Officials got the go-ahead to begin a host of improvements on roads and facilities in town as the nearly $15 million bond proposal passed by referendum. Just 399 residents cast their votes; with 308 voting in favor and 91 voting against the plan. First Selectman Jim Zeoli admits he was a little worried which way the vote would go in light of the state’s current financial woes and how that may end up impacting the towns. “I was concerned about their thoughts on the debt involved, but in the end the residents are supportive of needed improvements for the community,” he said.
The Board of Selectmen approved the plan in March for $14,950,000 which will fund projects that include widening Derby Milford Road by the University of New Haven, and the Derby Milford Road bridge ($10,630,000); making a second driveway at Fred Wolf Park, ($300,000) and paving the parking lots at Turkey Hill School, Race Brook Road School, and the Orange Police Department ($1,041,000). The money will also be used to upgrade the locker rooms and install a new dehumidifier at the Town Pool ($650,000); renovate the exterior of the Case Memorial Library exterior ($119,000); and to purchase a new communication console and generator at the Orange Police Department ($675,000). The south wing and north corridor of the High Plains Community Center are also scheduled to be refurbished at an estimated cost of $550,727. Contingency, financing and issuance costs for the bond are expected to cost $734,273. The state has promised to reimburse the town $5,380,000 towards the cost of some of the improvements.
Work on the projects is scheduled to start within the next few months.
By Laura Fantarella – Orange Town News Correspondent