By JOHN FLOWERS
BRIDPORT — Bridport voters will have an extra reason to turn out at the polls for the Nov. 7 General Election. That’s because the ballot will feature a question asking residents if they’d like to reconsider their decision last August to spend $600,000 on a new town garage and renovated fire department facilities.
Town officials confirmed last week that they’d received a reconsideration petition bearing 81 signatures, almost double the minimum 43 signatures required to force the revote.
Officials surmised that some residents were concerned about the $600,000 price tag of the project, approved by an 81-75 margin on Aug. 17. That project includes erecting a new, five-bay garage on a 16-acre parcel of town-owned land at the intersection of Crown Point Road and Short Street. The Bridport Public Works Department and its equipment have outgrown the current four-bay bay garage on Crown Point Road in the village.
The second part of the project calls for the current town garage to be renovated for use by the Bridport Volunteer Fire Department. The department currently shares space with the town offices in a building in the village. Fire department vehicles are now parked bumper-to-bumper in the current headquarters. If the fire department moves into the old town garage, that will leave more space for the town offices.
Officials have estimated it will cost $500,000 to build the new town garage, and another $100,000 to renovate the current garage space for the fire department.
Selectmen scheduled the vote for Nov. 7 in order to maximize turnout. “Certainly, selectmen are hoping voters will support this project,” selectboard Chairman Tom Broughton said. “We think it’s a win-win situation.”