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Letter to the Editor: ‘Canton’s November DPW Referendum Incomplete and Shortsighted’

October 7, 2016 Community, Government, Opinion, Referendum 4 Comments

To the Editor:

The Canton BOS initiated a site selection process in 2008 to relocate the DPW facility on the Farmington River based, in part, on advice from engineers that building in the flood plain would inevitably add to the cost of construction. Additional funds would be required, first to raise the site out of the flood plain, then to mitigate by excavating and lowering the adjacent little league field so it can handle flood waters, and further to disrupt operations while moving and housing equipment somewhere else during construction. The proposed referendum site at 50 Old River Road presents extra costs that do not exist elsewhere, yet the added expense has not been discussed publicly and no temporary site for DPW, or its cost, has been identified.

If the highest priority for a new DPW facility is the lowest possible cost (which may not be a prudent long-term financial decision for a municipal building), then the expenses arising only at 50 Old River Road should be measured against the costs at other potential sites. This comparison may show that expenses unique to 50 Old River Road exceed the cost of suitable lots in the town industrial zone.

If no lots are for sale, the town would pay fair market value in an eminent domain action to acquire land for a public purpose. Bloomfield just purchased land to expand its DPW using this process. In addition to the multitude of reasons not to build on the river identified in the Town Plans of 1989, 2003 and 2014, why not move the DPW off the river and spend less than the cost of building on the river?

I oppose the referendum to build a 14,000 square foot garage and a 2,000 square foot salt shed 28 feet high on the river when there is a win for the DPW and a win for riverfront recreation and preservation – putting the new facility in the largely vacant town industrial park.

Peter Reynolds
Chair, Permanent Municipal Building Committee




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