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Truck night at Wakefield selectmen's meeting

by Thomas Beeler
Editor of The Granite State News
April 03, 2014
WAKEFIELD — Most of the talk at the March 26 Wakefield Board of Selectmen meeting was about vehicles – specifically trucks for the Fire-Rescue, Highway and Sewer departments.

Voters approved all money articles on the 2014 warrant on March 11, and the department heads were anxious to move ahead with the approved purchases, all of which will replace existing vehicles.

Road Agent Fred Clough came in with a proposal for a 2014 Freightliner 10-wheel dump truck he had located at R.R. Charlebois in Milton, Vt. The new truck will replace the highway department's 2000 Kenworth 6-wheeler. Clough showed photos of the truck, which is already built and ready to be delivered, as opposed to the Peterbilt and Mack trucks he considered, which would have to be made to order.

As advantages Clough cited a side-dumping sander, a heavy-duty single frame, automatic transmission and superior wheels. The only accessories he would add are polypropylene fenders and an 11-foot plow. The Capital Reserve fund for the replacement truck has a balance of $218,000, and the quote Clough received for the fully equipped vehicle is $188,935, with no allowance for a trade-in. He plans to trade in the older vehicle but has not yet talked with dealer about that. He wanted to review the proposal with the board before proceeding.

Selectman Chair Ken Paul reviewed the requirements for bidding and pointed out that bidding is not required for capital items that are custom built. Despite that, Clough had sought and received bids on two other trucks.

When asked, Clough said it would probably be three years before he would need to replace the next truck. After spending the $188,935 on this one there will be $29,000 left to go toward the next one. He added that he thought the design of the new Freightliner and the addition of the polypropylene fenders will help it last longer than the truck it is replacing.

The board approved Clough proceeding. He will now inspect the vehicle and negotiate a value for the 2000 Kenworth as a trade in.

Town Administrator Teresa Williams presented Transfer Station Manager Warren Winn's recommendation for a replacement plow truck to be used at the transfer station and sewer facility. Using the New Hampshire state bid list from Grappone Ford, he chose a 2015 F250 gasoline-powered truck with new plow and snow tires for $25,301. Voters approved up to $27,000 for the new truck.

Fire-Rescue Chief Todd Nason also met with the board about ordering an HMR fire truck, as well as recently uncovered unpaid ambulance bills. See separate story in this issue.

ZBA change

ZBA Chair Doug Stewart and Vice Chair George Frothingham met with selectmen to get their approval of a membership change. Both Stewart and Frothingham have been on the Zoning Board of Adjustment for many years and have decided to step down and let other members take over, while still being available to help. To accomplish this, they proposed that they be appointed as board alternates and that three long-term alternates be appointed as full members. The new board would then choose its own chair and vice chair.

The new board would consist of full members John Crowell, Cecile Flaherty-Arnone, John Napekoski, Judy Sjostrom and Sharon Theiling. Stewart and Frothingham would join Steve Brown as alternates.

Selectmen accepted the proposal and signed the new appointments.

Later in the meeting the board also reappointed current members to the Conservation Commission and Parks and Recreation Committee.

Other business

Following the town elections the first act of the new board is to reorganize. Selectmen Charlie Edwards and Connie Twombley both said they liked the board's organization as it is, and Paul was re-elected chairman with Edwards as vice chair.

The two also felt that there was no need to change board liaison assignments either. Paul argued that changing who interfaces with departments helps board members learn more about how the town operates and department issues. Failing to get traction on making changes, Paul postponed the decision on liaison assignments to the next meeting.

Williams reported she got from Tamworth their process on selling tax-acquired properties through a sealed bid process, and had Town Counsel Rick Sager review it. There is only one property up this year. Bids will be submitted with a $1,000 deposit that is refundable.

A request for bids on the scrap vehicles at the transfer station is now up on the Web site.

The board approved sending letters of appreciation to election staff, from the moderator to the ballot clerks, to recognize the great job they did with this year's town elections.

Paul brought out the trophy that Williams and her husband Joe won at the first Dancing with the Stars competition sponsored by the Parks and Recreation department. There were six couples and a huge turnout of 350 people in the audience. About $1,300 was raised by the event. The competition will be aired on ClearView Community TV within a week or so.

Town Clerk Valerie Ward will extend her hours in April. Her office will now be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday and 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday.

Williams met with Judy Brenner of Brookfield about designing a town seal for Wakefield. Brenner designed the seals for Brookfield and Carroll County and will come up with a concept and a cost.

Auditors found $2,300 in unpaid tipping fees on the books owed by a company no longer in business. Selectmen agreed to write off that balance. Procedures put in place since then should prevent unpaid bills in the future.

Williams asked the board if they would like her to prepare a procedure manual for selectmen, using those adopted by other towns. She was given an OK to proceed when she has time available to do it.

The next meeting of the Wakefield Board of Selectmen will be on Wednesday, April 9, at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall meeting room.

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