Close to $3.6 million worth of bonding can upgrade police officers’ radios, create a simulcast system for all five of Monroe’s public schools, replace old town and fire response vehicles, improve town roads and pay for self-contained breathing apparatus for firefighters.
The projects are in the capital budget, which is included in the 2019-20 town budget approved by voters last May. The Town Council unanimously approved moving forward with the bonding late last month. Then on Thursday night, Board of Finance members also showed their unanimous support.
Now the final decision to bond for these projects will be made by voters at a Town Meeting on Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers of Town Hall.
“These projects are ready to go,” First Selectman Ken Kellogg told the finance board Thursday. “These are all infrastructure and public safety related.”
If the town does everything, Kellogg said Monroe’s outstanding debt will remain in the mid to upper $30 million range.
The town’s general obligation bonds were $39,795,000 in fiscal year 2018 and $38,256,000 in 2019, according to Kellogg. The debt is projected to be $35,599,000 in 2020 and $33,981,000 in 2021.
The bonding is broken down into several resolutions, which the Town Council and Finance Board voted on one-by-one.
A $1,650,000 bond is for public safety and Board of Education radio systems.
It includes $1,225,000 for a town-wide emergency response radio system, replacing end of service life equipment and purchasing dispatch consoles in the Monroe Police Department and equipment on towers in four locations.
The Board of Education radio system, which includes a security enhancement, a simulcast system for all five schools and portable radios for all schools, carries a cost of about $254,000.
Phase One of the town-wide portable radio replacements will begin the rolling replacement of units for an estimated cost of $141,000.
Project bond issuance costs total $30,000.
A $720,000 bond would cover the public works and vehicle replacement program.
It includes $475,000 for a six-wheel and a 10-wheel dump truck. It is part of the rolling replacement program and will improve safety, reliability and efficiency, while reducing breakdowns responding to winter storms, according to Kellogg.
Another $234,000 covers costs for response vehicles for fire chiefs of the Monroe and Stepney Departments. Kellogg said Stevenson’s chief received a vehicle last year. The money would also be used for replacement of the fire marshal’s vehicle and for a pickup truck with plowing capability for Parks and Recreation.
Bond issuance costs total $11,000.
A $1,020,000 bond is for Phase 7 of the town’s road construction and reconstruction program. In his presentation to the Town Council, Kellogg said the bonding appropriation level is consistent with past years as Monroe continues to improve its Pavement Condition Index.
The bonding will allow the town to continue repaving and restoring roads, while addressing the backlog of costly repairs and moving toward routine maintenance, Kellogg said.
Miles of road improvements completed were 5.58 in fiscal year 2018, 4.77 in 2019 and 7.46 in fiscal year 2019-2020 with an additional 1.5 miles projected in the spring, according to the first selectman.
The projected issuance costs are included in the bonding.
A $215,000 bond, including $3,000 in issuance costs, is for self-contained breathing apparatus for firefighters, protecting them from smoke inhalation when going into burning buildings.
Kellogg said this equipment includes air packs, bottles, masks and a compressor, adding everything meets National Fire Protection Association standards.