The fate of a proposed brand new $5.5 million Department of Public Works facility in Woodbridge will fall back to the hands of the boards of selectmen and finance. The project was up before a town meeting last night. One hundred residents were required to be present for a show-of-hands vote, but fewer than 70 showed.
"We had less than 100 people here to open this meeting. That shows me that the overwhelming majority of people in town favor the project," said First Selectman Edward Sheehy at the meeting last night. Since there were not enough voters to vote, the town and architect had to present the project to the crowd and answer questions.
The vast majority of attendees at last night's meeting were in support of the project, which has been considered since a 1999 gasoline leak required one-third of the building to be demolished. The existing DPW facility has one bathroom (that some men at last night's meeting said they barely fit into and have to enter sideways) and inadequate bay space for trucks and equipment to be stored and serviced.
"The facility is substandard, to say the least," Sheehy said.
Several residents voiced concerns over the cost, but architect Jerry Kagan said the plan before the town uses the smallest footprint possible.
His colleague at the New Haven architectural firm Roth, Moore & Kagan, Harold Roth described the project as efficient and compact. The garage would have eight storage bays and three maintenance bays.
The town has set aside $700,000 in insurance money from the gasoline leak and will receive a $375,000 STEAP grant to offset the cost. If approved, the project will cost taxpayers an additional $26 per $100,000 of assessed value. There are three other proposed projects in Woodbridge: a $12 million renovation at Beecher Road School; a $3 million police department renovation and a plan to spend $3 million on open space property.
Around 15 residents spoke at the meeting. Most were in support of the project, realizing the need for a new construction.
Resident David Barkin spoke at the meeting, calling the project an 'efficient design' that is 'structurally simple.'
Warren Luciani, also a Woodbridge resident, urged other residents to go see the existing DPW facility.
"We've spent money on open space, on a golf course that only 10 percent of the town uses," Luciani said. "Spending this money gives directly to the residents."
Joan Lindy, on the other hand, wished the town would 'reconsider its spending habits.'
The Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance will vote on the project at a meeting of the Board of Finance Thursday evening.