$93M in projects sought by town; Federal stimulus bill planning.


Byline: Elaine Thompson

SHREWSBURY - The town has submitted more than $93 million in projects for funding from the estimated $800 billion to $1 trillion federal stimulus bill.

"The timing of the stimulus package comes at an ideal time as all cities and towns struggle with the worst budget shortfalls since the implementation of Proposition 2-1/2," Town Manager Daniel J. Morgado wrote in his letter with his request list to Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray earlier this month.

The most expensive and the top priority of the 10 projects are the mandated upgrades to the Westboro-Shrewsbury Wastewater Treatment Plant. The estimated $67 million project "will be the largest public works project ever financed by the town," Mr. Morgado wrote.

The Environmental Protection Agency is requiring the upgrades to reduce the amount of phosphorus in the treated effluent discharged into the Assabet River. Shrewsbury contributes about 57 percent of the daily flow to the treatment plant, Westboro sends 37 percent, and Hopkinton is capped at 5 percent.

In 2007, Westboro's town meeting unanimously approved spending $28.2 million to upgrade the plant and another $1.49 million to complete the project design. The costs are to be shared by the three communities, based on their usage.

But engineering firm EarthTech later informed the communities that it had underestimated the project cost by millions of dollars. Westboro town meeting last spring, however, rejected the request for an additional $25.5 million.

Mr. Morgado said the project is fully designed and can be shovel-ready within the 180...

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