Selectmen Vote to Recommend Study for Human Services Building

The Burlington Board of Selectmen voted to support a $40k study of the Human Services Building, cutting original article from $85k.

The Burlington Board of Selectmen discussed an article on the September Town Meeting warrant concerning a study of the and voted 4-1 to support a $40,000 expenditure for the project at the meeting Monday night. 

The warrant article as printed is asking Town Meeting members to approve $85,000 for a study to completely analyze the building's structure, heating systems, electrical system, heating and air conditioning, environment impact and a host of other aspects of the building. The study would also assess the current and future needs of the departments in the building and address whether the building could support renovations and/or additions.

The study is needed, explained Town Administrator John Petrin, because currently the space is not be used in the most effective manner. He said the layout is difficult for the departments that use it, including Recreation, Council on Aging and Veteran Affairs, and changes need to be made.

"I felt we needed to understand the building before we can understand the best way to use it," he said. " The building is going to stay with us so we have to ask how we can effectively use it."

Most of the selectmen agreed. Chair of the Board Ralph Patuto said he "did not want to put the project on the back burner," a sentiment echoed by most of the other selectmen. 

However, there were some concerns about the cost of the study and whether using a consultant, or consultants, to conduct all the aspects of the analysis was required.

In the end the board voted 4-1 to support the warrant article at the reduced cost of $40,000 rather than the original $85,000. Selectman Michael Runyan voted against supporting the article.

With the new plan the physical structure of the building would still be studied, but rather than having a consultant study the needs of the various departments the town will instead form a committee made up of involved parties and town employees.

"We're looking for same result," Assistant Town Administrator Thomas Hickey explained. "But with this we're attempting to do it in fashion that is utilizing the in-house abilities and talents that the town has at its disposal."

Patuto did say he would like to see the committee formed as soon as possible and that if further funds will be needed for more research another article could be brought before Town Meeting next January.

The September Town Meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 24.


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