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Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Marpe: Five-Year Forecast ‘Not a Wish List’

By James Lomuscio

Saying it is not a wish list but a catalog of possible expenditures, Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe tonight presented a $93.8 million five-year, town and school capital plan to the Board of Finance

The plan is up from last year’s projected $72.5 million forecast.

“This is intended to be a catalogue of possible expenditures,” Marpe said at the outset. “Some things will come off here.”

Among the 22 items included in the 2016-21 plan are Department of Public Works sewer projects and related bridge work costing $11.4 million due to Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT) inspections.

Another is a town wide, emergency trunk radio system scheduled for 2021 and costing $8 million to be paid for via a grant, Marpe said.

Public safety, Marpe stressed, would remain a priority, such as $1.37 million in 2018 to increase the scope of combined police and fire dispatches.

According to Marpe, another priority, would be improving “the brand of Westport,” maintaining the town as an attractive place to live.

Marpe underscored this in the wake of Board of Finance Chairman Brian Stern’s earlier comments about residents leaving Connecticut due to the state’s fiscal malaise.

Items on Marpe’s list to bolster Westport’s brand were planned projects for Compo Beach and Longshore Club Park, the Westport Public Schools and the Westport Library.

Big ticket items for 2017 are a town and school energy contract costing $8.24 million and $5 million for the Westport Library renovation. The library cost is down $2.5 million due to changes in the project’s scope, Marpe said.

The Board of Education also has on its list $1.4 million to replace 106,000 square feet of roofing materials at Staples High School.

Also on the list for this year is $1.2 million for the Parks and Recreation Department’s renovation of Longshore’s golf course bunkers and related turf projects.

The Compo Beach bathhouse renovation and the reworking of the beach entrance, totaling $4 million, is forecast for 2019.

Another major Parks and Recreation project involves the implementation of the 2019 Longshore Master Plan costing $4 million. It will encompass renovations of the pro shop, clubhouse, parking lots and practice facilities, plus $1.2 million for the maintenance building.

Funds also have been put in the plan for a Burying Hill beach jetty construction Compo Beach restorations.

Also on the list is $3.95 million for the expansion and enhancement of the Westport Center for Senior Activities scheduled for 2018.

“Anything we can do to keep the seniors in town keeps the town vibrant,” said Selectman Avi Kaner told the finance board.

Stern agreed that the Senior Center was a vital organization that deserved support.

Other planned projects include $2.5 million for dredging the Saugatuck River in 2018 and $4.5 million for a Saugatuck Fire Station renovation in 2020.

Meanwhile, in the current fiscal year the town has projects appropriated, in-progress, or completed in the amount of $26.3 million, Marpe said.

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Posted 02/01/17 at 10:48 PM  Permalink



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