Derry board OKs article on shed spending capped at $200,000

Londonderry Select Board member Paul Gordon says there were no other options for the new shed. Photos by Bruce Frauman.

By Bruce Frauman
© 2017 Telegraph Publishing LLC

As expected, the Londonderry Select Board on Tuesday Jan. 17, agreed to ask voters at Town Meeting to fund  a new wooden salt and sand shed for a total “not to exceed $200,000.”

While the wooden structure itself is expected to cost around $59,000, the bulk of the cost covers power to the building, excavating, a block divider, concrete walls and a footer, pads and floor paving, an electrical panel and LED lighting, state permit fees, engineering drawings and interest on the loan. The board also agreed to ask for a $40,000 appropriation this year for the shed, with the rest to be financed over five years.

The articles will be on voted on at Town Meeting on Tuesday, March 7.

The building is to be built on the Prouty property on Route 100, south of the Londonderry Marketplace.

During the meeting, board member Paul Gordon said that the board didn’t have another option. “We don’t have another location as far as land. This is what we all feel is the size of the building that we need to properly store the materials we need to treat our roads as the public wants.” Fellow member Will Reed agreed, saying “and the terms are good. It’s … reasonable on the taxpayer, which is really important.”

Road Foreman Duane Hart said some residents believe they can’t handle higher taxes.

Road Foreman Duane Hart noted that a segment of the population believes it “cannot afford any more in taxes. They don’t want to see their taxes go up at all” regardless of what projects are needed.

For more than 20 years, the town of Londonderry had been storing its salt and sand at the VTrans garage off Route 11. But the state, citing the need for space, ended the contract and in early 2016 asked the town to remove its 2,300 yards of winter sand and salt from the facility no later than spring of this year.  In April 2016, Londonderry and VTrans crews moved the sand to the front of the Town Garage on Old School Street.

Planning Commission member Emmett Dunbar asked, “How does the salt and sand shed show up in the strategic plan for the property?” Prouty said a salt and sand shed “was in the original plan. . . we took a lot of what we did from their original plan.” Gordon added, “Smaller building. Same basic location. There is nothing in this siting that interferes with any of the other possibilities for eventual other buildings: fire station, administrative buildings, sewer.”

Treasurer Tina Labeau addresses changing the town’s fiscal year.

Also, the board approved sending the 2017 budget to voters that would also mean an increase over last year of about 2.5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation on a home.

Gordon said, “Rounding the increase up to 2.6 cents, that would be a $52 increase for a $200,000 house. That gets us the sand and salt shed, the appropriations as we talked about the last time. That gets us three-quarters of a man in our new (Public Works) department, so we got an extra person for that work.”

In addition $120,000 would set aside for highway equipment purchases and $86,000 appropriated for 25 hours a week of State Police services.

  • Also, Treasurer Tina Labeau noted that this is also the last year of the ($100,000) transition fund. In 2018, the town’s fiscal year will transition from a Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 fiscal year to a July 1 to June 30 fiscal year. The board will budget for 18 months later this year with $500,000 set aside to cover the extra six months. “This will help the town budget line up with the education taxes,” Labeau said in an interview, adding that it will also make it easier to get the town report done.
  • Hart continues to research the specific make and model of the wheeled excavator he would recommend that the town purchase. At the last meeting, Hart said that an under-the-dash fire had badly damaged the 2015 Mac truck used for plowing. It is in the shop, but has not yet been inspected for a repair estimate.
  • And Parks Board member Kelly Pajala announced that the Parks Board and the Trustees of Memorial Park had agreed to merge into one seven-member Parks Committee. They also recommended the Select Board appoint the members. The members will eventually serve three-year terms. To get started, Laura Muro and Rachel Bacon-Febbie were appointed to one-year terms. Nadine Van Houten and Taylor Barton were appointed to two-year terms and Pajala, Matthew Scott and Pam Ameden were appointed to three-year terms.
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