TOWNSEND -- Under the version of the fiscal 2015 state budget approved by the House of Representatives, Townsend could receive $50,000 for public safety projects.

The money could go toward purchasing electronic road signs to display messages to drivers, said Rep. Sheila Harrington, R-Groton, who said she advocated for the extra funding.

"I make a point to be in close contact with officials in the towns in the district so that they can keep me abreast of any specific funding needs. (Town Administrator) Andrew Sheehan let me know that Townsend was in need of the electronic road signs for use during road and utility repair, and to alert drivers of detours. The public safety amendment was the place in the House budget to address specific needs such as these," Harrington said.

Sheehan said the funding would fill a long unmet need for either one new or two used electronic road signs, which could be used to display messages about road work, detours or emergencies.

"That's something we've been trying to find funding for in the capital plan for a number of years," Sheehan said.

Some of the money could also be put toward replacing water pumps for the Highway Department that are more than 20 years old, Sheehan said.

"It's certainly great news that she was able to secure this earmark funding for us. We've got lots of unmet needs and any additional funding we can find will help in that regard," Sheehan said.

Both the road signs and the fuel pumps were included in a capital borrowing measure that passed at Town Meeting on May 6.


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Sheehan said if the amendment stands when the House of Representatives budget is reconciled with the Senate version, the town would simply not borrow to pay for those items.

"Advocating for the towns I represent is really what being a state representative is all about," Harrington said. "I act as a conduit between the towns and the state, and bring the towns' concerns with me to Beacon Hill, and do what I can to address them. This public-safety funding amendment is just one small way in which I do that."

The House of Representatives budget is being reconciled with the Senate budget through a conference committee over the coming weeks. A final budget will be produced before fiscal 2015 begins on July 1.

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