TOWNSEND -- Police Chief Erving Marshall made requests to the Capital Planning Committee for several fiscal 2015 projects Feb. 6, including carpet replacement, computer upgrades and the possibility of solar panel installation.

The committee has $200,000 to dedicate to the town's capital projects for next year.

Marshall asked for $32,000 to replace the police station's carpeting, which is 23 years old.

Committee member Carolyn Smart recommended funding the carpet with anything that is left over in the department's operating budget at the end of the fiscal year, but Marshall said there simply wouldn't be enough money left.

"The last few years, I've been borrowing from Peter to pay Paul," Marshall said.

"I agree with you that'd be a great way to fund it if I have the money, but I don't think it's going to be there," he added.

Marshall also requested $15,000 a year for the next three years to upgrade the department's computers.

The request included upgrading the computers, servers, monitors, tape drives, copiers and laptops scheduled for replacement in fiscal 2015 and 2016, Marshall said.

Marshall said the solar panel installation is not his highest priority, but was included in his requests because of the potential cost savings it could bring to the town.

An estimate he received several years ago put the cost of the solar system at $393,000 with a possibility of getting $250,000 in grants to put toward it.


However, he said that a new quote would be necessary to be sure of the cost and the savings.

"While again not one of my top priorities, I felt that your committee would find it helpful to consider this idea for a potential long-term cost savings to the town along with the idea of becoming a 'green community,'" Marshall wrote in a memo to the committee.

The police department is also buying two cruisers next year with money from its operating budget, totaling $68,000.

"In order not to spend more money than I have to, I'm thinking about downsizing to Fusions," Marshall said of the department's plans for unmarked cruisers.

Also on the department's requests was $200,000 in fiscal 2016 and 2017 to replace two radio towers, one on Lunenburg Road and one on Brookline Road.

The committee continued discussions of its ranking policy for capital requests, which it is working on revising.

Town administrator Sheehan suggested allowing members to rate requests from 1 to 10 in each category, rather than only being able to choose specific numbers within that range.

"It would allow the individual members to rank each project without being constricted by artificial limits, Sheehan said.

Smart said she was concerned that suggestions of using the policy as a guideline rather than a hard rule would make the process too subjective.

"The (Department of Revenue] really wants you to have a criteria policy so you have a basis and a rationale for it. It avoids making it political, keeps it objective. To have it as just a guideline is very subjective to me," Smart said.

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