Town to buy second sidewalk snowplow

BRATTLEBORO — It's hard to imagine with the hot, muggy weather this summer, but in three months, the town could be covered in snow.

To prepare, the Selectboard recently approved a bid for the purchase of a second sidewalk plow.

This was part of a slate of capital equipment bid awards Town Manager Peter B. Elwell presented to the Board for their approval at the Aug. 7 regular Selectboard meeting. Elwell noted all five items were approved earlier in the year by the Selectboard and Representative Town Meeting for Fiscal Year 2019.

The second sidewalk plow was the subject of some debate during FY19 budget talks and at Representative Town Meeting.

The cost of the plow, estimated at $140,000, raised the tax rate by 1.2 cents per $100,000 of property value.

In the budget discussions, some residents noted snow-covered sidewalks pose a challenge for those using wheelchairs, walkers, strollers, and other mobility devices. Members of the town's Traffic Safety Committee, and Department of Public Works Director Steve Barrett, recommended the purchase of the second sidewalk plow.

Town Manager staff found a sidewalk tractor plow that met the DPW's specifications for slightly less than the budgeted amount. The equipment will cost the town $139,752.

The four other items for which Elwell sought Board approval also came in under budget.

A one-ton crew cab pickup truck for the DPW was budgeted at $45,000. After the trade-in, the truck will cost the town $27,758.

The maintenance and custodial department will get a half-ton pickup truck with a snowplow for a cost of $32,697. The estimated amount was $35,000.

The 15-ton trailer, budgeted for $25,000, will cost the town $20,200.

The town has never owned an excavator, Elwell said, but will soon get one for $100,683, almost $25,000 less than the budgeted cost. “It's needed for compliance with the new, more stringent drainage regulations,” and will allow the town to do its own ditch work, he explained.

“We did really well with these bids this year,” Elwell said.

The Board approved the bid awards in a 3-0 vote.

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