GRAFTON, Mass. - The Grafton Finance Committee voted unanimously, during their Tuesday night meeting, to not recommend the facility upgrades to the municipal center and school buildings, which will come to vote at the Town Meeting on Oct. 15.
The concern came down to how the financing was structured.
“This isn’t an argument against the project, we voted against it from a financial perspective,” said Wayne-Hutchinson Fontana, the Finance Committee Chairman. “We’re taking revenues to commit to a debt payment without any forecast of the next several years.”
The Board of Selectmen have proposed that funding come from existing tax dollars collected from various sources including the town’s savings account, money saved from the new high school project, and energy credits.
Despite the lack of confidence from FinCom, the Board of Selectmen published an open letter in The Daily Voice, asking the voters for passage.
“The Municipal Center is currently an asset at risk. The building is over 60-years-old and showing signs of its age,” it said.
This is the second time the Board of Selectmen has asked for the residents to approve building upgrades. They called a special Town Meeting last February asking approval for a $5 million proposal, which did not pass.
In the new articles, the town will ask for $6.5 million to upgrade heating and air conditioning systems in the municipal center and area schools plus additional renovations to the municipal center for its roof, windows, and chimney. The letter said upgrading the school’s heating systems will reduce the school department’s energy budget by 25 percent.
But without a “thumbs up” from FinCom, getting the new articles approved might be a tougher sell on Oct. 15. Many who voted “no” back in February found the original plan, bundled with Honeywell, complicated and the energy savings argument unconvincing.