Concord capital planning in focus 

By Betsy Levinson
December 11, 2023

New this year, departments on the town and school sides of the budget have produced a five-year capital spending plan on the recommendation of the ad hoc Capital Planning Task Force. 

“Discussing all capital spending and plans together provided better context for the Finance Committee to make recommendations to Annual Town Meeting,” wrote FinCom Chairman Parashar Patel.  

“In addition, having one document that included Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 capital spending (including town and schools) was helpful rather than discussing capital projects across several meetings and a variety of Town and School documents.” 

Tier 1 projects have a maximum cost of $250,000 per item and are funded with cash rather than debt. Tier 2 projects cost between $250,000 and $2,000,001 and are funded with borrowing within the levy limit. Tier 3 projects cost in excess of $2,000,001 and are funded with excluded debt, which requires approval at Town Meeting and at the polls.   

Patel said “new needs will continue to outstrip resources available without substantial additional borrowing.” 

Future “substantial” projects from both the schools and town include: 

  • Three large public works/public safety building projects to address deteriorating buildings and facilities. 
  • Bringing road conditions to a higher standard. 
  • Delayed completion of Concord-Carlisle High School Fields Amenities building. 
  • A new track for the high school that may need public financing if private donations are not sufficient. 

“The draft capital plan makes clear that town departments continue to play catch up on basic infrastructure needs,” he wrote. 

Potential new needs include: 

  • Possible acquisition and development of 2229 Main Street. 
  • Renewable and other “green” investments in town and school buildings and vehicles. 
  • Potential projects arising from the Recreation Department’s strategic plan. 
  • Potential projects arising from the Concord Public Schools’ comprehensive facilities assessment. 
  • Potential projects arising from the regional high school district comprehensive facilities assessment. 

“We note that the Concord Middle School field irrigation is currently unfunded and was not included in the draft [Fiscal Year] 2025 plan,” Patel wrote.