TOWNSEND -- The Capital Planning Committee postponed a vote Oct. 17 to add the building of a new fire station headquarters to the town's capital plan pending discussion from selectmen.
Adding the project to the capital plan is necessary to include it on the warrant for Special Town Meeting on Nov. 19.
The Fire Station Building Committee has proposed an $11.3 million headquarters to serve both central and West Townsend that selectmen voted in favor of in a meeting last month.
Fire Chief Donald Klein has proposed building the station on a 6-acre parcel on Scales Lane to be purchased from Townsend Ridge Country Club. The move would consolidate the Fire Department's operations from five buildings to two to increase efficiency.
A lack of information about the cost had some members of the Capital Planning Committee concerned that the building committee's proposal was premature.
Members Carolyn Smart and Andrea Wood said there were too many unknowns with the project to make it feasible to put on the capital plan.
"We don't have an agreement on the land, we don't know the cost, it hasn't been separated from the parcel yet, we don't know the assessed value," Smart said. "We've been very consistent with the need for a spending plan. And with this we don't have a cost, we don't have a purchase agreement, we don't have anything."
Chairman Lorna Fredd said the $11.3 million estimate was too uncertain to count on.
"We've been hearing from day one that it's the maximum amount, but we haven't seen any indication that the price will come down," Fredd said.
Town Administrator Andrew Sheehan said the building committee built contingencies into the budget, and is expecting the project to come in below the $11.3 million estimate.
"There's enough competition between companies that will probably want the job to lower the price," Sheehan said.
Member Colin McNabb, also a selectman, said adding the proposal to the Town Meeting warrant would allow the opportunity for voters to make up their own minds.
"I believe it should be added, and we can leave it up to Town Meeting and voters at the polls to decide," McNabb said.
If the Capital Planning Committee doesn't support the project, member Roger Rapoza said it could dissuade voters from supporting it as well.
"If Capital Planning goes forward without support, that might turn people's thinking off to even asking questions," Rapoza said. "I know what kind of quandary these people are in and they can't seem to get it off the ground. So if we don't approve it, where does it go from here?"
Fredd said although the building is necessary, more information is needed before it is presented to voters.
"I'm very supportive of the need to do this. There's no doubt we need a new fire station. But when it gets presented to the townspeople, it needs to be in a way that people can support," Fredd said.
If the Capital Planning Committee decides not to add the project to the Town Meeting warrant, selectmen could vote to add it as an emergency article.
The Capital Planning Committee will revisit the issue at its next meeting Nov. 7.
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