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Selectmen to Develop Long-Term Capital Plan

Could Salem have a "public safety complex" in its future?

After a discussion at Monday night's meeting, the Salem Board of Selectmen agreed to take a long, hard look at the town's plan for future capital improvement projects.

At least two selectmen publicly expressed support for a combined public safety complex as a new idea to deal with Salem's aging Police and Fire facilities.

Town Manager Keith Hickey said staff reviewed the out-years of capital plans and made several amendments.

Those changes included the removal of several vehicles, elimination of plans to expand all three of Salem's fire stations, the shift of a new ladder truck for Salem Fire from 2015 to 2014 "due to its current condition after a recent inspection" according to Hickey, and a heavy rescue vehicle for Salem Fire is included for 2014 as well.

The plan proposes a $12 million bond in 2017 for work on Route 28. A proposed new police station remains in the plan for 2015, Hickey said.

"I've said and I'm going to continue to say, if we're going to do anything we need to do a combined safety complex," said Selectman Jim Keller. "I won't stop saying that, I won't stop fighting for that."

Keller admitted finding the right site for such a facility might be a challenge, but said getting to work on a plan right now is the right thing to do.

Selectman Everett McBride, Jr., agreed with Keller's assessment.

"It has to be combined," McBride said. "We have to make that clear, concise and that's the only way it gets done."

Keller also said the board should take a broader approach to dealing with the long-term capital plan.

"I'm willing to work as hard as we can work...to make a plan that we can support," he said.

After some discussion on how to handle that work, selectmen agreed to hold a workshop meeting on the capital plan Jan. 7.

Also at Monday's meeting, selectmen voted unanimously to enter into a five-year agreement to lease space in Town Hall to Salem Caregivers, who will be re-locating from the Foss School. Selectmen had previously considered a license agreement but asked for further clarification.

Riley Reid December 07, 2012 at 03:20 PM
I would have liked to have heard more about why we should combine our Police and Fire Departments from Selectman Keller and McBride rather than them just say it's what should be done. Is there anything to support this besides it's cheaper to build one building than build two ?
Ugh December 07, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Cheaper to build one building is enough for any common sense person that pays taxes in Salem.
Riley Reid December 07, 2012 at 04:31 PM
UC: Common sense would lead on to believe that building a police station with holding cells, communications and evidence rooms, etc,,, is a lot different from building a 5 car garage for fire trucks that includes sleeping quarters.
Ugh December 07, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Not really
Simon Says December 07, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Reid always takes the higher costing road.
Riley Reid December 07, 2012 at 05:40 PM
I just believe in doing things right and in a timely manner. Too many projects in this town have been put on the back burner and now it will cost us more. Had we done a little at a time over the years we wouldn't be in a position now where we need all these new municipal buildings and road projects

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