During the September 24 meeting of the mayor and council, Mayor Ann Subrizi said that they were not made aware that the Board of Education (BOE) had hired Boswell Engineering to give a presentation on the 'Field of Dreams' that is being proposed for the David E. Owens Middle School (DEOMS).
The Athletic Field Committee had recommended to the mayor and council in February that the David E. Owens Middle School is the location best suited to support a new multi-purpose community field. This field would be a shared service between the borough and the New Milford Board of Education.
The committee is comprised of townspeople, Superintendent of Schools Michael Polizzi, representatives from the Board of Education, NMHS Athletic Director Joe Ricciardelli and football coaches.
The multi-purpose field would be a turf field and include a soccer, football and baseball field, in addition to two softball fields.
Costs are estimated to be between $1.8 million (for clearing of site and the installation of a synthetic turf field) to $3 million with the installation of lights, bleachers and a bathroom.
Until the project is approved and officially goes out to bid, the costs are estimated based on current market trends and the auditor's report. Should the project go out to bid, the costs could be lower, officials said. Grants and possible corporate sponsorships are also being explored to reduce the costs.
The annual cost to homeowners is estimated to be between $62 and $70 per year for 10 years on an average house valued at $410,000.
Over the course of several meetings, borough attorney Mark Madaio said that in order to proceed with the writing of the grants to help fund the field, there has to be a memorandum of understanding between the borough and the Board of Education, as well as a lease agreement between the two.
The mayor and council discussed that if the borough receives a grant for 75 percent of the cost they will have to fund approximately $600,000, plus the fees to the grant writer.
During its July meeting, the mayor and council agreed that the language of the referendum should reflect that only an amount up to $3 million would be authorized for the proposed project — any projects that exceed the cost of $3 million would be put off.
To clarify the referendum that will be on the Novemeber ballot -- it is a non-binding referendum meaning that even if it passes, the Mayor and Council still has the authority to decide whether or not to move forward on it.
Also, as discussed during previous meetings of the Mayor and Council, although the field would be shared between the Borough and the BOE, the funding would come entirely out of the municipal budget.