Hebron narrowly approves new plow

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HEBRON — After several votes, residents approved the purchase of a new plow truck by a margin of two votes at Saturday’s annual town meeting.

About 50 people attended the meeting, which ran for about three hours. The Board of Selectmen and Budget Committee recommended authorizing the selectmen to borrow or bond $135,000 to purchase a new truck to replace a 1999 International. The truck will be used to plow snow and sand roads, and will have a dump body for spring use.

The article also offered the options of appropriating $60,000 to buy a used truck or $25,000 to repair the existing truck. The first motion on the article favored the latter option. One citizen said it was necessary to keep the tax rate low, but critics said the appropriation would be more than the annual payment of the new truck and less than the trade-in value of the International.

“It is an extremely poor investment to spend $25,000 on a truck that’s pretty much worn out,” said resident Arlan Saunders.

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The vote to repair the International was defeated, as was a motion to raise $40,000 to buy a used truck. Those actions were followed by a motion to raise $128,500, an amount Selectman Richard Deans said reflected the latest cost estimate for the purchase of a new truck.

An amendment to table the question until June, following adoption of the school budget, passed by a vote of 27-21. However, it also raised the question of whether the amended article gave conditional approval to raising $128,500 pending a permanent decision at a special town meeting in June. Road Commissioner Warren Packard said a new truck would not be ready until January if it was approved in June.

The amended motion failed in a 27-19 vote. The question of whether the town would raise $128,500 was returned and passed in a 24-22 decision.

The next article on the warrant asked whether the town would authorize selectmen to borrow or bond $60,000 to buy a one-ton pickup truck for plowing, sanding and maintenance work or $25,000 to buy a used truck. Selectman Jim Reid motioned to raise no money, saying the $10,000 to $12,000 likely to be raised from the sale of the International could be used to buy the smaller truck. The article passed after it was amended to allow selectmen to spend the proceeds from the sale.

The town also approved $46,000 to construct a 40- by 60-foot building with a 16-foot-high ceiling at the transfer station. Selectman Dan Eichorn said trash is currently dumped into a truck idling on site, and the building would help bring the site into compliance with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection by addressing water runoff.

He said the building costs would be reduced because labor would be provided by students from the Region 11 Technical School, and that it could house a compactor if the town chooses to begin single-stream recycling.

The funds were approved following two amendments. One took the money for the project from an account for the construction of a sand and salt shed, which had $34,600 as of Saturday. The other amendment allowed the balance to be taken from the general fund.

Residents approved $140,000 for the maintenance of winter roads, $20,000 less than had been requested by the Budget Committee. Reid said the lesser amount would suffice due to the mild winter.

In the election, Deans was re-elected to a three-year term on the Board of Selectmen. Joan Clough was chosen for another one-year term as town clerk, treasurer and tax collector. Packard was re-elected to a three-year term as road commissioner, and Sandra Bruno and Elizabeth Swift were returned for three-year terms as Moody Library trustee and school board director, respectively.

The town also voted to stagger the terms of the Budget Committee to have one member serve for one year, two for two years, and two for three years. The members of the present Budget Committee were returned following the vote.

mlangeveld@sunjournal.com

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