WESTERLY — Two bond initiatives — $2 million for repairs to schools and $11 million for roads, sidewalks and public water system improvements — were both approved Tuesday, according to preliminary results issued by the state Board of Elections.
The $2 million schools question was approved 715-264 (73% in favor). The roads, sidewalks and water system question was approved 772-209 (78.7% in favor). A total of 292 early votes were cast at Town Hall, while 175 mail ballots and 292 emergency ballots, or ballots provided after the mail ballot application, were sent in and 515 ballots were cast at the polling places on Tuesday.
The $2 million proposed school bond is intended to pay for replacement of the Dunn's Corners School roof, which is estimated to cost about $850,000; heating, ventilation and air conditioning work at three schools; plumbing work at Westerly High School's Babcock Hall; and a floor-replacement project Dunn's Corners School. Local education officials have said 35% of the cost of the project is likely to be reimbursed by the state.
The proposed school bond was promoted as being cost neutral. Prior debt associated with the construction of Westerly Middle School was refinanced after Town Manager J. Mark Rooney and Finance Director Dyann Baker determined that refinancing would save the town about $2 million. The savings, they said, would essentially pay for the proposed bond.
Plans call for the $11 million road and water system bond to be paid off with $2 million from the Water Department and the rest from the general fund, according to Rooney.
The bond will be used to pay for drainage repair and reconstruction on 14 roads, water main replacement on 17 roads, the resurfacing of 43 roads, and other sidewalk and culvert replacements.
For a more detailed report, check back late Wednesday or see Thursday's print edition.