KINGFIELD — Selectmen agreed Monday night that for years the town has not put enough money aside to keep up with maintaining buildings, equipment and infrastructure.

“We haven’t been keeping up with inflation all theses years,” Selectman Merv Wilson said. “In past years, we didn’t increase things like wastewater rates in anticipation of future costs.”

The issue of reserving money for future needs arose when Public Works managers Bruce White and Bryan Fitch said a new town truck is needed.

White said he bought two town trucks for $145,000 10 years ago. Similar trucks today would cost $336,000, he said.

Money set aside annually doesn’t keep up with costs to replace aging equipment like pumps for the wastewater system or a plow truck, officials said.

“Putting $10,000 into equipment reserves is pennies today, compared to what we could buy years ago,” White said.

When they bought the two trucks 10 years ago, selectmen Chairwoman Heather Moody said the town had been putting $2,500 per year into the equipment reserve account. Last year, voters appropriated $15,000 for the account.

Administrative Assistant Leanna Targett is researching truck dealers and financing options for buying one or two trucks. No decision has been made.

In other business, selectmen agreed to reinstate telephone service for the transfer station because residents call town officials at their homes on Saturday and Sunday to get information on hours and disposal costs.

“We thought we were going to save a few hundred dollars,” Moody said.

The phone service was suspended months ago.

Targett said the list of properties in foreclosure has dropped from 19 to 13 in the past two weeks.

Selectmen said they are pleased with the response from groups who use the Webster Hall for meetings and classes. Most of them have stored, removed or disposed of personal items left behind, and others have cleaned the kitchen.

Since Webster Hall rental fees bring income to the town, the shabby and cluttered appearance has been a deterrent for those looking for a more formal space, selectmen said previously. They agreed that the walls should be painted, and Moody said Michelle Beedy will do it for $100.

“The kitchen and bathroom absolutely have to be done,” Moody said.

Selectmen agreed to replace the hall’s 300 deteriorating ceiling tiles with new energy-efficient ones. A new ceiling will make the entire room more attractive, Wilson said.

“Some of the light fixtures sag because they are heavy,” he said. “If you level the whole ceiling grid before you put up the new tiles, it will make the whole ceiling look brand new.”

Selectman Wade Browne contacted someone about cleaning and polishing the vinyl flooring in the hall. The work could include cleaning and polishing the other floors in the building.

The piano in the hall will go to the transfer station, if no one wants it, selectmen said.


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