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Budget concerns prompt Tuftonboro selectmen to request per-storm cost analysis for road treatment

April 17, 2018
TUFTONBORO — Road Agent Jim Bean reported to the selectmen on April 9 that since January, his crew has been out on 43 different days to treat or plow roads.

With around 50 percent of the budget spent already, Selectman Chip Albee expressed concern that despite increasing the winter budget, it's been spent. He said he wants a cost per storm and an estimate of anticipated storms in order to plan more precisely.

Bean responded that it is difficult to predict the number of storms, and each differs in duration with one storm sometimes necessitating multiple treatments. If there's a light snow, and it's windy, the crews have to go back out. This year, he said, there was a lot of freezing rain. Overall, it was "a worse year than normal" in terms of labor, materials, and fuel said Bean.

Albee suggested that it might cost less to hire town employees rather use contracted labor, a suggestion that Bean said had been studied by Skip Hurt not long ago that found the current way was much cheaper.

Transfer Station manager Clay Gallagher commented that Bean's crew's attention to the transfer station area was much more frequent this past season because of the different types of storm events.

Chairman Bill Marcussen worried that with half of the year's budget spent in three months, summer projects, such as mowing and taking care of catch basins could be "squeezed."

Selectman Lloyd Wood shared his research showing that typically around 60 percent of the road budget is spent January through April at an average cost of $4,200 per storm.

Bean reported on recent activity, which has included filling potholes in dirt roads, filling in the low spots in paved roads, and cutting a few dead trees. The sweeper was scheduled to begin removing sand. The recent storm has since demanded a return to keeping the roads cleared and safe for travel.

Bean said he recently drove the roads with F.R.Carroll, Co. Work on the roads will include cutting pavement, removing rocks, and paving around the end of June. Completion of work on Durgin Road, including a top coat, is planned, along with sections of Brown Road, Federal Corner Road and a section of North Line Road. There is no shortage of roads to choose from, he commented.

Selectman Chairman Bill Marcussen asked if additional catch basins were planned. Bean replied that Brown Rd. "is a perfect candidate" for such work and said he's marked some places. Chief Andy Shagoury is to update traffic counts to assist in prioritization. A premeeting for the paving study is coming up soon.

On another topic, Bean removed the weight restrictions on town roads, as of April 16.

In other town news, the 15th annual Town wide cleanup day will take place on Saturday, April 21. Poster boards listing the roads to be cleaned are up in the lobby of the town office building. Volutneers are encouraged to sign up for a section to clean up. Questions may be directed to Sue Wingate at 569-3114.

Prescription drug take back day is scheduled for Saturday, April 28, between the hours of 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the transfer station and recycling center.

Martin Lord Osman
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