MEXICO — Winter weather is taking its toll on the highway department, Town Manager Jack Gaudet told selectmen this week.

The department has spent more than half of its fiscal budget, so Gaudet said he told Foreman John Blais he needs to closely monitor the overtime spending, if possible.

Gaudet said one factor with overtime, so far, is the timing of the storms. Most have been at night and on weekends.

The cold temperatures have also been a factor.

Gaudet handed out a sheet on the heating costs in the six town buildings. The most significant figure was the recreation building, which used 1,600 gallons of heating oil in December at a cost of $2,865.

Selectman Byron Ouellette said it’s an old building and fortunately steps have been taken to “tighten up the building some.”

Selectman Reggie Arsenault said the wind and snow blows in through the wooden doors.

Gaudet said the town was fortunate that it locked in with C.N. Brown for heating oil at $1.79 per gallon, about a dollar per gallon cheaper than the current market price.

The town manager said Rumford is still in pretty good shape on fuel. To date, all the buildings have consumed close to 8,000 gallons of heating oil, but there is still double that amount budgeted.

In other business, Fire Chief Richie Jones said December and January have been “tough on us.” His department responded to 13 calls in the first two weeks of January, including five structure fires, two chimney fires and a flooded cellar.

The board appointed Terrence Belyea as a fire department constable. He joins Ray Broomhall, making them the only members of the traffic squad. Jones said they are looking for more people to serve.

Selectmen appointed Arthur Howes to the Budget Committee.

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