DIXFIELD — The Board of Selectmen unanimously voted Monday evening to approve a special town meeting warrant on appropriating $46,850 from surplus as part of the town’s 20 percent match of the Safe Routes to School project.

The special town meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, at the Dirigo High School community room.

Town Manager Carlo Puiia said that in early 2013, the town agreed to move forward with the project to build 3,500 feet of sidewalk from Dirigo High School to T.W. Kelly Dirigo Middle School and add a sidewalk the length of Nash Street to the Regional School Unit 10 superintendent’s building.

Puiia said the cost would be split 80-20 between the town and the Maine Department of Transportation.

However, during a June selectmen meeting, Mike Laberge, MDOT’s local projects coordinator, told the board that project engineers Wright-Pierce discovered the estimated cost would be 20 to 30 percent more than expected.

The board agreed to drop the Nash Street work.

Puiia said the new cost is $484,250.

“MDOT will be paying for 80 percent of that, which is $387,400,” he added. “The town is responsible for 20 percent, which is $96,850.”

Puiia said the town should take $50,000 from the sidewalk reserve fund, and the remaining $46,850 from surplus.

“You don’t want to let your sidewalk reserve fund get too low, which is why we’d be drawing from surplus,” Puiia said. There is around $70,000 in the sidewalk reserve fund.

Puiia said the town’s cost of a sidewalk for Nash Street is $68,201.

He said the MDOT was hoping to put the project out to bid this fall, and begin construction in early summer of 2016.

Resident Norine Clarke said, “You guys have said before that if the bid comes in low, the amount we need to take from surplus might go down. What if the bid comes in higher than anticipated?”

Board of Selectmen Chairman Hart Daley said, “We’ll have to come back and look at it again.”

Puiia said the town would likely need to consider scaling back even more on the project.

Daley told residents that officials looked into a way to lock in the original price of the project and learned they “had no legal recourse to do so.”

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