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Selectmen send trash compactor replacement out to bid


November 18, 2009
ALTON — With the trash compactors at the town transfer station nearing the end of their life cycle, the board of selectmen authorized Town Administrator Russell Bailey Monday night to put together a bid package for replacements.

Bailey explained that the two existing compactors are now 25 years old, and have been breaking down frequently, leading to substantial repair bills.

Informing the board that he had looked into the possibility of leasing a pair of new compactors, and determined that a lease would cost the town $4,000 to $6,000 more than an outright purchase in the long run, Bailey recommended that the board pursue the replacement of both units at a total cost of $42,000.

One of the existing compactors, he said, would be moved to the recycling building.

Listing the funding sources available, he said the capital reserve fund for transfer station equipment currently has a balance of $37,000.

An additional $5,000 could be taken from the capital reserve fund for recycling (which currently has a balance of just over $70,000), Bailey said, adding that the transfer station's operating budget could potentially have a remaining balance of $10,000 by the end of the year that could also be put toward the purchase of the new compactors, saving the town from having to completely drain the equipment fund.

The board voted unanimously to authorize Bailey to put the project out to bid.

At Bailey's suggestion, the selectmen also voted to move forward with a feasibility study for a 50-to-60-foot wind turbine to generate electricity at the transfer station.

Health insurance going up

During a discussion of the town's 2010 operating budget and Warrant Monday night, Bailey informed the board that if they chose to retain the health insurance policy currently used by town employees, they would be facing a cost increase of 17 percent.

Presenting the board with a list of three options for less expensive plans, he explained that the cheapest option would translate to a savings of $56,000.

Under that option, however, employee co-pays would increase from $5 to $20 for office visits, and would rise to $150 for emergency room visits, he said, adding that deductibles would also go up.

With no cost of living allowances being given next year, he said, the changes in the plan would essentially translate to a reduction in pay for town employees.

Asking the board to consider the information he had provided on the alternative insurance plans, Bailey also asked the board for permission to go out to bid for a new copy machine before next year's operating budget is finalized.

Estimates for a new machine, he said, have been around $10,000.

Recalling that Alton's previous town administrator had asked several vendors to bring their copy machines to Town Hall for a full-scale demonstration before making the final decision, Carr suggested that Bailey follow the same process.

Bailey also presented the board Monday night with a draft copy of Article I for next year's Warrant (the election of town officials); distributed a list of town-owned properties, asking the board for feedback on which parcels, if any, they might be willing to consider auctioning off next year; and handed out a list of local non-profit organizations, asking the board to think about which ones they are inclined to ask residents to support.

Board reviews capital improvement requests

The board met with members of the planning board's Capital Improvement Plan Committee at the start of Monday night's meeting to discuss the committee's recommendations for capital expenditures on next year's Warrant.

Among the requests submitted by the committee were a new ladder truck for the fire department; $40,000 toward the transfer station building capital reserve fund, and an additional $10,000 for the transfer station equipment fund; two new monitoring wells (to be funded through the landfill closure capital reserve fund); a new all-purpose pick-up truck for the Water Department, valued at $40,000; requests from the police department for $50,000 toward the police station capital reserve fund and $48,000 for the purchase of a new cruiser; a new mower and sidewalk cleaner for the Parks and Recreation Department; $250,000 to establish a new Equipment Upgrade capital reserve fund for the Highway Department; $10,000 for the Bridge Reconstruction capital reserve fund; $750,000 for the Road Reconstruction capital reserve fund; and $10,000 for the sand and salt shed capital reserve fund.

Odds and ends

In other business, the board authorized Bailey to sign an engineering agreement for drainage repairs on Bay Hill Road, with the cost for engineering services not to exceed $21,500; discussed ideas for the cover of next year's Town Report; and scheduled future discussions on the town's septic system regulations and mileage policy.

Brendan Berube can be reached at 569-3126 or bberube@salmonpress.com

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