Deerfield voters to decide 8 capital projects at Town Meeting

By CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer

Published: 04-19-2024 11:18 AM

Modified: 04-19-2024 12:31 PM


DEERFIELD — As residents prepare for Annual Town Meeting on April 29, the Selectboard and the Capital Improvements and Finance committees have laid out their approved capital projects for the upcoming year.

Voters will be asked to consider directly funding five projects, as the town is looking to replace servers at Town Hall, continue the second phase of adding air conditioning to Deerfield Elementary School and replace a truck for the wastewater treatment plant, while also contributing Deerfield’s share toward South County EMS and South County Senior Center purchases.

On top of those projects, residents will be asked to consider funding three other projects through reallocations. Voters will be asked to reallocate $30,000 from South County EMS’ exhaust project, which was leftover money as the Greenfield Fire Department donated its used system; $44,000 from the agency’s cardiac monitor project, as well as $16,000 from retained earnings to fund the purchase of an electric paramedic intercept vehicle; and $15,000 from South County EMS’ rent stabilization for an EV charger.

Capital Improvements Committee Chair Mark Brennan noted the committee was able to recommend these eight projects out of 23 requests, and the town will need to examine its finances for upcoming fiscal years. To help with that, he said the committee is going to begin working on five- and 15-year plans to lay out priorities.

“There’s still a pretty big shortfall … between the requests that have come through and what we’re actually able to fund,” Brennan said. “I think we’re going to have to both look at how much money we’re putting into stabilization for years to come and then also making sure we’re not getting into a spot where we’re deferring too many of these investments and paying for it later.”

In total, the directly funded projects add up to $179,600, with $101,500 to be paid using free cash, while the sewer purchase will fall under the sewer’s enterprise fund and a replacement stretcher for South County EMS will take $35,500 out of the agency’s retained earnings.

For the free cash projects, the second phase of the Deerfield Elementary School air conditioning installation will cover six additional rooms for $72,000, the server replacement at Town Hall will cost $17,000 and Deerfield’s portion of the South County Senior Center van will cost $12,500.

The wastewater treatment truck replacement is requested to be funded with $42,600 and the trade in of the department’s current truck. If approved, the new truck also would have equipment for snow removal, which could take some of the load off the Highway Department.

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Residents will consider these capital projects and other warrant articles at Annual Town Meeting on Monday, April 29, at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at Frontier Regional School.

A recording of the capital projects public hearing can be found on the town’s YouTube page at the 1:21:20 mark at this link: bit.ly/3U4zxlV.

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com.