Selectmen: Poor oversight led to cost overruns on town hall, Veterans Park projects

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A worker from Forest Pump works to drill a well at Veterans Park as Milton Selectman Mike Beaullieu, behind worker, looks on Oct. 18. (Rochester Voice file photo)

MILTON - Selectmen at a board meeting last week expressed chagrin and frustration that recent work done at Town Hall and on the Veterans Park dug well came in well over budget and had apparently lacked proper oversight in completion of the projects.

Selectmen Ryan Thibeault revealed that selectmen had approved $1,500 for a town hall wall project, but the final bill had been $3,693; and that the digging of the well to provide Veterans Park with water ended up costing the town $5,580, while selectmen had only approved $2,860.

"Unfortunately, additional funds other than what was approved by the board of selectmen shouldn't have been spent however, it was and the correct process wasn't followed," Thibeault said. "The other two board members (himself and Selectmen Chair Andy Rawson) weren't aware of it, and there's not much we can do."

While not naming names, Thibeault noted that, "The work was done, the projects were completed, and if we didn't pay it was going to affect other things going on in the town."

"We have to make sure the right people are running these projects," he added.

Rawson also expressed his dissatisfaction with the cost overruns

"I just learned about the final cost, not what we voted for; the person who was in charge of the projects isn't here," he said.

Milton Selectmen first approved the money for the Veterans Park project in October, with the work to be completed by Forest Pump of Rochester company at cost, as explained by former Milton Selectman Mike Beaulieu at a September selectmen's meeting.

Both Thibeault and Rawson said they were revealing the cost overruns to townspeople now in an effort to be transparent and to continue to "move the town forward."

"How do we make this not happen again?" asked a frustrated resident.

Selectmen answered that there are rules and policies already in effect that should have prevented it.

Beaulieu resigned as selectman Nov. 16 after Rawson and Thibeault demanded he do so following Beaulieu's comments at a Nov. 2 workshop during which he said he wanted to change his vote on the town administrator budget from "yea" to "nay" because he was "not comfortable paying $70,000 a year to someone who hasn't really put in a full week's work since she started."

Selectmen's comments that can injure the reputation of town employees and/or private citizens are mandated to be only taken up in executive session per state statute.

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