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Durham Voters Approve Public Works Project

Town will move ahead with $750,000 plan to replace and improve facilities.

Durham voters narrowly approved the town's plan to upgrade its Public Works facility on Tuesday.

Turnout for the referendum was light, with 157 voters supporting the plan and 136 voting against it. Six people voted "yes" by absentee ballot, while four voted "no" for a total official tally of 163 to 140.

"I'm so proud of our planning team for putting this together," said First Selectman Laura Francis after the votes were counted at Korn School. "I want to thank the residents who came out to vote.

"This is going to really enable us to better provide one of our core missions of town government and that is public works and the work that they do on our infrastructure and our roads and the maintenance of our town assets."

With voter approval, the town will now be able to transfer up to $750,000 from its undesignated fund balance to pay for the project, which includes construction of a new sand and salt shed, which collapsed last winter.

"Tomorrow we'll be on the phone calling our contractor and getting the work done. We have a four month window for construction and we should be ready to go [before] the snow flies."

Hawley Construction Corp. of Danbury will complete the work.

At a public hearing earlier this month, Francis laid out details of the project (), which is expected to cost about the town just under $500,000. The difference is the result of a $253,000 anticipated settlement from the town's insurance provider for the collapsed building.

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