New Milford gets more open space and construction oversight at Town Meeting

May 8, 2019

NEW MILFORD — There will now be more oversight on big construction and renovation projects, as well as more land under the town’s ownership after Tuesday’s Town Meeting.

Voters approved establishing a permanent municipal building committee, which will oversee the schools’ or town’s renovation and construction projects that tend to be at least or close to six figures. The goal is to help projects come in on time and on or under budget.

The idea for it came about after unexpected challenges caused two of the schools’ oil tank removals to come in at about double the initial cost. The hope is that this committee will prevent that from happening again by having members with construction experience examine the the contracts and project scopes before the project event starts, as well as the work as it progresses.

The committee will have seven members and the building official and public works director will serve as advisers, according to the ordinance.

Anyone interested in serving can contact the Mayor’s Office. The committee goes into effect May 28, which coincides with a regular council meeting.

Voters also accepted a donation of 35 wooded acres near Tory’s Cave Preserve on Squash Hollow Road from Eagle Holdings.

The proposal was controversial at first because some council members worried it would add liability and expenses to the town. They came around to it though after assurances they wouldn’t have to maintain it or the trails that already exist there and that it shouldn’t cost the town anything.

This property now creates a total 170 continuous protected acres, factoring in the 25 acres Eagle Holdings already donated in 2012 and Tory’s Cave Preserve, which is protected by Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust.

The budget referendum was also set for May 21.