Stonington - Should the town borrow $3.5 million to fix its roads and another $2.7 million to repair its athletic fields and install an artificial turf football field at the high school?
Those are the two questions voters will decide when they go to the polls at Wednesday's referendum.
The town will bond the road money over 22 years and, according to projections, a resident with a home assessed at $200,000 will pay between $2 and $18 a year more in taxes during that time for a total of $256.
If the fields project is approved, the same homeowner would pay an additional $8 to $14 a year over 20 years for a total of $216. A table and formula that allow property owners to calculate their tax increase are at www.stonington-ct.org.
First Selectman Ed Haberek said Monday that the town has put off road maintenance for so long that it now has to spend a large amount to catch up with the work that needs to be done.
If the road project is not approved, he said, the town would try to put money it needs into its annual capital improvement budget. But he said there is no guarantee the work would get done because the capital improvement budget is always the first part of the budget to get cut each year and it would take many years to accumulate the $4.5 million to do the work. And during that time the roads would continue to deteriorate. The town actually plans to spend $4.5 million on the roads as it will also use $1 million left in the 2011-12 budget.
The four-year plan calls for repairs to 49 town roads totaling 25.3 miles. Not all town roads that need work will be repaired, as that would take $14 million. The Public Works department prioritized the roads it would fix first.
Haberek said that if the fields plan is rejected, it will be up to the school board to decide how to use the field. If improvements are not made it is possible the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference would bar the high school from hosting state tournament games as it did last year. Officials may also deem the fields unplayable, which would mean no home games.
The fields plan calls for installing artificial turf on the football field and making repairs to the existing grass fields and other improvements to the athletic complex.
The task force was formed to address the deteriorating conditions of the softball, all-purpose, soccer and field hockey fields, which all flood.
Stonington fields and roads bonding referendum
Polls open noon to 8 p.m.
Districts 1 and 3: Stonington Borough firehouse
District 2 : Pawcatuck firehouse
Districts 4 and 5: B.F. Hoxie Engine Co. firehouse
Results will be announced at 8:30 p.m. in Town Hall.