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Town opts to repair damaged sand truck
RUMFORD -- Continuing their discussion from the prior meeting, selectmen voted 4-1 Thursday to opt to repair their damaged sanding truck rather than accelerating the time table to purchase a new replacement vehicle.
The decision was reached based on research by Selectman Brad Adley that the engine wasn't damaged in the Dec. 9 accident, when the truck and its sanding equipment were damaged after the truck slid sideways on black ice.
Selectman Jolene Lovejoy was the lone dissenter, having initially motioned to buy a new truck with money already in the Public Works capital fund account rather than take the gamble that something else might go wrong with the 2001 International truck.
Lovejoy's motion wasn't seconded, which prompted Board Chairman Greg Buccina to motion to repair the truck.
Public Works Superintendent Andy Russell said it was a tough call whether to gamble that they could get more life out of the truck that was due to be replaced in July 2015 by repairing it, or buy a new sanding-only truck. When asked, he said he would recommend replacing it.
When asked what it would mean for the town to repair the truck instead of buying a new one, Russell said there will be delays in sanding.
He noted that before the crash, they believed they could have gotten "a few more years out of it (the truck)."
Len Greaney, a former Rumford town manager, strongly suggested that the board again look into regionalizing for cost savings, then urged the board to fix the sand truck and save $95,000 in the capital fund.
"I'd hate to think we'd trade off $6,000 for $100,000. We're facing some tough economic times. A sand truck is used less hard than a plow truck," he noted.
Adley, who owns and operates a car dealership and garage, said the motor runs fine, but there is a problem with the bearings.
He said it would cost from $6,000 to $8,000 to repair the cosmetic body damage, labor for that would be another $5,000, and draining the oil and replacing the bearings would cost $1,200.
He said it would cost $14,000 to $15,000 to put the truck back in service.
To do that, though, the town must buy the truck back from the town's insurance company, which wants to settle on the claim and total the 11-year-old truck for $18,100.
To buy it back would cost $13,050, so the town would have $5,050 remaining to spend on repairs.
Lovejoy then asked why the town must buy back their own truck, and Puiia and Adley explained that's standard practice with insurance companies handling claims.
Adley said that insurance companies will total a vehicle involved in an accident if damage exceeds 60 percent of the value of the truck.
Buying a new truck would cost $96,000 to $97,000, Adley said. With sanding equipment, that price would become $100,000 to $110,000, said Russell.
In the end, Buccina motioned to repair the truck and look at buying a new truck in 2014, as another Public Works truck will come due then for replacement. Adley quickly seconded it before the measure was approved.
Recently, it was announced that the Dixfield Withdrawal Committee is considering halting the process to leave RSU 10 by possibly negotiating to keep Dirigo High School open for years to come.
A major reason for establishing the Withdrawal Committee was a suggestion by RSU 10 Superintendent Tom Ward last spring to look into combining Dirigo High School and Mountain Valley High School in Rumford to save money.
Rumford Town Manager Carlo Puiia said the Town of Rumford should get that same courtesy. "If one gets it, we all should."
There has been talk in the community that Rumford's only elementary school has been considered as a building that would be closed.
In another school matter, it was announced that the board could fill the vacancy left by Linda Westleigh as a Rumford representative to the school board.
Puiia said interested people have until Friday to take out papers for the position, and can do so online at the town's website or by calling the town hall at 364-4576. The person appointed will serve until the next election in June.
The board chairman read the following explanation written on the agenda about requests of citizens present -- This item allows a citizen the opportunity to make a request to the board to consider placing an item on a future agenda for discussion, or to make a suggestion that the town may want to consider taking action upon. This is not an opportunity to make complaints, ask questions or make speeches. Concerns should be directed to the town manager's office during regular business hours.
First to address the board after this announcement Greaney, who asked to be placed on the next agenda.
He is seeking permission by selectmen to place a memorial in Veterans' Park. Greaney said the memorial will honor the 4,100 veterans from Rumford who have served since the Revolutionary War. "This will require hundreds of hours of work...I will not be asking the town for money. I have my own strategy."
Adley noted that before the snow disappeared, there were a couple of weekends where the ski mountain was very busy and all the park and rides were full. "It was good to see. It was ashame people had to pack up at 4 p.m. and go home because there was no place to stay in Rumford."
Buccina, who also leads the Fourth of July Committee, announced that fireworks have now been secured for the next Fourth of July celebration. The next meeting of the committee will be at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5 downstairs in the town hall, in the conference room across from the police department. Volunteers are welcomed to attend.
In his department report, Fire Chief Bob Chase told the board that they have seen a higher than normal call volume, with 60 calls during the month of January. The department typically handles about 400 calls a year.