Speed limits, signage top Derry board discussion

Derry Select Board chair Jim Ameden likes Chester’s solar speed limit signs. All photos by Bruce Frauman.

By Bruce Frauman
©2019 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Responding to a letter from Flood Brook School Principal Neal McIntyre, the Londonderry Select Board on Monday, Oct. 7 agreed to contribute $1,530 toward the cost of new speed limit beacons on Route 11.

McIntyre said the total cost will be $10,000 and the state Agency of Transportation Traffic Safety Committee will pay for half the cost.

McIntyre proposed that the school pay 40 percent of the $5,000 local share of the project, and included charts for town costs based on a town share of 40 percent, 50 percent and 60 percent. On the recommendation of Town Administrator Shane O’Keefe, the area’s towns’ share will be 50 percent, with Landgrove, Peru and Weston being asked to pay into the the cost based on town population. The speed limit on Route 11 will be lowered from 50 mph to 40 mph while the lights are active.

Treasurer Tina Labeau expects to begin going through budget requests.

Board Chair Jim Ameden sparked a further discussion on speed limits by saying that he likes the solar powered speed limit signs that are posted on roads in Chester. Board member George Mora said Chester could post the signs because they took over certain portions of Routes 11 and 103 from the state.

Ameden said that posting such signs on either end of Middletown and Thompsonburg roads would be a help. He admitted though that the main problem is that trucks use Thompsonburg Road even though signs are posted against that. Ameden said the weight of the trucks will “tear the roads up.” Mora asked of the possibility of a contract with the Windham County Sheriff for speed limit enforcement. No action was taken on this idea.

After some discussion, the board agreed to treasurer Tina Labeau’s proposal to begin budget discussions any 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 1. Labeau expects to be able to go through all budget requests from the town’s committees and commissions in four sessions. Responding to O’Keefe’s question about his role in the process, having handled large budgets, Ameden said rather than try to determine the budget amount, the board listens to each request and asks for more information for any large increases. Mora said the board tries to avoid overall budget increases. Board member Taylor Prouty said any support from O’Keefe would be appreciated.

Road Foreman Josh Dryden addresses buying a used chipper.

Although everyone on the board seemed to favor the idea, Road Foreman Josh Dryden was told to get more information before purchasing a used 2006 Rayco chipper from Brown Enterprises for $16,000, with new blades “thrown in.” Dryden said the chipper can take 12-inch diameter branches that will make cutting back branches and trees more efficient. Ameden agreed, saying it would be “good to have” for the road crew, who are now throwing brush into a truck and transporting it to the Transfer Station.

Prouty said it is a question of rental or ownership. Dryden said the chipper costs $175 per day, $1,000 per week or $2,350 per month to rent. He also said payments to purchase could be made in three installments. Labeau said the town could make the first payment this fall and wait until after July 1 for the second, once the new fiscal year starts.

With a low bid of $5,950, Dana Griswold of Andover won the board’s approval to plow and sand the Transfer Station this winter season from Nov. 15, 2019 through April 30, 2020. Board member Tom Cavanagh said Griswold fills in at the Transfer Station and knows what to do. Hart’s All Season Maintenance submitted a bid of $6,500 and Cavanagh said Hart’s has done a great job in the past two or three years.

Board member Taylor Prouty.

After a long discussion, the board agreed to accept a bid from Tom Platt in the amount of $122,632 to raise the old Post Office building he owns on Route 11/100 by 4 feet. Platt said that, as an architect and builder, he is well-qualified to supervise the project, and it would not be a “drudgery” to him. He said he will not make any money on it.

Platt had submitted his sub-contractor bids by the Oct. 3 deadline but did not fill out the bid proposal form with the lump sum amount. That form was submitted the day of the Select Board meeting. The board voted to waive the bid formality and accept the bid from Platt’s Derrydowntown LLC. O’Keefe will apply to FEMA for a grant increase. The cost six years ago was estimated to be $53,000. No one present was sure why the cost of the project increased so much ever since.

  • After an hour long executive session to evaluate a un-named employee, the Londonderry Select Board continued their meeting in open session.
  • Champion 5 South Londonderry Fire company member Chris Blackey asked for and received approval to close Main Street on between 5  and 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31 for Halloween Trunk or Treat.
  • Cavanagh said the Transfer Station is “running as smoothly as possible.”
  • Dryden said the new mower is being used and “seems to be working.” He said it may be a bit slow while the road crew is still learning.
  • O’Keefe said he, Board member George Mora and Emergency Management Director Kevin Beattie will be attending a dam safety workshop on Nov. 5.
  • Finally, the board approved the application for a second class liquor license from Associate Grocers of New England, the new owners of Clark’s Quality Foods in Londonderry.
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  1. Bob Wells says:

    I wholeheartedly “second” Jim Ameden’s idea of having solar powered speed indicators on Thompsonburg Road between Rte. 11 and Middletown Road. I suspect, the current speed limit signs are helping… but the “enhanced visual” signs would be even better. (As a footnote, my wife and I almost got taken out by a truck barreling down the road, as we exited our “hidden” driveway.)

  2. Kelly Capen says:

    Yes ! Thank you Jim ! I also like the solar power blinking signs , I think it has more potential than the non- existence, police force , When we Can get the police they should patrol these 2 roads ! We still need the sharp corner signs , but believe some one is still working on that? In terms of finance ? Grant’S ? The chipper is needed !