Which infrastructure projects will get Wilton’s $6.6 million?

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Source: Town of Wilton, Zoom recording

With the FISCAL YEAR 2023 budget now finalized and voter approval of all proposed liaison projects (including the long-awaited police station siege), Wilton’s Breeders Council turned its attention to other new and ongoing City issues – including how to spend $6.6 million on new infrastructure projects.

It was only one of the priorities of Tuesday night’s (May 17) BOS meeting, when the members met for the first time since the Annual municipal meeting of May 3. On their lengthy agenda, members discussed grant applications, infrastructure spending priorities, affordable housing, board appointments, and more.

But the lion’s share of elected officials’ meeting time has gone to a review of potential infrastructure spending projects that would have a significant impact on residents and the city. While the selectors have reached a consensus on what the most immediate spending priorities will be, many more are yet to be determined – including requests for a new turf pitch, a Meadows of Merwin the revision of the playing field and the repairs essential to the Ambler Farm “Yellow House”as well as many other projects.

Key Priorities for ARPA and Infrastructure Funds

The BOS has spent the past few months identifying projects that could potentially be funded by the millions of dollars the City has available for infrastructure spending.

At the May 17 meeting, First Selection Woman Lynne Vanderslice shared an ongoing spreadsheet that detailed the long list of funding requests sought by multiple City departments, including Environmental Affairs, Public works and Parks and recreation.

Vanderslice acknowledged the simple reality that selectors face.

“You all looked at the spreadsheet. You know the requests greatly exceed the funds available,” Vanderslice said. “This [review] the exercise we’re doing can serve as a long-term funding plan – we’ll prioritize some things, and we can say other things are worth it [but] we just have to see how they fit in over the next few years.

of total $6.6 million in available funds – which includes $5.4 million in US Bailout Act (ARPA) grants and $1.2 million in the city Infrastructure funds – at least $3.5 million has already been prioritized (items in green in the table below.)

Specifically, $3.1 million would go towards a required upgrade of the City’s emergency communications system (i.e. the balance of the total cost after a $983,000 congressional grant). The breeders will also “hold back” $240,000 on the funds available as a contingency.

Source: Board of Breeders, ARPA/Infrastructure Fund Priorities, May 17, 2022

Immediate priorities for ARPA funds also include drainage improvements at the Wilton High School sports complex, starting with a critical berm to be built as part of a larger project.

Vanderslice is cautiously optimistic about applying for a grant to cover $986,000 towards the total cost of the drainage project, but recommended that BOS immediately allocate $173,000 for the berm (along with $293,000 for other high priority drainage works identified by DPW.)

Elected officials voted unanimously to pursue these priorities with ARPA funds.

Municipal facilities

While the department heads of Environmental Affairs and Parks and recreation have already made their requests, Facilities Manager Chris Burney was the latest official to brief selectors on his funding needs for needed work at some city-owned properties, which he did at Tuesday’s meeting. Some of the most important projects on his list would be:

  • $120,000 for a possible renovation of 7 New Street., a residential property owned by the City and leased for many years. The property is considered an affordable housing site, which could change the focus of any renovations.
  • $300,000 for conversion to 100 yard dumpsters transfer stationa decision that should generate operational cost savings
  • At least $20,000 and possibly up to $250,000 to replace the fallen architectural column in front City hall and – if found to be structurally defective – the entire slab on which the columns also rest
  • $150,000 at $400.00 for indoor, outdoor and floor lead reduction at the Ambler Farm “Yellow House” which belongs to the city. (Vanderslice noted that this is the “minimal” work needed to make the house livable and does not include other desirable upgrades such as kitchen and bathroom renovations to bring the house to its original state. full potential.)

More priorities to come

Ultimately, the BOS will have to decide how to divide the remaining ARPA and infrastructure funds among the three competing departments.

Environmental Affairs, with support from Wilton’s Custody commissionasked $577,000 for projects to Schenck’s Islandthe career leader To park access road, removal of felled trees in the city ​​forestand other trail and open space projects in Wilton.

The Parks and Recreation Department has requested $1,655,000which includes $705,000 for a drainage study and repairs to the Middlebrook sports field; $250,000 for Merwin Meadows playground improvements; $200,000 for the design of a new grass field and a “contribution” of $500,000 for its construction.

The selectors agreed to think more about which applications should be prioritized for funding and to deliberate more on their June 6 Meet.

Other BOS activities

  • Director of Land Use Planning and Urban Planner Michael Wrinn updated the BOS on the City’s Affordable Housing Plan. Under state law, Wilton is required to update its Affordable Housing Plan every five years. Wrinn had led Wilton’s work as part of a regional effort organized by the Western Connecticut Council of Governments (WestCOG), a regional agency representing 18 municipalities, including Wilton.

The draft plan outlines five strategies to achieve the plan, which states: “The Town of Wilton needs more diversity in its housing stock to retain a valuable older population that wants to downsize, housing to allow young people to stay in the town they grew up in, and types of varied accommodation to attract young families and professionals. The primary objective will be to increase the types and availability of multi-family and smaller dwellings (both rental and owned) built in places and in a manner consistent with the Wilton Conservation and Development Plan 2019 (POCD).

  • Wilton’s Dawn Norton, Chief Financial Officer provided brief comments on Wilton’s financial outlook for the current budget year which will end in about six weeks. “Fiscal 2022 revenue and expenses are on track and on budget,” Norton told the board.
  • Norton also briefed the board on state legislative action (HB 5167) which gives the municipalities the possibility of postponing the planned land revaluations October 1, 2022 for one year, until October 1, 2023. Norton described the move as “very beneficial” to Wilton property owners, essentially providing a reprieve from higher tax bills that would result from rising property values ​​in the booming real estate market. The BOS voted unanimously on the motion to postpone the assessments until October 2023.
  • Vanderslice spoke to his fellow board members about Connecticut Economic Development Weekwhich took place May 9-13organized the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) with the Connecticut Economic Development Association (CEDAS) and Advance CT. Vanderslice said he attended two seminars with “really good takeaways.” She also noted that Wilton’s “development activity is just getting started” and hinted that “lots more” development news may be coming soon.
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