2016-01-21 / Front Page

Proposal May Save $3 Million

By James Merolla


Town Finance Director Lynne Dible was honored for 16 years of service to Middletown on Jan. 19. Dible and her husband raised their children in town and are now returning to her native California. 
(Photo by James Merolla) Town Finance Director Lynne Dible was honored for 16 years of service to Middletown on Jan. 19. Dible and her husband raised their children in town and are now returning to her native California. (Photo by James Merolla) An idea of Middletown Councilor Paul Rodrigues may save the town $3 million in interest and avoid the need for a $5 million road bond on the November ballot.

At the council's meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 19, Rodrigues suggested the administration look into setting aside an additional $185,000 annually in the town’s capital improvement program designated to improve roads.

By his figures, this would bring Middletown’s annual road improvement fund to about $835,000. Over six years, that would max out at about $5 million, the amount that may be sought through a proposed bond. But it would eliminate an estimated $3 million in interest over the life of a 20-year loan.

“We’re already paying for it,” said Rodrigues. “The money is already in the CIP.”

The council said if the figures worked out, they would have the option of forgoing the bond.

The only drawback Rodrigues could see was a possible delay in funding certain road improvements until annual town allotments could cover the work.

His colleagues seemed intrigued and put the matter officially on the agenda for the council’s next meeting on Feb. 1.

In another construction-related issue, though the ban officially lasts only until March 2, Council President Robert Sylvia implied that Middletown will likely vote for a permanent moratorium on so-called big box developments in the next two months.

The council unanimously voted for a temporary ban on construction and development of large scale shopping centers and buildings with footprints exceeding 35,000 square feet in the general business and traffic sensitive general business zoning districts on the proposal's second reading on Tuesday.

Though no town leaders spoke for or against the ban at an open public hearing, Sylvia said after the meeting, “Big stores are on their way out.”

During the vote, fellow Councilor Antone Viveiros said, “Look at that big store in Fall River they built just two years ago. It’s empty now.”

Sylvia said the moratorium is in line with the town’s recently-adopted Comprehensive Plan. “When the Comp Plan comes out we have a certain window of time to put in a moratorium,” said Sylvia. “The Planning Board, in the process, already reviewed this, and recommended to us that it be in the form of a permanent ordinance for the town. No more big box developments exceeding 35,000 square feet.”

The council president said the board will issue its new recommendation before March 2 and he expects the council to unanimously put it into indefinite effect.

“I assume it will be a unanimous finish, and it is the right thing to do in Middletown,” said Sylvia. In other matters: y The council honored the St. George’s football team that finished 9-0 for the first time since 1912 and placed first in Class C. y The council also honored Finance Director Lynne Dible for her 16 years of service to the Town of Middletown and to the Finance Department. Dible is returning to her native California for a professional opportunity there. She received a standing ovation from about 50 members of the audience, along with a bouquet of flowers and a photograph of a landmark in Middletown.

“I am a little bit overwhelmed. I just wanted to make sure I thanked everyone,” said Dible. “You inspire me and I have learned so much from all of you. It’s been awesome. Just fantastic memories. My husband and I will always stay in touch.”

Return to top