Road repair cost reduction plans proposed

LYNDEBOROUGH – There might be ways to bring down the cost of the bond being proposed to repair about a mile of Mountain Road and make the idea more palatable to voters. Budget Committee Chairman Burton Reynolds discussed some of those ideas with the selectmen on Wednesday, Feb. 17. He said he had been looking into various aspects of the budget impact. "It would be good to bring down the cost of the bond," he said. A start would be by making it for 10 years instead of 15, which would lower the interest costs and free up money for other projects sooner. He then suggested several changes to the operating budget, moving items around in the Capital Reserve Plan and delaying some work could lower the bond by about $200,000, down to $1.4 million. With enough of these moves, he said, "There would be no effect on the tax rate." Reynolds’ suggestions include using the savings from the snowplowing account – estimated at onethird of last year’s – moving the needed guardrails from the bond plan into the regular operating budget and delaying the final paving of Section D – the piece from French Road to the end of the current pavement. "Do all but the overlay," he said; that is often delayed a year before finishing to allow the paving to settle. Reynolds also talked about the road grader, which was recently refurbished. "We know that it will have a midlife overhaul," he said, referring to an expensive operation, but one that could add years to the grader’s life. "Why can’t we just plan for that overhaul rather than saving money for a new grader that we may decide we don’t want when the time comes? Just put away money for that overhaul?" He also using suggested surplus funds for some accounts and moving the paving of Osgood and Cummings roads out a year, and to do that work with the completion of the Mountain Road project. Both are short roads off Mountain Road with few residents. "This project affects our operating budget, the capital reserve plan and all future projects," he said. Next year, the Johnson’s Corner Bridge is scheduled to be replaced, and other road work is still planned. "Think about it," Reynolds said, and the selectmen agreed to do that. "I like the idea of a 10- year bond," Mark Schultz said, "we can do without an increase in the tax rate." The original plan would add 33 cents, or about $66, to the cost of a $200,000 home. New facts and figures, plus an outline of the plan, will be provided to Town Meeting voters as a handout. Passage of the plan requires a twothirds vote. In other business, the selectmen discussed the handicapped parking area at Citizens’ Hall. There were a few problems encountered during the primary election, including ice on the ramp (which could be eased with a temporary mat) and better lighting. More oversight is needed for parking cars in the small area. Upgrading the parking area at the boat launch on Putnam Pond was also mentioned, including the removal of some dead trees and the addition of gravel. That works would have to be approved by the state Department of Environmental Services and the Wetlands Bureau. Selectman Lee Mayhew said he would like to see the area "more family friendly."