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Berlin approves $3.8M bond for projects

The Town of Berlin is officially seeking $3.8 million in bonds for a new public works building and electrical infrastructure.

Funds to pay for public works building, new electric meters

Berlin public works building

Berlin is planning to relocate its existing public works complex, pictured, from William Street to a parcel on Heron Park.
Charlene Sharpe/Bayside Gazette

By Charlene Sharpe, Associate Editor

The Town of Berlin is officially seeking $3.8 million in bonds for a new public works building and electrical infrastructure.

Members of the Berlin Town Council voted unanimously at a meeting March 11 to authorize the issuance and sale of the general obligation bonds to the Community Development Administration for the two town projects.

“Both of these projects are very much needed for our town and the services that we provide to the people of Berlin,” Mayor Zack Tyndall said.

Last month, officials started talking about the possibility of using a bond for the projects. 

Electric department leadership has advocated for new meters for years, as they said staff spends close to three days every month reading meters. New meters would also be more accurate and eliminate potential for human error. 

With the town needing $1 million to buy the new AMI meters, staff said last month it made sense to seek funding for another major project, a new public works building, at the same time. The current facility lacks heating and air conditioning and was never meant to be a long-term public works solution, according to staff.

As a result, officials agreed to seek the total $3.8 million bond. 

While the council held a public hearing on the bond ordinance March 11, no residents spoke. Natalie Saleh, the town’s finance director, reiterated that while the funding will be available in May, the first payment won’t be due until October. Subsequent payments will be due in April and October each year. 

Tyndall said Tuesday the funding would allow the town to advance the two key projects. 

“The bond issuance will allow our electric department to move from reading meters by hand to being able to read all of the meters in town with a couple clicks of a button,” Tyndall said. “This is going to save at least two days of staff time from having to go out and manually read the meters. Additionally, the software and the handheld meter reading devices have all failed due to age, and we cannot replace them.”

He added that the public works facility would give the municipality a place for staff to work and also a place to store and maintain equipment and vehicles.

“Unfortunately, the current home of public works was never really meant to be a permanent structure,” Tyndall said. “Also, the shop space that we have at public works currently does not allow us to be able to service all of the town vehicles internally. So there’s additional cost each year for outsourcing some of the servicing and maintenance that we could be handling internally if we had the space.”

This story appears in the March 14, 2024, print edition of the Bayside Gazette.