By Chris Paul
During the Monday night Town Council meeting, Town Manager Mike Malaguti discussed some of the town’s Strategic Priorities for 2022.
Earlier in the year, the Town Council requested to hear from department heads as to what would be significant short-term and medium-to-long-term goals for their
Although the Finance and Police Departments presented to the Council back in April, it was determined that a wider scope needed to be looked at.
From that, Malaguti worked out a number of priorities for the council to look at.
The first goal discussed was Water Infrastructure.
He said the town has been working with the Department of Environmental Services on an almost weekly basis to mitigate PAS contamination and expand the availability of safe, reliable water throughout town. He added that he has obtained several grants, as well as voter support for these efforts.
In the last several weeks, DES and our engineering consultants have advised that Phase I of Londonderry’s project is anticipated to cost between $50 million and $55 million and it would extend water supply down High Range Road, and connect residences on High Range Road along the route to public water.
Phase II of the project would build the system out into many neighborhoods and may require interconnection with an existing water supply in Litchfield and the construction of water towers in the southwest part of town, and would cost approximately $150 million. He added that if the Town were to incorporate sewer infrastructure improvements into the project, the cost would increase.
He was anticipating finacial help would come from the state and Saint Gobain to defray the cost of the overall project, but Londonderry’s cost share would still be very significant.
It was pointed out that a significant amount of revenue earmarked for water projects in the state has already been spent in other communities.
The second goal discussed was for the DPW Facility on High Range road. Malaguti said it is long overdue for an overhaul. He said the facilities where employees work and store expensive equipment are seriously substandard and encouraged all members of the Council and the public to schedule a site visit to the DPW facility.
The upgrade will require a significant capital investment and will take many years to plan, develop support, and complete.
Improvements would include: indoor vehicle storage to prolong vehicle life; modernized garage and workshop facilities to improve health, safety, and efficiency for DPW employees; actual equipment and materials storage facilities as opposed to old trailers and improvised structures; an enclosed salt shed to put all materials under cover; and a safe and efficient wash bay for vehicles.
It will require Council and voter support, and is a 5-10 year project.
Another goal was for Economic Development and passing the Construction and Rehabilitation Tax Exemption program was one aspect.
Malaguti told the council the Construction and Rehabilitation Tax Exemption (RSA 72:80) is one of a handful of economic development tools the state authorizes municipalities to adopt, which was adopted earlier in the evening. This initiative is intended to assist in stabilizing the shift in the tax base from commercial to residential and ultimately is designed to help residential taxpayers.
The town is also looking to update the South Londonderry Sewer Capacity.
Currently, Londonderry is sending all of its sewer flowage in south Londonderry to the Derry Waste Water Treatment Plant and the town is contractually limited to send a maximum of 500,000 gallons-per-day to the Plant under a recently renegotiated agreement. Planned development in south Londonderry is projected to require about 1,000,000 GPD of flow.
The solution is a sewer pump station to accommodate approximately 500,000 GPD of flow, which will redirect flows from Derry to the Manchester Waste Water Treatment Plant. The project also entails construction of 7,500 linear feet of sewer force main and 1,900 linear feet of gravity sewer in order to connect with existing sewer infrastructure leading to the Manchester Waste Water Treatment Plant. He added the town has pursued funding for this project through multiple sources.
Widening Pettengill Road was the third economic development project mentioned.
He said, based upon consultations with NHDOT, the time to widen Pettengill Road to four lanes is drawing near. The project will add two lanes to Pettengill Road and is necessary in order to facilitate the full build-out of this area and expand capacity.
The manager is also looking to Review and Improve the Planning Board Site Plan and Subdivision Regulations, saying, it’s been decades since a comprehensive review was undertaken.
The fourth goal was to Improve Standardization and Financial Oversight.
The town is in the process of identifying areas to increase financial oversight
and standardization making sure internal controls are in place. He intends to continue the town’s work to identify and eliminate unnecessary spending. Mallagutti said, “In my first month as Town Manager, I directed departments to curtail discretionary spending.”
The town has put more acquisitions out to bid than ever before, and worked to increase our bid visibility by including bids on the Town website, all to the benefit of the taxpayers. Departments have been instructed to work with the Finance department to review line items to determine if there is any potential way to lower costs while providing the same level of service. And we have strictly enforced the Purchasing Policy.
The Council will be reviewing the goals before discussing them in July with Malaguti.