Derry board OKs purchase of excavator/mower New $191,000 rig to replace sickle mower, backhoe

Road Foreman Mathew Rawson says his crew has tested the new excavator. All photos by Bruce Frauman.

By Bruce Frauman
©2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

A new wheeled excavator will be seen around Londonderry doing road work and, eventually, mowing, following the Select Board’s decision Monday to purchase the $191,000 machine built by JCB. Road Foreman Mathew Rawson said everyone on the road crew has been able to test drive the demo unit and has liked it.

Rawson added that everything is under the cab, so the driver has a 360º view. It has large rubber wheels and can move at 25 mph on a flat road.

Board chair and Road Commissioner Jim Ameden said this opens up a lot of options. It will replace the sickle bar mower and the backhoe.

Ameden said the new excavator can be used for ditching and, with the purchase of a mower next year for about $9,000,  for over-the-rail mowing as well as cutting back on roadside trees and brush. The plan is to sell the backhoe to the Transfer Station to replace that aging unit.

Demo unit tested by town crews.

The town will pay $41,000 upon delivery of the unit and then $41,000 for four years at an interest rate of 3.8 percent.

Ameden said the purchase of a new 550 plow truck will be put off another year to maintain the budget for road related purchases. Rawson said he has rented a road side mower for June 11 through 15.

Board member Bob Forbes said the salt and sand shed building is now complete. His last request to the contractor was to create a swale in the backfill behind the building so that runoff from the roof will move away from the building. Hooking up the electrical lights and outlets is the next step.

The board accepted a bid of $10,500 from Ameden Construction of Jamaica (not owned by Board chair Jim Ameden) to excavate a portion of Thompsonburg Road near the old Wiley Garage to determine what is the cause of the street’s collapse. Town Administrator Robert Nied said the work should be completed by June 15.

Mike Norris, center, asks the board for written approval of his Route 100 solar site.

Citing a July 1 rule change by the Public Utility Commission, Mike Norris, co-owner of Norris Solar asked for and received a promise from the board that it will draft and approve a letter citing the Yrsha gravel pit site on Route 100 as a preferred site for solar development.

He said he needs a letter from the Planning Commission as well. Nied will draft the letter and Ameden will sign it. Norris said he has been working on the project for a year and a half.

The Select Board tabled Health Officer Irwin Kuperburg’s request to obtain the phone numbers and street addresses of all town residents to be able to contact them in case of an emergency.

Treasurer Tina Labeau said it would be a time consuming task. She said they “would potentially have to write everyone.” Forbes said it would take time to consider how to handle such a big project. Board member George Mora said they would have to consider how to store the information.

Labeau said they couldn’t gather the phone numbers because they would then becomes public information.  Select Board member Bob Forbes said the town could request the information, but not require it and said many out-of-state homeowners have caretakers who could be contacted in the event of an emergency.

Select Board member Bob Forbes says the town ended up purchasing only one property during a recent tax sale.

Forbes said that the town purchased a piece of land on Derry Woods Road during a delinquent tax sale on May 11. Labeau said the .86 acre parcel had been in the same family since 1923, but no house was ever built. Mora asked if it was “solidly in the flood plain” and Forbes said it was. Forbes also said two properties were settled before the tax sale and all the other properties attracted bids.

The road crew will remove trees and rocks laid by an unnamed home owner across the trail that continues from Rowe’s Road to Under the Mountain Road. The owner will be sent a letter saying that state laws will be enforced that prohibit obstruction that “hinder or prevent public travel.”  And fines up to $1,000 plus cost of repair and attorney’s fees can be imposed. Ameden introduced the proposal after reading Title 19, Section 1105 of the state statutes from which the quote came.

In other business:

  • The West River Farmers Market request for a vendor’s permit was approved. The first market will be held this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Route 11 & Route 100.
  • Rick Petrosky was hired by the board to work at the Transfer Station on Sundays at a rate of $15/hour. Candy Bliss is already working on Sundays as well.
  • Board member Tom Cavanagh said he was still working to keep bears out of the Transfer Station area.
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