MINOT – Selectmen have authorized Road Manager Arlan Saunders to scale back this summer’s paving program and have given Saunders permission to contact the two low bidders to determine what effect the reduced work might have on their responses.

The problem, Saunders explained stems from the high cost of asphalt, the cost per ton for which is up about 20 percent higher than the estimate he had used in preparing his budget.

Last year, asphalt was in the mid $30-per-ton range. Saunders said he budgeted $42 a ton and the average price contractors gave was $50.

“We’ll be taking a couple hundred tons away. I want the contractors to be comfortable with the change,” said Saunders.

Saunders noted that the two low bidders, Commercial Paving at $236,860 and R.C. & Sons at $237,977, were within a half of a percent of each other on a project that calls for reclaiming nearly 30,000 cubic yards of pavement and putting down 4,785 tons of asphalt.

Saunders said he can cut the amount of asphalt needed by reducing the layer put down on Old Garfield Road from two-and-a-half to two inches. This would save about 200 tons of asphalt and bring the paving program within budget.

Saunders also told selectmen that he expects cooperative work agreements with Hebron and Mechanic Falls to prove mutually beneficial this summer.

“We have a blossoming relationship with Mechanic Falls, a good two-way street,” said Saunders.

He noted that Minot has already done some grading in Mechanic Falls.

“We have some more to do in a couple of weeks and they will either assist us with some of our ditching or possibly let us use their loader to push the shoulder box later this summer,” said Saunders. The box is used to smooth road shoulders after paving.

Saunders also said he plans to ditch about 1,900 feet on Greenwood Mountain Road in Hebron the beginning of May in return for Hebron’s truck hauling for Minot the following week.

Town Administrator Rhonda Irish reported that the recreation committee is organizing community work days for the weekends of May 13 and 20. Irish said the goal is to develop a soccer field in the town’s new recreation area east of the school, leveling and readying it for planting by spreading a couple thousand cubic yards of loam.

The hope is that if the field grasses in and everything goes well, it can be used for soccer this fall. In other business, selectmen accepted the terms in a letter from the Maine Bond Bank approving the town’s request for a $229,997 five-year bond for the Fire Department’s new tanker/pumper truck.

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