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GROTON — In reviewing preliminary cost estimates for replacing or removing Fitch’s Bridge, selectmen cautioned proponents of a spending article to appear on the warrant for an upcoming special town meeting to make sure the final price was lean.

Selectman Joshua Degen, while acknowledging the historic nature of the bridge, noted specific items in the cost estimate that could be cut in order to pare the final cost.

The board Monday discussed whether to give residents a choice of simply removing the bridge and stabilizing the areas on shore where it is anchored at a cost of $200,000 or removing and replacing it with a new bridge at a cost of $600,000.

Selectmen heard from Police Chief Donald Palma, who called the current state of the bridge — which was closed to traffic many years ago — an “attractive nuisance” with youths hanging out to drink go swimming in the Nashua River.

According to Palma, his department was called to the bridge 30 times last year and 70 times in 2012.

“We need to do something with it as it stands,” concluded Palma warning that the span posed a potential threat to public health and safety.

“But wouldn’t a new bridge be an attractive nuisance too?” asked Chairman Stuart Schulman, wondering how a new bridge would prevent youngsters from continuing to use it as a platform for jumping into the river.

Palma did not deny that a new bridge could still offer opportunities for mischief but it would still present less of a problem if only because without the barriers that currently block its entrances, police could access it more easily from either side.

Selectman Jack Petropoulos agreed that even if youngsters continued to jump, a new bridge would still be safer.

DPW Director Tom Delaney agreed, adding that a new bridge would draw more pedestrian traffic making it a less attractive place for youngsters to hang out.

The issue of Fitch’s bridge is to be presented to voters at Special Town Meeting scheduled for Jan. 26 in a single article that will be amended on the floor. Should residents vote for removal or replacement, the related cost of $200,000 or $600,000 would be added to its language and then officially voted upon.

Selectmen also learned from Town Manager Mark Haddad that despite increasing taxes by 2.5 percent as permitted under state law, collection would not exceed the town’s levy limit.

In preparing the town’s budget for fiscal 2014, Haddad said preliminary moves have been encouraging with all town departments participating in “outstanding” meetings where budgets have all been reviewed on a “line-item-by-line-item” basis.

“I thought the departments were all very well prepared,” said Haddad. “We had some real good discussions and I’m really pleased with the work of the budget committee. I think the board will be happy with the budget.”

When asked about the impact of announced cuts in local-aid spending by the state, Haddad said that he anticipated reductions would come to about 10 percent but that they would not affect the town’s budget.

The board also voted to ratify the appointment of James Luening to fill a vacancy on the Great Ponds Advisory Committee with a term to expire in June.