STRONG — Selectman Rob Elliott agreed Thursday night to explain to voters at town meeting Saturday the need to buy a new one-ton utility truck, which should cost between $35,000 and $40,000.

Elliott said that people traditionally expect the Highway Department to pay off one vehicle loan before taking on another. However, each piece of equipment ages at a different rate, depending on its use, he said.

Selectmen have never developed a replacement plan, but voters need to understand the importance of putting adequate funds into an account for major purchases, he said. Sometimes, the cost to repair an older vehicle isn’t much less than buying a new one.

In other business, selectmen received a request from a resident on Burbank Hill Road to extend the paving beyond the current location. The Highway Department will begin work on that road this summer in its scheduled five-year rotation of about 20 miles of town-owned roads.

Money is appropriated by taxpayers at each town meeting, so no extra money is in the asphalt account to pave an extra section of the road.

Selectmen also discussed ways to share information, based on requests from residents, to pave a section of Pond Road to Story Book Lane. Although the warrant does not contain a specific article for a vote on Saturday, selectmen will ask to share the reasons for the request and the options to do the job over time.

They also would like voters to consider having a special town meeting about the subject later in the year.

The municipality maintains a three-month reserve for emergency funding, and selectmen reviewed that balance. They have proposed taking $250,000 from surplus this year to reduce the annual tax commitment to voters. The current surplus balance is $561,641, according to Town Clerk Betsy DuBois.

“We’re down $70,000 from last year,” said board Chairman Dick Worthley.

Selectmen also reviewed the drug and alcohol policy and approved it with little discussion. “This medical marijuana law has changed things a lot,” Elliott said.

Strong town meeting

Voters will go to the polls from 1 to 6 p.m. Friday at the Forster Memorial Building to elect two selectmen, two Budget Committee members and two school board directors. Town meeting reconvenes at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.


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