TOWNSEND -- Improving communication with selectmen was discussed at Thursday's meeting of the Capital Planning Committee.

After last-minute scrambling left an $11.3 million fire station off the Special Town Meeting warrant Nov. 19, both boards questioned why a decision wasn't made until an hour before the Town Meeting.

"One of the biggest issues that came out of that meeting was that communication isn't flowing the way it should be," said Capital Planning Committee member Carolyn Smart. "There's obviously some type of breakdown in communication."

Colin McNabb, who serves on both boards, said to prevent future confusion all comments from the Capital Planning Committee should be submitted in writing to selectmen.

Smart said this could become a burden, and suggested that the committee's representative to the Board of Selectmen be responsible for communicating with selectmen regularly.

"I think having to write a letter to inform the board for everything defeats the purpose of having representatives," Smart said.

That representative, Roger Rapoza, said having one person responsible for communicating the committee's opinion could have pitfalls.

"I wouldn't rely on one person to transmit information because a lot can get misconstrued," Rapoza said.

Town Administrator Andrew Sheehan said that as the March 1 deadline for submission of the town's capital plan approaches, the committee should consider discussing the plan with selectmen directly. That way, there is a lower chance of last-minute discrepancies between the two boards' priorities.

Members also briefly discussed the looming problem of how to address the town's deteriorating roads in its capital plan.

Chairman Lorna Fredd said that the $200,000 the town put into its capital-stabilization fund at Special Town Meeting won't go far in addressing road-repair needs.

"That $200,000 is just not enough to fund what the departments need and do any major road work," Fredd said.

Sheehan said selectmen were open to suggestions on how to address the problem, which they have already identified as a high priority.

"It's going to take a long time to dig out of this hole, and we don't have a lot of revenue to rely on to put forward into that," Sheehan said.

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