BUCKFIELD – Town Manager Glen Holmes asked selectmen Monday night to give him direction on the 2008-2009 budget and they told him to look at contracting road work.

The first budget workshop opened with Holmes presenting figures for increasing spending 3 percent, cutting it 6 percent and cutting it 13 percent. He said a 3 percent increase would not cover fuel costs.

Possible reductions in spending mentioned were highway, rescue and fire departments.

Chairman Skip Stanley said it has been six years since roads were studied, and highway work is the biggest expense after schools.

He asked Holmes bring back figures for continued town maintenance and for hiring a contractor.

The possibility of grants for road work was also brought up. Stanley said officials should take up each department’s budget in a separate workshop after the roads are studied.

Holmes was also asked to get figures on the town having a rescue department and contracting a service.

Budget Committee member Terry Hayes asked Holmes to provide statistics on the number of rescue calls during the day when they need paid responders and at night when volunteers would be available.

Holmes said the Fire Department already was understaffed and each new volunteer cost the department $2,500 for the proper equipment.

Ideas were given to save money at the waste transfer station. Sharing office duties with neighboring towns and law enforcement were also discussed.

Roads will be the topic of the next budget workshop, which follows the regular board meeting Jan. 15.

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