CHESTER – Plow rates are going up in Chester according to a long held plan to keep pay in line with the cost of living.
Soon after road agent Mike Oleson was first elected to his position in 2008, he worked with selectman Jack Cannon to come up with a system to make sure plow drivers were fairly compensated and that rates didn’t fall behind for lack of updating.
That system, in use since then, ties plow rates into the consumer price index (CPI) as well as into a sliding scale representing fuel cost. Together with the adjustable rates, equipment is broken out into five categories. Those categories are a six-wheeler with plow, wing and sander; a six-wheeler with a plow and a sander; a one ton truck with plow and sander; a one ton with plow; and a backhoe. Each classification gets a separate rate and each year a fuel rate is calculated using Department of Energy statistics for the region.
Oleson asked the selectmen at their Thursday, Oct. 13 meeting to increase the rates across the board by 1.5 percent. There was no discussion on a fuel rate change.
According to the numbers, a six-wheel dump truck with plow and sander will go up $1.31 an hour to $88.89; a dump truck with plow and sander will increase just over a dollar to $83.47; a one ton truck with a loader and sander goes to $72.61; it increases to $67.18 for a one ton with plow only, and the hourly cost for a backhoe will be $78.04.
Selectman Dick Trask asked how the rates compared to surrounding towns and Oleson said Chester was likely falling behind other towns.
The board unanimously agreed to the 1.5 percent increase.