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Capital Planning Cmte Established To Better Address ‘Surprise’ Spending Initiatives

by Connie Sartini
Groton Select Board unanimously adopted a charge for the formation of a Capital Planning Committee that would study the requirements and needs for capital expenditures for all town-owned buildings, playing fields and courts, recreation structures, large equipment, vehicles, and municipal buildings in town.
     This Committee will advise the Town Manager, Select Board and Finance Committee on the results of its work. This Committee also will provide advice to the Town Manager in planning for the management of building projects as charged by the town pursuant to votes of Town Meeting and Massachusetts General Laws.
     The Capital Planning Advisory Committee charge was defined following strong objection from the Groton Finance Committee to a proposal being considered by the Select Board for Major Initiative Planning Committee. The Finance Committee stressed that this proposed committee would have created overlap and redundancy with the operational budget responsibilities of the Finance Committee.
     The FinCom noted that they have added a Major Initiatives section to the Operational Budget Planning Document, and agreed with the goal for formation of a committee dedicated to Capital Planning (see story in last week’s issue).
     The Capital Planning Advisory Committee will have continuing responsibility in advising the Town Manager in developing the Annual Five-Year Capital Plan, including the capital equipment replacement plan, developing a long-range building plan and other maintenance projects for the town. In addition, they will advise in the development and annual updating of a long-range building maintenance capital spending plan for all municipal buildings.
     Working with the Town Manager, Select Board, Finance Committee and other town committees and boards which propose building and renovation projects, the Capital Planning Advisory Committee will advise on establishment of general criteria for significant capital expenditures, including equipment and buildings, and offer recommendations on developing guidelines for communication regarding these projects between and among interested committees and the public.
     The Capital Planning Advisory Committee will also advise the Town Manager in overseeing the planning and design for construction, reconstruction, major alteration, renovation, enlargement, major maintenance,
demolition, and removal of all town buildings and recreation structures and playing fields and courts, including any significant installation, renovation or upgrade of service equipment and major systems.
     This Advisory Committee will consist of five regular voting members. The Select Board will look to appoint individuals who, by reason of their current or prior background, have skills in the areas of capital planning, finance, construction or other relevant experience. All members must be residents of the town and will be appointed for a term of three years.
     All Advisory Committee meetings will be held in a public location, properly posted and open to the public in accordance with the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law. Minutes of each meeting will be prepared and approved by the Committee within 30 days of any meeting and distributed to the Town Clerk.
     It is anticipated that the Committee will review the charge periodically and make proposed recommendations to the Select Board that they believe are the in the best interest of the purpose of the Committee.
     The candidates who had earlier applied for the Major Initiative Planning Committee were notified of this change and to see if they are interested in the revised new Committee.
     For anyone in the community who would like to be considered for appointment to this committee, interest forms are available on the Town of Groton website under “Committee interest Form”. You can also contact the Select Board Office at 978-448-1111.
     Applications will be accepted through October 11. Interviews will begin following Fall Town Meeting, with the expectation they will begin on October 28.
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