Public works to get new tractor and attachments

by Mary Grow

China selectmen voted unanimously to buy the public works department a new Ventrac tractor with equipment for bush hogging, sweeping and plowing South China’s sidewalks.

The negotiated price of $44,000 will come from the reserve fund voters created to buy capital equipment. Before acting at their Oct. 29 meeting, selectmen carefully reviewed proposed savings of over $12,000 a year that Public Works Foreman Gary Cummings and crew member Shawn Reed said should pay for the machine in about three and a half years.

Almost three-quarters of the anticipated savings come from not contracting to have South China sidewalks plowed. Reed and Cummings have worn out a residential-grade John Deere tractor on the task; they expect the commercial-grade Ventrac to handle it better and longer; and the lower of two quotes they got for contracting the job was $9,000.

Questioned about maintenance, Reed estimated the tractor would use up to $400 worth of fluids and other consumables a year. The town crew will do the maintenance work.

Yes, Cummings told Selectman Donna Mills-Stevens, the crew has time to do the jobs assigned to the Ventrac. Bush hogging, for example, does not need to be done weekly or on a fixed schedule.

Other business at the Oct. 29 selectmen’s meeting focused more on reports than on decision-making, although board members did make one more unanimous decision.

Disposing of used tires has become a problem for China and other towns. Transfer Station Manager Tim Grotton said the Penobscot Energy Recovery Company (PERC) will take tires, plus ash and demolition debris if needed to fill up a load, at the lowest price he has found. Selectmen unanimously authorized Town Manager Dennis Heath to make an agreement with PERC, unless Selectman Jeff LaVerdiere, who has also been researching possibilities, finds a cheaper alternative.

Cummings and Heath reported the redesigned fire pond on Neck Road is completed. The manager reported that the new culvert replacing the Causeway bridge at the head of China Lake’s east basin was set in place that day.

After a low turnout at the annual household hazardous waste disposal day in Winslow, Grotton recommended China officials consider not participating for a year or two. China pays Winslow to allow China residents to bring in hazardous waste.

At Heath’s invitation, representatives from Spectrum Generations and the Family Violence Project, two organizations likely to request town funds at the March 2019 town business meeting, made short presentations about their organizations’ services.

Since Nov. 12 is a holiday, Heath proposes scheduling the next regular selectmen’s meeting for Tuesday evening, Nov. 13. When the meeting date is set, it will be listed on the calendar on the town’s web page.

 
 

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