While saying he understands the need for the building, he said the board has a number of more pressing priorities, including a proposed $3 million override for the schools.
There is a need for new police and fire facilities, said Charles Surpitski, chairman of the Board of Selectmen and former police chief in town. He supported the plan last time around but would not disclose which way he’ll vote this time.
He said there are not a lot of options for land to build such a facility in a centralized location in town. There is certain criteria for fire response times, he said.
“Even though we might not build it in the near future, I think it is important to have the land,” he said.
Selectman Shirley Berry was absent from the vote last time, as she was recovering from a serious fall down a flight of stairs. She said she would like to spend more time reading studies on the proposal before announcing which way she’ll vote.
Two board members, Pat McNally and Nishan Mootafian, could not be reached for comment. McNally previously opposed the plan, while Mootafian supported it.
A task force working for about a year said in a report that renovations to the current buildings are not a feasible option and a combination station on the Elm and South Main streets location would be the best option for the town. The proposed building would cost an estimated $17.4 million, Nikas has previously said.
Nikas said he’s met with neighbors since the last vote, and a building committee will be appointed to help oversee the study and possible future construction.
“Their concern was mainly with the fire services,” he said, adding that there were also issues raised with parking and the World War II monument.
Nikas said the issue of replacing the town’s public safety buildings has been studied for the past 60 years. Around 15 different sites were reviewed and deemed inadequate, he said.