LIVERMORE — Voters at the annual town meeting Wednesday night narrowly rejected buying a new backhoe by a vote of 30-23.

The backhoe would have replaced a 2005 JCB backhoe/loader that needs about $15,000 in repairs to a hydraulic pump system and other work.

The article would have allowed the town to spend up to $104,000 on the machine and finance it over five years. It is estimated to cost about $23,000 a year using a maximum interest rate of 3.5 percent.

“The town doesn’t need to update the 2005 to a 2014,” Selectperson Peter Castonguay said. “It is in excellent shape” with a few things wrong with it that need to be fixed, he said.

“I think we should stay with the machine we got,” he said.

Others agreed with him that the money that is estimated to be paid for interest, about $11,000, would cover most of the repairs.


Selectperson Rodney Newman said if they bought the new backhoe they wouldn’t have to make a payment until next year. The $15,000 estimated for repairs would cover most of the first payment, he said.

Discussion led to whether the town wants a construction crew and associated equipment or a road crew to maintain the roads.

Highway foreman Roger Ferland told the Board of Selectpersons earlier this year that he would like to replace the machine with a heavier one. The town’s machine has about 6,000 hours on it.

“We are not buying the same machine,” Selectperson Mark Chretien said. The new machine would be bigger and have a longer reach, he said.

Selectpersons were split on the vote, with three in favor of buying new and two against it when it came time to vote with other residents on the article.

When that article failed, voters approved a second article to raise and appropriate $15,000 to repair the machine.


Residents also agreed to raise and appropriate $336,555 for highway maintenance that includes wages. The article included an amendment that would allow the town to sell any used or obsolete plow blades and scrap metal and use the money to buy tools and equipment for the highway garage.

The highway crew is taking on more and more responsibilities to repair the town’s vehicles and they need tools, Selectperson John Wakefield said. It seemed the logical way to help buy tools and equipment would be to use the money to purchase them, he said.

It would be about $300 a year, Wakefield said. There are limited tools at the garage to repair vehicles.

Voters also approved an article for $32,000 to buy a compactor and pay for associated expenses. The town plans to go to single-sort recycling.

That would give the town two compactors, one for trash and one for recyclables. By compacting recyclables, it is expected to reduce hauling and tipping fees, board Chairwoman Megan Dion said.

By 8:40 p.m., voters had gone through 43 articles and had eight more to go.

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