NEW GLOUCESTER – Selectmen voted 5-0 Monday night not to buy a loader for the transfer station because the price is nearly $30,000 more than what voters approved last May.

Public Works Director Ted Shane had recommended buying the machine, however when bids were opened this month the offer for a 1.8-yard Caterpillar loader was $127,500. It was the only bid for that machine, which officials believed would best meet the town’s needs.

Selectmen agreed to ask the Capital Improvement Committee to review their request to use nearly $30,000 from another town fund to purchase the loader. The board would then decide whether to present the request at a special town meeting or wait until the annual town meeting in May.

Meanwhile, the board approved using $6,000 from the Undesignated Fund Balance to buy four new tires for the loader so it will pass inspection.

In other business, the board set a procedure for developing the 2020-21 municipal budget. Department heads will create a budget with Town Manager Carrie Castonguay. The Budget Committee will review itand all questions will be referred to the town manager, rather than department heads. Selectmen will finalize the budget before it goes to voters.

Budget Committee member Penny Hilton asked the board to provide budget materials at least a week before meetings and that there be more than the two review meetings last winter. She also asked for more information, including projected revenues with timely response to requests for additional information.

In other business, the board heard from former Selectman Stephen Hathorne about staff for the Fire Department.

“We have had (seven) resignations in a short period of time from the Fire Department,” he said.   “Something down there is not working. You all have to work together to fix it. We cannot afford to hire per diems. I am concerned with the safety of our firefighters.”

Hathorne also said the Upper Gloucester sand shed has large potholes on the floor and he’s concerned salt has been leaching through the holes over the years.

“Why haven’t they been patched?” he asked.

Upper Gloucester village had serious salt contamination in private wells from an open salt pile many years ago. The situation was remedied by a public water supply.

A new sand/salt shed under construction next to the Fire & Rescue Department at 611 Lewiston Road is expected to open this winter.

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