VASSALBORO: Special select board meeting acts on tax abatement requests

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro select board members held a special Feb. 24 meeting, partly to act on a tax abatement request (approved after a discussion in executive session) and partly to consider again Road Commissioner Eugene Field’s request that the town buy a roadside mower.

Specifically, Field wants a mower that can be attached to the front-end loader the town already owns. An alternative would be a tractor-mower, but that would be a single-use piece of machinery, he said.

A new mower currently costs $106,000, Field said. A used one might be available for around $89,000.

Vassalboro’s past procedure has been to rent a roadside mower. Field said summer mowing is standard. There was no second mowing in the fall of 2021, and he thinks there should have been one – tall grass was blocking motorists’ sight-lines in some places, he said.

By consensus, select board members left in their draft budget $106,000 for a town-owned mower. The budget is for fiscal year 2022-23, from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023. Since Field expects a July order will take weeks to fill, they added $8,800 to cover a fall 2022 mowing with rented equipment.

If voters don’t approve a mower in the 2022-23 budget, Field said he will need to repeat the request for the next year. By then, he said, he will also be asking voters to begin setting aside money for a new public works truck.

Select board members further debated whether they should recommend paying for the equipment from next year’s budget, or extending payment over two or three years (with interest added).

Discussion of the 2022-23 budget will continue at the select board’s Thursday, March 3, regular meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m., half an hour earlier than usual. It will be followed by the Vassalboro Budget Committee’s organizational meeting at 7 p.m.

Sabins said human resources consultant Laurie Bouchard, of LBouchard and Associates, who did an area salary survey and offered recommendations for Vassalboro town employees, will explain her work to budget committee members.


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