Something old and something new were discussed at length at the Milton town board meeting Wednesday, June 27.
The old was an aged, decaying water tower on Middle Line Road, purchased by the town years ago in hopes of restoring it. Built primarily of stone similar to granite, the tower has a unique structure that includes steel enforcements and an inside tank made of bricks.
The board voted 4-to-1 to accept the sole restoration bid for the tower.
Board member Hollis Blodgett said he has been searching for a company to reconstruct the tower for years.
This tower has enormous historic significance; we bought it specifically for restoration, and if we don't do it now, it will never be done, said Blodgett. "There are very few companies out there willing and able to help us, and in two, three or five years (the tower) will be gone, and we can put up a sign 'former site of '"
But at Wednesday night's bid opening for the restoration project, the single bid of $79,985 by Western Building Restoration in Albany raised some questions from audience members and one councilman.
Blodgett said some of the project monies would come from a grant of about $13,000, and funds were included in the past two town budgets.
According to the 2006-2007 town budget, $50,000 was included for restoring the water tower, if approved by the board.
Blodgett pressed the board to accept the sole bid.
"I haven't received written, official estimates, but a lot of people have looked at the tower and said it could cost up to $125,000 to fix," said Blodgett. "It's more than rock; there is architectural significance here."
Board member Joseph Miranda voted to turn down the contract.
"When we first went to acquire this property years ago, I was the sole voter against this," said Miranda. "I respect my colleague's opinion, but deep down, I can't vote to support this high a cost for this project. I was hoping it would come for $25,000 to $30,000. I'd like to be able to support it, but my vote is no."