PHILLIPS — The high cost of road repairs and highway equipment dominated Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Selectmen.

The board reviewed progress on road work and culvert replacement at the intersection of Reeds Mill and Toothaker Pond roads. The three sections of old culvert at Bragg’s Corner have deteriorated, allowing water to seep out and erode the gravel and asphalt around it, according to Road Commissioner Ward Bredeau. He said he has worked around heavy rainstorms and spring runoff to keep the road passable.

The culvert is 200 yards from the Sandy River and a nearby spring feeds into a stream. The spring keeps the road wet and the heavy spring rains exacerbated the problem, he said.

The Maine Department of Transportation has jurisdiction over more than 20-foot long culvert and may require permits for certain types of reconstruction work. Although it has oversight, the MDOT does not have funding to help finance the project.

Bredeau said he contacted several state authorities about the required protection of nearby spring-fed Warm Stream because Atlantic salmon have used it for spawning. He and Town Manager Elaine Hubbard met recently with Jeremy Bell, aquatic habitat restoration manager for The Nature Conservancy and Alex Abbott of the Atlantic Salmon Federation. Bredeau and Hubbard also are seeking funds to help pay for the work.

Selectmen also discussed cleaning up debris from the old fire station, which was demolished by the Fire Department in a controlled burn. The site near the downtown village area is covered with rubble.

“It was my understanding the Fire Department would clean it up,” board Chairman Lincoln Haines said.

Hubbard said fire Chief Jim Gould told her it was the Public Works Department’s responsibility.

“I’m willing to go down there and get rid of the eyesore,” Bredeau told selectmen. “If you’re making it my responsibility, I will make it happen.”

Hubbard told Bredeau he has a little over $4,000 left in the Highway Department account. Bredeau estimated he would need approximately $400 to hire a contractor for the job.

The Highway Department also needs to buy another “wheeler” truck for road work for more than $100,000. One department truck will not pass inspection and Bredeau said he hopes to sell it.

The annual town meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 19, at the Phillips Area Community Center. If voters do not approve the proposed 2014-15 budget, some proposed projects will have to be postponed until funding is available.

In other news, Hubbard reported that overall, town finances have been stable throughout the 2014-15 fiscal year, which ends June 30. She said the reserve checking account has a little more than it did at the same time last year.

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