Town Engineer Outlines Major Road Repairs For Sandwich

Repairs are slated to come to three major Sandwich roads and the Sandwich Public Library parking lot.

Now the selectmen and the town’s voters will decide what other roads and public infrastructure, if any, will be repaired.

At the August 21 meeting of the Sandwich Board of Selectmen, town engineer Paul S. Tilton discussed $1.29 million in repairs to Sandwich roads and the library’s parking lot.

The repairs were voted as part of a one-year capital outlay by last May’s Annual Town Meeting and confirmed by voters at last May’s Annual Town Election.

The capital outlay, a way to override the restrictions of Proposition 2 1/2, a state law that limits increases in the town’s annual property tax levy, will vanish from the tax rate after one year.

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According to a presentation given by Mr. Tilton at the August 21 meeting, the outlay will fund $450,000 in repairs to Main Street, $185,000 in repairs to Beale Avenue, $520,000 in repairs to Old County Road, and $135,000 in repairs to the library parking lot.

The town engineer said that the preparation work, such as taking core samples from the roads and lot in question, already is underway.

He anticipates that the reconstruction work will commence in 2015.

In other actions at last Thursday’s meeting, Mr. Tilton renewed his plea for a $5.2 million road bond to address other Sandwich roads and infrastructure still needing repair.

Earlier this year, the board of selectmen, wary of anticipated taxpayer resistance, voted 4-1 to carve Mr. Tilton’s unified road bond request into one-year capital outlays spread over a five-year period.

The outlays require simple majorities at Town Meeting rather than two-thirds majorities for passage.

Selectman Susan R. James was the dissenter, arguing to fund the needed work in one fell swoop.

One potential glitch in the slice-and-dice approach: there’s no guarantee that an outlay will be approved in a future year, which opens the door to a gap in the repair program.

The proposed single-bond approach still may come before voters this year, given the arrival of R. Patrick Ellis, a road bond supporter, on the board of selectmen this past spring.

But at last week’s meeting, the discussion remained descriptive and general. Ms. James was absent and no votes were taken by the selectmen on the road repair program.

In addition to the combined road bond, Mr. Tilton renewed his request for an annual increase of $300,000 in the town’s highway operating budget.

The town engineer said the increased funding would allow the town to keep up with road repairs and maintenance following the more substantial repairs funded through Annual Town Meeting and Annual Town Election votes.

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  • jbwayb

    use the dump fee excess to fund the 300K. Or lay off the 6 employees at the dump that just sit around and do nothing.