“Before you say, ‘Oh, no!’ …” First Selectman Rudy Marconi began.

A slight detour during the selectmen’s Feb. 5 discussion of the engineering department budget wandered back to a $40,000 item in the current year’s 2017-18 budget. The question was what color the highway department’s buildings should be painted.

The plan — which Marconi worried might prompt some retrospective dissent — was to paint the highway garage and office building a shade of red previously approved by the Architectural Advisory Committee for the nearby building, where the highway department’s winter road salt is kept.

“The color the AAC approved for the salt barn,” Marconi said. “We matched it to the recycling center, We’re looking to standardize …”

It turns out the first selectman was showing sound political instincts in thinking the color of the highway garage could prompt some opinions — and it might be best to hear them before the painting is done.

“We can’t get a more neutral color?” asked Selectman Bob Hebert.

“It’s going to be really red over there,” said Selectwoman Maureen Kozlark.

Board members wondered if the color choice might go back to the Architectural Advisory Committee — which is a consulting committee of architects and designers that mostly reviews building plans for the Planning and Zoning Commission.

“Maybe we want to ask them about a little gray and white?” said Selectman Steve Zemo.

“Send it back to the AAC,” agreed Hebert.

And that’s where the color question will go.

“I’m not going to eat this one,” said Marconi.