2012-04-05 / Community News

Public works budget reviewed

By Michael Kelley
Staff Writer

Less than a month into spring, Scarborough Public Works Director Mike Shaw is already thinking about next winter.

On April 3, Shaw was before the Finance Committee to review his proposed $6.44 million departmental budget, which would increase $47,397, or 0.7 percent if passed.

In the proposed budget, Shaw has made a slight change on the materials used to clear snow and ice off the roadways in the winter.

About $100,000 less has been budgeted for road salt and $1,000 less for road sand. Shaw has asked for an additional $57,500 for magnesium chloride, a chemical compound used for deicing roads. The switch, he said, would allow the department to use less road salt, which is more corrosive than the magnesium chloride.

“We are moving in a new direction—new to us,” Shaw said. “It’s been tested. Biddeford and the (Maine Department of Transportation) are using it now. It’s going to give us a better level of service and it’s going to save some money.”

The department’s operational budget would increase by just over $104,000, largely due to a $60,000 increase in parts and labor for vehicle maintenance, an additional $16,600 for fuel cost and $60,000 for paving.

Town Manager Tom Hall said he would like to see the department allocate more than $248,000 to paving and fund all paving projects through the department budget rather than through the capital improvement budget like in year’s past.

Shaw was able to offset the $104,000 operation budget increase by reducing the solid waste budget by 5.6 percent or $102,725, thanks largely due to a $115,800 reduction to the town’s ecoMaine assessment.

Shaw has not requested any capital equipment purchases, deciding to delay the traditional replacement of a plow truck, pickup truck and piece of specialty equipment until next year. In fiscal 2014, $185,000 for a new plow truck, $34,000 for a new pickup truck and $49,000 for a new tractor are expected to be included in the $313,000 in requests for new equipment purchases.

While he skipped on the capital equipment purchases, the budget does include funding requests for two capital improvement projects: $483,000 for mid-level road rehabilitation on three miles of road in town and $230,000 for the Fogg Road paving and drainage study.

The money would cover the cost of surveying, engineering and design work for the project. Public input would be part of the process, Shaw said. Part of the following year’s capital improvement budget would fund the $2.3 million cost of the paving and drainage project on Fogg Road, which connects Pleasant Hill Road and Black Point Road.

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at 282-4337, ext. 237.

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