Montville voters support $10M road repair project

Montville — Voters on Tuesday backed town leaders' push to overhaul a third of Montville's roadscape through a 10-year project requiring bonds totaling $10 million.

Ballots on Tuesday included a question letting voters decide whether the town should appropriate the spending "for road improvements and pavement projects" and borrow $10 million to finance the work.

Voters supported the measure by a total of 3,460 to 2,577.

Several town councilors supported the move over the last several months. But some officials, including Mayor Ron McDaniel and Councilor Billy Caron, argued it wasn't a good time to pile on to the town's debt.

Town Council Chairman Tom McNally said the town would spend less on annual road maintenance and instead perform a mix of milling and paving and total reconstructions over the next several years.

After voting at the Montville Community Center on Tuesday afternoon, Lee and Rowena James said while they don't live on a dilapidated road, they fully supported the project.

"Some roads really need it," Rowena James said.

By charter, the town must hold a referendum for "any non-budget expenditure which exceeds 5 percent of the tax levy, the amount the town needs to generate in taxes," according to Finance Director Theresa Hart. The town's general tax levy is about $39.8 million for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

While added revenues, spending or market conditions could shift property tax rates up or down, the town estimated that 2023 — the costliest year during the 10-year project — could see a homeowner pay about $118 in added taxes on a home assessed at the median of $123,720. The estimated tax impact of the bond drops every year thereafter.

Public Works Director Donald Bourdeau has been working on a list of dilapidated roads and will conduct more surveys and engineering work in advance of repairs next year.

b.kail@theday.com

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