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Avon Schools, Town Departments Present Capital Improvement Proposals to Council

Requests include funding for a new plowing truck, school ADA compliance fixes, replacing a school fire alarm, the 2013 property revaluation and town records vault expansion.

School and town officials began their presentations for capital improvement project requests for next year's budget at the Town Council meeting on Thursday evening.

These projects are considered the highest priorities for major projects within Avon Public Schools and town departments.

"The council's always looking for how those priorities are derived," Zacchio said.

On the school district side, Avon Public Schools leaders are looking for a larger truck to plow the school parking lots, replacement of a Roaring Brook School fire alarm and funding to fix Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance issues at some of the schools.

The major items town departments are bringing before the council Thursday include next year's property revaluation and expanding the records vault in the Town Clerk's Office.

There are other projects being presented Thursday, but those are some of the highlights.

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Schools

The council will look at whether buying a new plow truck that can handle severe snowstorms makes sense or whether there are alternatives options to reduce costs. For instance, the town hires different vendors to clear its parking lots and plow private roads Secret Lake and Lakewood, he said.

"There's probably an opportunity to do a shared service on that," Zacchio said. "We have the equipment and know-how to do it."

As for the Roaring Brook fire alarms, the system still works, but it's about 10 years dated, according to Zacchio

"I think that's important to look through very carefully because the timing is very important," he said.

Records Vault Expansion in Town Clerk's Office

On the town side, the records vault that holds property transfer information, deeds and other records, is running out of room. It has been out of compliance with state regulations for size since 2004, he said. 

"Our existing vault is about half the size it needs to be to meet size requirements the state puts on us," Zacchio said.

The project failed in referendum in 2009 when it was being considered for bonding. Residents did however support replacing the Avon Middle School roof.

"I think people voted with their pocket books that day," Zacchio said. "It's disappointing the state makes a requirement a town has to follow and doesn't fund it."

Now the town is trying a different approach by considering it for the capital improvement section of the upcoming budget. 

Town Clerk Ann Dearstyne is recommending that the town expand the 400-square-foot space to about 600 square feet, which will accomodate records for a town that exceeds 20,000. Avon has about 18,000 residents now, so that's slightly more room than the mandated size. However, the town wouldn't need to renovate it more than once by the time the population reaches that capacity.

"Her projection is that [the vault] will be full by spring of 2013," Zacchio said.

There's no other space to keep records once that happens. The town clerk is required to keep paper records even though electronic versions can additionally be made of certain documents. The vault also needs to be in a controlled environment at a specific temperature to preserve the records.

Dearstyne is asking for about $375,000 to be put in the capital improvement budget for the project, Zacchio said.

Property Revaluation

As for the revaluation process, which is done every five years, the total cost is about $411,600. Town Assessor Harry DerAsadourian works part-time in Avon and Canton. The towns share the cost – $225,000 for Avon and $186,600 for Canton.

Zacchio said that $75,000 is sitting in the current fiscal year's budget for the revaluation and that the Assessor's Office is requesting $100,000 for 2013-14 and $50,000 for 2014-15.

Other town capital improvement projects proposals will be reviewed at future Town Council meetings.

Editor's Note: This article was updated on Friday at 2:16 a.m.

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