Lyndeborough highway winter budget in the red

LYNDEBOROUGH – Ice storms are “financially painful,” Road Agent Kent Perry told the Lyndeborough Board of Selectmen on Wednesday, Dec. 11, and there have been several small ones so far this fall.

“After last spring, we were hoping for a good November and December,” he said, but that didn’t happen.

The selectmen voted to allow Perry to overspend his bottom line by $12,000 to cover salt, sand and overtime caused by sanding and snow plowing.

“In a storm, you have to keep working. Otherwise, you get behind,” Perry said.

Acting Town Administrator Burton Reynolds said there were funds in other accounts and “this will have no effect on the town’s bottom line.”

The highway budget is always “figured close,” Reynolds said, and since there is no way to predict weather, an average of the past five years is used in calculating estimates. Perry said it costs “about $5,000 per storm.”

Twice this fall, he said, a sudden drop in temperature has caused icy hills resulting in accidents.

To offset the storm costs, Perry said he had not installed any guard rails and postponed other projects.

The budget for 2014 will change little, Reynolds and Perry said. A raise of 1.5 percent is included for employees and there are no big projects planned. All storm-related lines are higher to accommodate rising costs.

Perry said he was using more salt, which has cut down on accidents.

The state block grant money will be used on the next portion of Center Road to rebuild and/or replace culverts and catch basins from Dutton Road to Wilton Road to prepare for paving in 2015.

It was noted that the fuel system at the town garage will have to be replaced in the near future, including storage tanks, pumps and lines. The current system, dating to the 1960s, is “grandfathered” from state regulations, but will have to be redone. Reynolds suggested a line in the Capital Reserve Plan once an estimated cost has been figured.

The department’s paving plan will be revisited next year. Perry suggested that no reductions be made in the annual figures “until we’ve finished Mountain Road.” After that, he said, there could be a regular maintenance plan.

In other business on Wednesday, selectmen said Cemetery Trustees have set aside funds to remove dead ash trees and repair some broken headstones.

Nothing will be done this year regarding the Fire Department’s old tanker while various options are considered. A new truck will not fit into the station.

A new police cruiser will be ordered in January for an April delivery.

The Board of Selectmen will not meet again until Jan. 8 unless there is an urgent need.