ANDOVER — Selectmen met at length with Oxford County Administrator Scott Cole Tuesday night in the first of a few meetings to determine topics that need to be addressed by commissioners and town officials.

The discussion was mostly based on what Andover can do for the county in its unorganized territories of East B Hill and South Arm, such as providing fire protection, a transfer station and winter and summer road work.

County “towns pretty much run their own show,” Cole said to Selectman Keith Farrington. “But this situation with Andover is pretty unique. We don’t really have anything like this where there is so much overlap with the transfer station, road work and the Fire Department. We just don’t have that anywhere else.”

For winter roads, Cole asked if it would make sense to have the same truck running the whole length of South Arm or to contract all the way through and free Andover contractor Steve Swasey’s crew up for other work.

Additionally, the East B Hill Road that connects Route 26 in Upton to Andover at the intersection of Routes 5 and 120, is narrow, in poor condition and not well-maintained during winter.

This past winter, Swasey sent his bill to the county for rescuing out-of-state truckers who followed their GPS from Upton toward Andover via East B Hill Road to reach Route 2 and became stranded in the snow and ice.

County commissioners had signs erected at either end, alerting truckers to not use their GPS because it’s easier and shorter to take Route 26 from Upton to Route 2 in Bethel than to take East B Hill Road to Andover and follow Routes 5 or 120 to Route 2.

Cole said he doesn’t know if it makes sense to have one contractor cover the whole road instead of two towns and a contractor.

“It just all comes down to what’s the best use of money and equipment,” he said. “We’re willing to follow the lead of anybody or we need ideas — but, in the end, the commissioners feel we have to work with Andover to figure out the best way to do things. We’ll augment that financially.”

He said everything on the route “has got to be done.”

Road Commissioner Mark Farrington said that his predecessor, Marshall Meisner, and his crew went to the town line when a storm was over. He said it’s also difficult to sit in Andover and know what the weather is doing outside of Andover.

“You can’t make too many trips up there for nothing,” he said. 

Cole told the board and Mark Farrington that if they see something, winter or summer, that needs to be dealt with — such as a crisis or a tree across the road — to just deal with it.

“We need that road work done,” he said.

One idea might be to add a sand and salt shed with county and town money to better deal with winter issues, Cole said.

“When you add it all up, you’re talking maybe 40 miles, so maybe it would make sense to have a sand and salt building up here,” he said.

Keith Farrington said the board is seeing a difference in snow plowing and sanding at the town line between Andover and Rumford and down Route 5.

“Sometimes, our side is a lot better — and sometimes, their side is better,” he said.

“It depends who gets there first,” Cole said.

Mark Farrington agreed.

“But you know, we’re happy to help,” Cole said. “Andover is in the driver’s seat and we’ll figure something out with all of this.”

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