Backhoe purchase proposed for Strong

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STRONG — Selectman Mike Pond advised the board Tuesday that a new 590 Case rubber-tire backhoe and add-ons would cost $114,765.

Highway foreman Duayne Boyd said the equipment will have everything the public works crew needs to do the ditching, plowing, construction and maintenance work for many years.

Selectmen need to commit to the purchase before the fiscal year expires in December.

Voters approved the backhoe lease-purchase in March, allocating $35,000 per year for up to three years. That would leave a shortfall of almost $10,000 for the equipment.

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Pond suggested taking that money from the Special Equipment account, however, Chairman Dick Worthley said he would contact Maine Municipal Association to ensure selectmen were acting in accordance with the wording of the town meeting article and the vote to spend taxpayers’ money. 

Spending from the Special Equipment account could require voter approval, at least two selectmen suggested.

In other business, Mary White of the Forster Building Committee said she has historical records of the committee and the building that she would like to be kept in a secure place. The public also should be able to view the documents, as well. She has contacted the Strong Historical Society, but she also wanted to explore the option of a storage space in the Forster Memorial Building vault.

Selectman Rod Spiller updated selectmen on the proposal to create and maintain a town website. He said librarian Erika Ouellette was willing to update and maintain the site once it is created, but the town should expect to pay her approximately $750 to $1,000 annually, plus initial costs for a domain name and development of the site.

He will provide selectmen with an estimate of those costs at the next meeting.

Spiller also reported that the Sandy River Riders ATV club has agreed to keep the club open, despite having few volunteers to help maintain the local trails. He also said the town park will welcome volunteers to help with a fall cleanup from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23.

“We’ll have some music and hot dogs, so stop by,” he said.

Selectmen went into an executive session to discuss a personnel matter but ended the meeting in open session without a vote.

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