FREEPORT — Funds for new emergency vehicles, computer upgrades and roadwork are among proposals in the fiscal year 2020 capital plan discussed by town councilors Tuesday.

The plan Town Manager Peter Joseph unveiled April 2 includes spending just less than $1.1 million in 2020, down from $1.5 million approved for this year’s expenditures.  

Joseph’s proposed plan recommends replacing a 7-year-old ambulance, estimated to cost $250,000.

In the Police Department, $110,000 would be used to replace the 4-year-old K-9 SUV, a 5-year-old patrol sedan and bulletproof vests, along with proceeds from selling or trading in the special enforcement boat and motor. The department needs a smaller vessel to allow entry into smaller bodies of water that are now inaccessible, Joseph said. 

Replacing a plow truck for $150,000 has been requested by the Public Works Department. Town officials say the truck needs major repairs and it would be cheaper for the town to replace the vehicle.

The proposed spending plan recommends $220,000 for “comprehensive town improvements,” including paving at the Route 1 south commuter parking lot and the recycling center work area. Other improvements include reconstruction work on Percy, Pownal, and Pratt Roads, with upgrades to the drainage systems. Restoration work to the Concord Gully Brook watershed would be done along with replacing culverts on Lower Mast Landing Road and Pownal Road. 

A sum of $83,500 is being proposed for repairs at municipal facilities. Of this amount, $28,300 would be used to upgrade 15 computers town-wide. Joseph’s proposal also includes a recommendation to replace the library server, which was salvaged from the Police Department and re-purposed in 2012. Replacing siding at the library has also been proposed.

Other municipal facility improvements include replacing worn furniture and voting booths that are more than 30 years old and digitizing tax maps and planning and assessing files.

According to Joseph’s proposed plan, $54,600 is needed to install LED lighting in the council chambers, to purchase a digital audio booth for the council chambers and the community center and to buy a portable camera. 

Replacing two bulky waste containers is also planned for the recycling facility. According to Joseph’s plan, the containers are nearly 10 years old and are rusting.

About $151,000 was earmarked for the town’s “Destination Freeport” tax increment financing district. In the meeting on April 2, councilors discussed granting some of these funds to the Yarmouth Historical Society and the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Freeport. However, according to Joseph, more discussion is needed and public input on the matter will be taken April 23, when the council will vote on the proposed CIP. 

According to Joseph, the reduction in the proposed CIP was driven by the loss of $180,000 in rent this year after Abercrombie & Fitch closed its Main Street store in the former Bartol Library building, which the town owns.

“That amount only accounts for half of the year, too, so realistically we are starting fiscal year 2020 without that $360,000 in revenue,” Joseph said.

“Losing the revenue from Bartol building has been tough for us,” he said, “but we think this plan will help serve our residents and will help our town grow the way it needs to.”

Patti McDonald can be reached at 780-9123 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter: @pmcdonaldme.

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