BUCKFIELD — Town Manager Cindy Dunn said she is waiting to solicit bids for harvesting timber behind Bessey Field in hopes that the stumpage market will improve.

At the Feb. 2 selectmen meeting, resident Vivian Wadas asked for an update on the harvest plans for the 7.5-acre grove on Paris Hill Road.

“I happened to notice some of the trees in there have been marked with blue paint,” Wadas said. “I am assuming the blue marks on the trees that I saw are the ones to be removed.”

“Yes, you’re right,” Dunn said. “The trees that are marked are the ones we’re proposing to remove.”

She said Darrel Brown, a Maine licensed forester recommended by district forester Merle Ring, marked the trees. “They have not been removed yet because I will assume we all are aware the market for logging is really bad plus with the winter we’ve had, the ground isn’t frozen enough. … I want to cause as little damage as I can do to the ground when they drop those trees.”

Dunn said she has bid specifications ready for the harvest and realizes she can’t wait too much longer to go out to bid. But she explained the delay.

“We can probably get rid of the logs fairly easily,” she said. “However, I believe in the forest world it’s called stumpage. The tops of the trees would be left there until a mill would take them and the mills aren’t taking them right now.”

In May 2015, after examining the pine grove, Ring recommended the town conduct a selective cut harvest to thin some of the trees in the grove. The issue was originally brought up when a local logger stopped in the municipal building asking if the grove had ever been harvested.

Wadas also asked if anyone had been able to go check out the washout problem area on McAlister Road.

Dunn said she spoke with Road Foreman Tyler Belanger, who is aware of the situation and checked out the road.

“That is going to require a lot of fill. Nothing we can do about that because of the conditions of the ground,” she said. “It will be something we will address as soon as we can.”

The large culvert might have to be replaced and she estimated it would cost tens of thousands of dollars to do so.

“Once that embankment goes, then there’s no way to get up that road. That culvert is the bridge, if you will,” Wadas said. “The side I am talking about is way steeper so the runoff is even worse.”

Dunn said McAlister Road is a secondary road and there’s so much work that needs to be done on the town’s primary roads first.

“However, I am aware of the domino effect,” she said. “If we’re fortunate enough to put an extension on (the culvert), we can save a lot of money.”

Also at the meeting, selectmen unanimously agreed to disburse $3,250 in social services money, as recommended by that committee.

The money was approved at last year’s town meeting and Board of Selectmen Chairwoman Cheryl Coffman said it will go to the same agencies as the previous year.

Dunn and the committee decided which agencies best benefited Buckfield on a financial level. They include Androscoggin Home Care & Hospice, Community Concepts, Rural Community Action Ministry, Safe Voices, SeniorsPlus and Western Maine Veterans.

Dunn informed the board her family is taking her to Disney World and she will be gone from Monday, Feb. 29, through Sunday, March 6.

“I am so excited, I am like a little kid,” she said, laughing. “However, in my haste and excitement to respond in the affirmative, I overlooked the fact that the board is scheduled to meet on the Tuesday I am going to be gone.”

She asked the selectmen what they wanted to do about the meeting. 

Coffman said she’d rather hold it after Dunn returns.

Selectmen voted to move the Tuesday, March 1 meeting to 9 a.m. Saturday, March 12. Instead of holding another meeting three days later, they moved the Tuesday, March 15, meeting to 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 22.

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