FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Repairs to the Fairfield Woods Branch Library’s roof, the Duck Farm Road Bridge and other town facilities will have to wait at least one more month. The Representative Town Meeting decided to delay its vote on more than $1 million in upgrades to town buildings to gather more information.
“We have questions, we don’t have answers,” Rep. Hal Schwartz said Monday night. “I think before we decide to either put [a project] aside or not do it, we need to have answers to our questions.”
The RTM, Fairfield’s legislature, is the last step for the $1 million package of major repairs and upgrades to town facilities. One of the largest portions is a $200,000 proposal to replace the roof on the Fairfield Woods Branch Library. It has been leaking during storms for six to seven years, library officials have said, and damaging the books.
Also included is a $300,000 project to start work on a new Duck Farm Road bridge over the Mill River. The current bridge is more than 50 years old and rates among the town’s worst, according to the state Department of Transportation. Fairfield’s $300,000 contribution would pay for designs for a new bridge, which would then be replaced mostly with federal funding.
“This bridge is probably our worst,” Public Works Director Joseph Michelangelo said last month.
The package also includes heating and ventilation improvements at the Fairfield Police Station and Fire Station No. 1, at a combined cost of $332,000. Another $105,000 would go toward a backup generator at Old Town Hall for future emergencies, and the remaining $105,000 would be used to continue the town’s 10-year plan to overhaul of H. Smith Richardson Golf Course.
The Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance signed off on the projects earlier this year. The RTM decided Monday it needed more information on the six projects. Rep. David Mackenzie also called for a review of the approval process. He and others expressed concerns that the town’s government votes on repair projects with estimates rather than firm prices.
“There’s always improvements that can be made. And I think they’re always worth discussing,” Moderator Jeffrey Steele said Monday night about the town’s process. “Because we’re here as a body to not always do things as they’ve always been done, but to look for better ways to do things.”