soils testing for subsurface wastewater disposal and a favorable town referendum vote.