Danbury voters are likely to consider a four-part bond package in November that includes money for school expansion, bridge repairs, water and sewer work and renovations to an addition to Danbury Library.
The bonds are laid out this way: $44 million for school improvements; $2,475,000 for public improvement projects; $7,975,000 for sewer projects and $550,000 for water projects.
The City Council will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday in the City Council chambers at City Hall, followed by a City Council committee meeting to discuss what the people had to say. That will be followed by a full council meeting. That meeting is likely to send the package, perhaps amended by the committee after hearing public comment, to the voters in November.
The biggest figure, the $44 million for school projects, is designed to add classrooms and reorganize school programs to solve overcrowding in three of the city's elementary schools and middle schools. The city's 2020 Task Force is proposing additional classrooms and moving the middle school science and math programs to a single school to ease overcrowding.
"You can't even argue. The most important project has got to be the schools," said Council President Joe Cavo. Both Cavo and Council Member Fred Visconti said the borrowing rates for Danbury are somewhere between 1.5 percent and 2 percent, making this an excellent time to borrow.
Also the school projects are going to be reimbursed by the state at a rate of 53 percent.
What people forget about the city's sewer and water systems is they run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year in and year out, Cavo said. No one stops to think about the wear and tear on a system that runs all the time.
"The schools solution is exceptionally creative," Cavo said, because it expands schools throughout the city, plus it will save the city money over time by not adding an entirely new school to the system. He said this plan, which will add classrooms to Stadley Rough Elementary School, to Shelter Rock Elementary School and to Park Avenue school is adding rooms across the city, and that is where the population growth is, across the city. It isn't limited to a single neighborhood.
"This is the most we could do with the least amount of money," Visconti said. "The other ideas were more expensive. We were looking at more money," for a school.
City Council Member Tom Saadi said he's argued against borrowing previously in this recession, but he said he thinks this is a good plan.
"I generally support it and I'm looking forward to hearing the public's comments," Saadi said.