Brookfield Finance Board Says ‘Yes’ to $78 Million Huckleberry Hill Project
The Brookfield Board of Finance unanimously approved the funding for what is being called the Huckleberry Hill School project.
The Brookfield Board of Finance got all the votes they needed Wednesday night to approve the $78.1 million dollar Huckleberry Hill School project. Now the next step is a special town meeting scheduled for January, but town officials said a public hearing will be held before that.
If all goes well, Wednesday nights vote brings the project that includes a new Huckleberry Hill School, possible renovations to Whisconier Middle School and small projects at Brookfeld High School, a step closer to becoming a reality. The town will be holding a referendum in March. After that, the last and final step would be voter approval.
According to newstimes.com, Finance board member Dan Devorsetz is concerned about the town absorbing the added debt and having to scale down the initial budget to prevent a tax increase in the town.
I simply fear for the financial flexibility, that this bond offering is going to hamstring us and not let us do literally anything else for a long time. When we look at annual budgets and try to get annual budgets passed, they're not going to be cut from the debt service, they're going to be cut from other stuff. Every single other aspect of the town will be impacted.
The town's First Selectman Steve Dunn, however, wasn't as concerned with the financial burden that the town would have to face. He told newstimes.com that these models show the town can handle the extra debt, especially with a plan to pay for more capital items with cash, rather than borrowing.
That doesn’t hamstring us, doing nothing is not an option, but doing the wrong thing is a very bad option.
Dunn also said that he is not expecting any major budget increases during the next fiscal year on the town side.
If the project gets the voter approval it needs, construction would begin in the fall of 2020 and students could be in the new Huckleberry Hill School by the fall of 2022. After that, the old building would be demolished.