Minot faces big request for road funds

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MIN-OT – Selectmen swallowed hard Monday night after receiving their copies of the proposed town budget they will take to the Budget Committee on Wednesday.

Town Administrator Arlan Saunders reminded selectmen that they have essentially flat-lined the budget for the past five years, pretty much on the back of the highway department.

“We have some good roads in Minot, but we won’t if we don’t step up to the plate,” Saunders said.

Saunders explained that his request for $270,000 for the summer road paving program – an $87,000 increase over this year – was necessary if the town were to get back onto a long-term schedule for the care of the 42 miles of road it maintains.

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“The cost for asphalt has gone from $50 a ton to $80. At the amount we raised last year ($183,000) it would take us 24 years to repave all town roads,” Saunders said.

The life expectancy for paving on town roads, according to Saunders, is between seven and 10 years.

“Our roads are an investment worth protecting, if you get too far behind and they start deteriorating, you can get in trouble fast,” Saunders said.

The big ticket item up for consideration is the plan to expand the town’s Central Fire Station.

Since the original Central Fire Station was built, the services provided by the department expanded to include rescue services.

Voters at last March town meeting opted to postpone the project, which was then estimated would cost about $432,000.

While generally supportive of the need for the addition, residents felt the debt the town was carrying was a little high and decided to wait a year, bringing the town one year closer to its last payment on its Mid-Maine Waste Action Corp. debt.

Today’s estimated cost for the 44- by 64-foot addition is $536,640. The project would be financed over 10 years.

The other capital improvement project being proposed is a 38- by 44-foot addition to the town garage. The addition would be constructed by the town highway road crew, with the costs for materials estimated at $35,000.

The requests for funding to run town departments remain essentially flat.

Selectmen also reminded residents interested in applying for the Roland and Noella Hemond and the Kurt Theriault scholarships that completed applications are due at the town office on Jan. 18.

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