Kelly Ross Voices Frustration With Fire Station Funding Requests

In addition to their work on the Annual Town Meeting warrant, the Board of Selectmen also took more action related to the pending Boston Road Fire Station on Tuesday night.

A total of $141,893 was requested by the Permanent Town Building Committee on four items relating to the fire station as well as the upcoming combined fire and dispatch center.

Currently the combined fire and dispatch center planning is on budget and on schedule, and a new amount was required to separate it from efforts related to the fire station.

Selectman Kelly Ross expressed continued frustration with money requested for redesign work related to the fire station.

Selectman Kelly Ross on Feb. 23, 2016

Selectman Kelly Ross on Feb. 23, 2016

“You put it all together, it’s $110,000 we wouldn’t have had to spend if they came in within the appropriation,” he said. “Now we have to ask them to come in under the appropriation and we have to pay them for that.”

Permanent Town Building Committee Member Kirk Ware indicated that many others on the Permanent Town Building Committee felt the same way, although members of the committee also alluded to the fact that without additional funding for architectural services, including a backup plan in case additional appropriation is needed and not obtained, that the project will halt completely.

The Selectmen approved three of the four funding requests 4-0-0, with the exception of an $8,000 request to obtain new cost estimating services from VJ Associates of New England Inc.

There, Ross questioned the expenditure, asking which figure would be accurate if it differed from previous cost estimates or wondering the point of the measure if the cost estimates came in the same.

Selectman Mark Kost said the measure was a small price to pay if in fact that cost estimates were off by $50 per sq. ft., which had been noted as a possibility.

Kost indicated that reducing costs by that amount could reduce the project by $1 million, making it more politically palatable if the total cost of the fire station came in above the $12.7 million appropriation amount approved by Town Meeting voters.

There, the Board voted 3-1-0, with Ross voting in opposition.