ROXBURY – Deplorable conditions of town roads worsened by weeks of rain and heavy logging truck traffic, prompted a lengthy discussion between Roxbury’s two selectmen and several residents at Tuesday night’s board meeting.

Additionally, Selectmen Mark Touchette and Deborah DeRoche stirred up more angst when they told the crowd of 20 that Maine overpaid Roxbury $30,000 in tree-growth reimbursement monies and wants it paid back within 30 days.

Regarding road issues, Touchette said March town meeting voters agreed to raise $5,370 to patch holes in roads and do more paving work on Horseshoe Valley and Roxbury Pond roads.

Three culverts – two crushed ones on the pond road and a deteriorating third one at the intersection of Main Street and the pond road – will also be replaced.

But, the pond road culverts won’t likely be replaced until high water from summer’s heavy rains recedes, Touchette and DeRoche said.

“There is so much water there that we’ve got to pump the water around one (culvert). Usually, this time of year, we’re dry here,” Touchette said. “We’ve got two crushed culverts and there’s maybe 4 to 5 inches of dirt over them, at most, because we can’t put them down far enough.”

If work begins prior to the water receding, Touchette said silt from excavations would drain into Roxbury Pond and create bigger problems.

Connecticut resident Steve Hudspeth, who owns a camp at Roxbury Pond and house in Andover, then asked why Roxbury can’t afford to fix its roads.

“I’ve got issues with giant holes by the church in the pond road,” Hudspeth said.

“That’s the culvert that’s going to be replaced,” Touchette said.

Hudspeth argued that selectmen should use property tax revenues from landowners and camp owners to increase the amount allocated for summer road work.

“The pond road is getting a huge amount of use. Is there a chance to take money out of the $150,000 in tax revenue and put more in for road repair?” Hudspeth asked, reading from Roxbury’s 2007 town report.

Touchette explained that 60 percent of the town’s budget goes toward SAD 43’s assessment to Roxbury. The remaining 40 percent goes toward summer road work, winter road plowing and administrative salaries.

Most of the summer road monies go into fixing Horseshoe Valley Road, which has the least amount of residents of town roads, but is in the worst shape.

“It has no base. Some of it is real swampy. It’s basically a swamp. There’s nothing there…We’ve got two years of catching up to do with no money,” Touchette said.

Some residents asked why Roxbury can’t post its roads now to prevent heavy truck traffic from hauling wood from Byron across Roxbury roads due to high diesel fuel costs. Some also asked why Roxbury can’t force logging operations to post bonds to use town roads.

After more discussion, Touchette said he’d check with the Maine Municipal Association.

Regarding the $30,000 tree growth overpayment, Touchette said town officials learned about it two days after setting the tax rate. It is a case of bad timing because Roxbury uses its tree-growth reimbursement monies to reduce taxes.

“When we got a check for $70,000, we thought it was a bit large, but Renee (Hodsdon) called them twice and asked if it was the right payment and she was told it was,” Touchette said of the town tax collector and treasurer.

He said it’s a statewide problem this year for many towns, but, so far, only three have been able to repay the money.

Touchette suggested taking $20,000 from this year’s $22,000 overlay and $10,000 from the general fund to cover it.


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