CHESTER – The plow truck that voters approved at town meeting has a tentative arrival date in Chester in November. In recent weeks road agent Mike Oleson has been working with his employees in the highway department to choose the right truck and equipment for the department and on Thursday, June 19, alerted the Board of Selectmen to his progress.
After reviewing trucks made by most manufacturers, Oleson has settled on a Freightliner for reasons of comfort, reliability and cost. In the end it was a choice between an International and a Freightliner, each within hundreds of dollars of the other. The other brands were thousands more, said Oleson.
The cab and chassis are expected to be built in about eight weeks, and then it will be another eight to 10 weeks for it to be outfitted. Oleson estimates that when all is said and done, the price will not exceed $175,000, and with $185,000 set aside for the project, that extra will go back to the town.
Selectmen discussed what to do with the truck being replaced. Chair Steph Landau suggested keeping it on through the winter as a backup as long as it didn’t require major repair.
Oleson suggested jettisoning the truck and moving on, but said he would keep it around if the board wanted.
Selectman Jack Cannon was concerned that the town had a tendency to hold on to junk and that such pieces ended up costing the town money, despite assurances to the contrary from those who want to keep them.
No decision was made on the truck, with Oleson suggesting putting it off until the new truck is in town.
In other business at the June 19 meeting:
• Landau referenced an article in the Tri-Town Times where fellow selectman and member of the Public Access Cable TV (PACT) board Joe Castricone said Channel 21 would be shut down this coming month for lack of funding and volunteers.
Landau was concerned that the article was the first he had heard about the matter and if such is being contemplated, the selectmen should have a say. He noted that he had received many calls on the matter.
Cannon also questioned how the decision had been made and what was planned for the station. He conceded that new equipment was needed.
Castricone was not at the meeting and the discussion was postponed.
• Cannon took time to complain about what he saw as a poor legal review of the draft contract with the U.S. Postal Service for the lease of the Ruth Ray Building. Cannon noted suspect items that have appeared in the new draft detailing responsibilities the town will have in the coming five years, as well as the push for a quick signing of the document. The contract was recently reviewed for the board by town counsel.
The expiration date of the current contract is in September but a third party is pushing for a signature this month, despite new items in the language.
“I want to get it done but I don’t want to sign up for something we don’t want to do,” said Cannon.