Lisbon Recrecation needs new bus for seniors

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LISBON — The Lisbon Recreation Department needs a new bus for its seniors program.

After failing an inspection in June — in need of about $6,000 worth of repairs, including frame work — the 15-passenger bus has been taken off the road. In the interim, the department will rent buses.

“It’s really not feasible to rent vans all the time on trips, Parks and Recreation Director Mark Stevens told councilors. “We have a lot of older folks that will attest to crawling in the back of a van is really not convenient for anyone.”

Councilors are hung up on a solution to pay for a new van, with apprehension about reallocating money as the new fiscal year just gets underway. The bus was purchased five years ago for $10,000.

Since then its needs had been funded by the Moxie Festival Car Show, with $9,000 remaining from those proceeds set to go into an unassigned account this year. Instead, it could once again go toward new bus expenses.

Stevens noted his department has collected more than $20,000 in revenue during the past three years, due to expanding programs. There is also a part-time position in his department that has been unfilled. Both could help pay for a new bus.

Stevens said he could buy a used bus for $20,000, but councilors encouraged him to look at all used options — in the meantime, using rentals for transportation needs.

“I would hope that we don’t go out shopping for the cheapest thing possible just to actually pay more for maintenance over the next five years,” Councilor Fern Larochelle said. “You hope you’d have it for at least the next five years.”

The issue was ultimately tabled, but the council did authorize Stevens to sell the broken bus and put the money toward another one.

Town Manager Diane Barnes said a server upgrade project could come in significantly under budget and recommended those funds be used for a new bus. Those numbers should be available next week.

Councilors were in agreement the bus needs to be replaced for senior programming, but will wait to hear from Stevens about a bus that fully supports the department’s needs.

The next town council meeting is scheduled for Aug. 14.

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