By Bera Dunau STAFF WRITER
---- — The Milford Board of Education has cleared the way for a Dec. 9 town vote on whether or not to purchase a new handicapped-accessible bus for the school.
At their last meeting, the Board of Education heard a presentation on the proposed bus purchase, and the resolution that would allow it to go to a town vote, from Milford Central School Transportation Supervisor Donald Harvey.
Harvey said that the handicapped-accessible bus that the new bus would replace has 122,000 miles on it, dates from 2003, and has rust.
“If we keep it any longer it’s going to need a lot of repair underneath,” said Harvey in his presentation.
Milford only has one handicapped-accessible vehicle in its fleet at this time.
The proposed bus would have room for 66 passengers, a wheelchair lift, and the ability to remove seats to fit up to three wheelchairs. It would also have full body air conditioning.
The full body air conditioning raised some questions from the board. Harvey said that the air conditioning would be installed in order to accommodate students whose conditions might require it.
“I suggest to have it done now,” said Harvey, saying that it would be cheaper to have the air conditioning installed at the factory than to have it put in if a student required it.
Harvey was supported in this position by Milford Central School Principal Michael Miller.
While no substantial opposition to the full body air conditioning materialized on the board, the issue was largely settled after it was revealed that the bus that the new bus would be replacing has full body air conditioning.
Harvey said that the new bus would be utilized for multiple uses, including sports trips.
At the end of their meeting the board members present unanimously voted for the bus resolution. Board member Alicia Fish and Vice-President Kenneth Stanford were not at the meeting.
The town vote on whether to purchase the bus will take place on Dec. 9 from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Milford Central School in the Herbert B. Garman Jr. Performing Arts Center Lobby.
If approved, the cost of the bust is not to exceed $130,000. However, state aid for the bus is estimated at $104,260, making the estimated local share $25,740. The proposal would have the school borrow the money through a bond issue, which would spread the payments out over five years, costing $5,148 a year. Additionally, Harvey estimates that the school can sell the old bus for around $6,000.
If approved, the bus would be delivered in July of 2014. Its purchase would be keeping in line with Milford’s long-range bus replacement plan, according to information provided to the board in the bus resolution.