Archive for the ‘Wakefield MA’ Category

Regional Lockup Pushed by Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian

The Sentinel and Enterprise reports that Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian will still pursue the creation of a regional lockup facility for cities and towns within the county, despite Gov. Deval Patrick vetoing $1.5 million in state funding for the facility’s construction.

Read the rest of the article online at Wakefield Patch http://wakefield.patch.com/articles/middlesex-jail-renovation-moving-forward-despite-governor-s-veto

New School Gets Initial Wakefield OK – Vote Looms

The following article appears today in the Boston Globe online www.boston.com as written by John Laidler, Globe Correspondent.

A proposal to build a new Galvin Middle School  cleared Wakefield’s Town Meeting by an overwhelming margin, but the $73.96 million plan still faces a critical vote next month.

By a vote of 1331 to 7, the annual Town Meeting in its opening night Monday authorized the town to borrow and spend $73.27 million for the project, representing the full cost minus $686,400  previously appropriated.

But the vote was contingent on voter approval of a debt exclusion to fund the town’s share of the project. The debt exclusion, or temporary tax increase, will be the subject of a special election June 9.

The project calls for erecting a new 187,733-square-foot fifth- to eighth-grade school on the site of the existing Main Street building, which would be razed. If the debt exclusion passes, it would add $188 to the tax bill of a single-family home valued at about $400,000 in fiscal 2014, according to town administrator Stephen P. Maio.

The Massachusetts School Building Authority has committed to reimbursing the town for 54.67 percent of eligible costs, or up to $34.69 million, leaving the town’s share about $39 million.

Town clerk Mary K. Galvin said turnout at Monday’s Town Meeting session was the largest she recalled in her 29  years working for the town.

A total of 1,419 voters were present at 10 p.m.  just before the vote on the Galvin School project, with slightly smaller numbers earlier in the session, according to Galvin. The session’s only other actions were approval of a fiscal 2013 budget and a $5 million appropriation to fund improvements to the athletic fields and other facilities at the high school.

Even supporters said they were impressed with the show of voter support for the Galvin School proposal, which had earlier garnered the unanimous backing of the Board of Selectmen, the Finance Committee, and the School Committee.

“It was a positive sign to see the sheer number of people who showed up to vote for it,” said Lisa A. Butler,  a member of the School Committee and of the Permanent Building Committee, the panel overseeing the project.

“We expected parents to come, and we didn’t expect a whole lot of opposition. . . . But we were surprised at the number of people” that turned out, she said.

Based on the Town Meeting outcome, Butler said she is “cautiously optimistic” that voters will approve the debt exclusion. But she said supporters are taking nothing for granted.

“I feel that the support is out there. . . . But people still have to come out and vote,” she said. “We are going to need more than 1,300 people to come out for the ballot vote. We are telling people, ‘Don’t think that this is it. The next step is June 9.’ ”

The current school opened in 1955 as the town’s high school, becoming the middle school in 1974. A 16-classroom addition was built about that time.  Officials have said the school has worn-out mechanical systems and is not designed for the needs of a modern middle school.

Maio, who supports the project, said he was pleased by the large number of voters who turned out to back the plan.

“I think they see a real need for it,” he said. “They see the fact that by going this route, we are able to get close to 55 percent back from the state on it.”

Maio said another factor that might have helped generate support for the project is that “for the first time in my memory, you have the Finance Committee, the Board of Selectmen, and the School Committee all in agreement that this is the most fiscally responsible way to go.”

Opponents have argued that the town should carry out a less costly upgrade to the existing school that would avoid a tax increase. But Maio said a simple repair project would cost the town more than $20 million and a full scale renovation about $70 million,  and that the state would not provide any reimbursement for either of those two options.

Butler said she believes tthat Monday’s action action reflects a change in voter attitudes in town that goes beyond favoring a solution to the middle school building issue.

“People realize if you want to improve your town, you have to invest in it,” she said, citing the vote to fund improvements to the athletic facilities at the high school another sign of that new attitude.

Should the project go forward, it would be conducted in two phases. The first, set for completion in August 2014, would involve construction of the new building save for the auditorium.

The second phase, set for completion by the end of 2015,  would involve the construction of an auditorium, the razing of the existing building, and site work.

 

This is similar to what Billerica did for the Parker School which is scheduled to open in the fall of this year.       Joan Parcewski, Realtor  Woods Real Estate  Joan@woodsre.com   www.JoanParcewski.com   978-376-3978

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