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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Safety complex plan goes to voters

MILFORD – During what was probably the longest non-stop meeting in town history, a few dozen residents on Saturday put 28 articles on the March 8 ballot for voting.

The town’s Deliberative Session lasted nine hours, and the articles that inspired the most debate were the two asking for nearly $800,000 to buy land and draw up plans for a safety complex on Nashua Street. The selectmen and the Budget Committee were sharply divided on the $540,000 land purchase and building demolition article – the board unanimously in favor and the Budget Committee unanimously opposed.

The Budget Committee listed eight reasons to reject the land-purchase article, and selectmen Chairman Tim Finan called one of them “disingenuous” and another a “red herring.”

Finan pointed out that last year a similar safety complex proposal failed by only five votes short of a majority – it needed a 60 percent majority – and this year’s proposal deals with voters’ two main objections: the cost and the lack of a “Plan B.”

“We brought the cost down and negotiated a purchase and sales agreement, so we addressed two major concerns,” he said.

The $540,00 article for a fire/ambulance facility land acquisition will go on the ballot with no changes plus the $250,000 article for architectural and engineering plans for the joint fire/ambulance facility.

The town’s $11.7 million operating budget caused a lengthy discussion, but its article was not amended.

Voting on all warrant articles and zoning amendments and to elect town officers will be held at Milford Middle School on Tuesday, March 8, from 6 a.m.-8 p.m.