May 9, 2021

Essex Capital Projects Study Committee Report Expected by February

ESSEX— The Capital Projects Study committee that was appointed by the board of selectmen earlier this summer is expected to submit a report by February that detail and recommend priorities for major town capital projects that would be needed over the next five years.

The five-member committee was appointed in July on the recommendation of First Selectman Norman Needleman. Selectman Joel Marzi, the minority Republican on the three member board, agreed to serve as chairman of the study committee.

Marzi reported at Wednesday’s meeting of the selectmen that the group has held three meetings since July, and plans to meet at least once each month as it prepares a report. The other members of the committee are Kelly Sterner, the town’s finance director, board of finance chairman Jim Francis, Terry Stewart, a former chairman of both the Essex Board of Education and the Region 4 Board of Education, and Leigh Rankin, a former U.S Coast Guard officer with engineering experience.

Marzi said the group would review and prioritize capital needs for the town hall building and Essex Elementary School, along with road and bridge projects. Marzi said one certain priority is replacement of the roof on the oldest 1950’s section of the elementary school.

Marzi noted the roof was not leaking when the town began the latest renovation and expansion of the elementary school in 2005, but has developed several leaks over the past five years. He said sections of the town hall roof also need repair or replacement.

Marzi, noting that Needleman is anxious to receive the report, said the committee is working to prepare a report by February that would recommend some priorities, and include include some preliminary cost estimates.

Marzi said the board of selectmen and board of finance could consider the report during preparation of a proposed 2013-2014 town budget next spring, and determine which projects could be paid for with existing budget sinking funds or new appropriations. Marzi said a bonding proposal would probably be needed for some projects, particularly the elementary school and town hall roof work.