Selectmen discuss public works, transfer station at length

by Mary Grow

Much of the China selectmen’s Jan. 7 meeting was devoted to discussion of public works and the transfer station.

Town Manager Dennis Heath and public works employee Shawn Reed announced that Gary Cummings is leaving this week after 18 years of service to the town. Heath showed selectmen the certificate of appreciation to be presented to Cummings.

Board members unanimously authorized purchase of a new roll-up door for the lower level of the transfer station hopper building, replacing a 25-year-old door Reed said is beyond further repair. The cost is just under $7,000.

They authorized Heath to get a second price quote on a new generator for the town garage on Alder Park Road to power the diesel pump, lights and doors during power outages, and to buy the lower-priced.

Reed asked for a plug in the sand shed so the town’s portable generator could be used to power that door when needed.

He told selectmen the new Ventrax tractor is here and “looks good.”

Board members and Reed held a lively discussion of the relative merits of salt and sand for winter road maintenance. Reed said the town crew uses salt; the contractor responsible for one route uses sand, because his trucks are not calibrated to measure salt distribution.

Salt is expensive to buy, hard on vehicles and potentially damaging to China Lake, selectmen said. But, Reed said, money is saved in the spring when sand doesn’t have to be swept off roads and dug out of ditches. He believes salt makes safer roads, too, except when the temperature is too low for it to take effect.

In other business, selectmen postponed action on Heath’s proposal to change the Thurston Park II Committee to the Parks Committee and give it jurisdiction over the town forest behind China Primary School, as well as over Thurston Park. Selectman Irene Belanger wanted the current committee to consider the change.

Heath said China’s 2019 town business meeting is scheduled for Saturday, April 6. Voters will be asked to approve the municipal budget for 2019-2020.

The manager was dismayed to learn from RSU (Regional School Unit) #18 Superintendent (and China resident) Carl Gartley that school officials cannot begin budget work until the state legislature sets state funding in April or perhaps later. The manager suggested selectmen ask China voters to move post-2019 town business meetings to June.

According to the China website, the next selectmen’s meeting is Monday evening, Jan. 21. The town office will be closed that day for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.


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