Voters in Richmond, Massachusetts Approve $ 6.8M Loan Plan for New City Hall Building


Voters in Richmond, Massachusetts gathered for their annual city meeting on Wednesday evening. The most important elements of the mandate were a loan plan of almost $ 7 million for the construction of a new town hall and a school budget of almost $ 4 million for fiscal year 2022 for the K system. 8 from the city.. Danielle Fillio is the administrator of the city of approximately 1,500 inhabitants. She spoke with WAMC about the meeting and why Richmond needs to replace its main public building to meet accessibility standards.

FILLIO: The community has had a very positive response. We had over 300 voters who came to our town hall, and the article passed 270 “yes”, 234 “no”. It must be adopted by a two-thirds majority of the votes. The two-thirds majority vote we needed would have been 203 “yes” votes, and we got 270.

What is the schedule for a project as ambitious as that of a community the size of Richmond?

So the timeline – Right now we are looking at doing a short term loan so that we can move the project to the tender stage, and we hope to do permanent funding once we have all the tender specifications in November.

Now what is the current state of the city’s infrastructure that called for a plan as large as this?

The current town hall building is an older building. Our city offices are in the basement part of the building. We are not accessible to people with disabilities. We do not have a bathroom upstairs for anyone to enter. We have a very narrow staircase which is a bit rickety, which has to be descended to get to the city offices, but we have a doorbell so that we can go upstairs to help people who cannot come down.

Now let’s move on to the school budget. What kind of numbers are we talking about and what does that mean for the coming year?

Due to uncontrollable costs, this school budget has increased by approximately $ 390,000.

Tell me about these costs. Why were these costs so out of control?

These are special education fees, their cost over which we have no control and which we are required to pay no matter what.

And what was the community conversation like around these expenses?

There really wasn’t much conversation this town meeting. There was a lot of talk when we had to hold a special city meeting in September to increase the school budget for additional SPED costs that we hadn’t anticipated. But overall the city was a little frustrated, but they figured out they had to pay no matter what, so it got approved.

With the city meeting behind you, what’s next on the city calendar for Richmond in 2021?

So we have our annual municipal elections on Saturday 22. It is from 11am to 7pm. There are no contested races for who stands for election. However, there is a question of voting, which concerns the project, to go ahead. It is a question of debt exclusion. This question must therefore go through a majority vote in order to ensure that this project can move forward.


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