East Lyme voters OK fixing tennis facilities

East Lyme - Fixing the tennis facilities in town, improving Peretz Park and maintaining the town's roads were among several proposals residents approved by majority vote at a special meeting on Thursday.

About 40 residents attended the meeting in which all items up for consideration passed.

Residents approved bonding $715,000 to redesign and repair the tennis court facilities in town. The renovations will include constructing the courts with a material called post-tensioned concrete that is less likely to crack than asphalt, according to the schools' business manager, Don Meltabarger.

Residents also supported bonding $900,000 to maintain the town's roads, as well as $100,000 to improve Peretz Park at Bridebrook by renovating the basketball courts, covering the baseball field dugouts with tarp roofs, adding six picnic tables and replacing a chain link fence by the fire station.

A proposal to bond $230,000 for a new roof at the Board of Education's central office also gained approval. First Selectman Paul Formica said he anticipates the cost to the town will be about $137,000 after state reimbursement.

Districtwide network upgrades, bonded at $115,000, will enable the district's network to carry more data at faster speeds at the middle school and at Flanders and Lillie B. Haynes elementary schools, said District Technology Coordinator Robyn McKenney. The upgrade is necessary because of computer-based standardized testing and additional instruction on computers under the Common Core educational standards, she said. Upgrades at Niantic Center School and at the high school could be considered at a later time.

Residents also approved a $183,247 appropriation for the school district to purchase panic buttons, upgrade camera systems and implement other school-security improvements. A state grant will contribute about $77,000, while the town will fund the remaining cost through rent fees it collects from LEARN, a regional education agency.

An appropriation of $304,060, distributed over five years, will fund the purchase of a 1-ton dump truck and new computers and technology for the school district. In addition, an appropriation of $300,079, also distributed over five years, will fund the purchase of vehicles and equipment in the town's acquisition program.

An appropriation of $94,200 from the sale of old recycling trucks and Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursements will fund equipment for the new vehicles.

Residents also supported funding $189,000 for projects in the town's 2014-15 capital improvement plan, including roof replacements, upgrades to HVAC equipment and emergency projects.

k.drelich@theday.com

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