Selectmen cap spending

By JOHN FLOWERS

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury selectmen last week got their first glimpse of a proposed 2007-2008 capital improvement budget of $781,000, which was approximately $9,000 less than what voters approved for the current fiscal year.

The budget reflects, among other things, $250,000 for “special road projects” that may include repairs to Quarry and/or Shard Villa roads; $120,000 in paving work for Forest Ridge, North Branch Road and Seymour Street Extension; $80,000 to improve gravel roads throughout town; $50,000 in improvements to Schoolhouse Hill Road; $50,000 in sidewalk repairs; $6,000 to resurface the municipal tennis courts; $15,000 for computer-related upgrades for the police department; and $24,000 to bring more energy efficient lighting to the municipal building.

Members of the town’s Public Works Committee said that while there are many more projects that deserve inclusion on the 2007-2008 capital improvement list, they wanted to keep things tighter this year.

“We felt we had made a commitment to the taxpayers last year that we had a lot of big increases and that we would pretty much level fund (the following year),” said Selectman Don Keeler, a member of the Public Works Committee.

Last year’s capital improvement budget featured a hefty increase to reflect some major road reconstruction projects involving College Street and Seminary Street, to name a few.

“We’d made a pledge to scale back a little this year,” said selectboard Chairman John Tenny, another member of the Public Works Committee.

Selectmen will spend the coming weeks reviewing the proposed capital improvement budget, before agreeing on a final figure that will be put to voters as part of the municipal budget on Town Meeting Day next March.

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