Road commissioner Bob Holland asked board members to approve the purchase of a tractor and mowing attachment that will be used mainly for roadside mowing. The expenditure was planned, and is included in the current budget. Holland told board members he received bids ranging from $87,000 to $124,000. He recommended the board purchase a John Deere tractor with a mowing attachment on an articulated arm at a cost of $88,300.
Board member Joe Mahon questioned the purchase, saying he didn’t have enough information to make a decision on the cost effectiveness of the plan. “It’s such a large equipment purchase, isn’t there someone out there we can hire to do the mowing?”
Holland said he hoped to drastically increase the amount of roadside mowing in Dover. “Rather than 100 hours of mowing, I hope to have 300 or 400 hours of mowing. The (articulated arm) will let us cut further back from the road.”
Holland said the town currently spends between $10,000 and $12,000 per year on the 100 hours of roadside mowing. To do the same amount of mowing that he planned to do with a town-owned mower, the budget would have to be more than $40,000.
Mahon noted that the cost of the tractor wasn’t the only cost; there would also be a cost for labor. Holland figured the labor cost for 300 additional hours of mowing at about $4,500.
Selectboard chair Randy Terk figured the tractor would pay for itself over eight years, at the current rate of mowing, and Holland said he figured it would have a 10-year replacement period. But Linda Holland suggested the tractor may last a little longer than that. “I have five tractors,” she said. “The newest is a 1988. The oldest is a 1965, and it still goes out and works every day.”
Mahon said he wasn’t against purchasing a tractor and mower, he just wanted figures indicating the cost effectiveness of the purchase. Terk, Holland, and board member Tom Baltrus voted in favor of a motion to approve the purchase, Mahon voted against.
In other purchases, the board agreed to spend $1,500 on an oversized Adirondack chair, part of the Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce’s latest public arts project, Mountain Chair Madness. The oversized Adirondack chairs will be decorated by local artists, and sponsored by local businesses, organizations, and individuals. As with previous public arts projects sponsored by the chamber, the chairs will be on display at local businesses and public places, and are expected to draw the interest of visitors and locals. “This is highly visible and engages second-home owners and visitors. We’ve come through rough times, and this sends a good message.”
Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Adam Grinold told board members there would be a “speed dating” event at Harriman’s Restaurant to introduce sponsors and artists to each other. Grinold said the town could co-sponsor a chair with other sponsors, sponsor a chair on their own or they could purchase a chair for $1,500. The sponsored chairs would be auctioned off in the fall at the end of the event, but those who purchase chairs can keep them. “So we’ll keep a lot of the chairs in the valley.”
Grinold, who owns Wahoo’s Eatery in Wilmington, said the giant chair in front of his business has been a lure for customers. It started with a chair that was purchased as a promotion for an earlier public arts project and placed in different locations around the valley. “It lived at Wahoo’s for a few months and so many people stopped to have their photo taken in it, we knew we needed to have our own. This winter I’ve seen people climb over snowbanks and wade through snow to get their photo in it.”
Board members were sold. “I like the idea of having a chair in the park,” Terk said. “So for $1,500, we’d own it and could keep it in the park?”
“And you’d get to work with the artist on the design,” added Grinold.
The board unanimously approved the expenditure.
The board also approved the expenditure of up to $300 for banners and other items for a parade and celebration in honor of Olympic silver medalist Devin Logan on Saturday, March 22. Board members expressed some concern that the request wasn’t accompanied by any indication of exactly what the money would be spent on, or what the total budget was for the event. Although the event will occur entirely in Dover, Terk appeared to be under the impression that Wilmington would be matching Dover’s contribution, which might mean Dover’s expenditure would be only $150. “So it’s going to cost each town $150,” he said. “I’m sure we can find $150 somewhere, it’s just that it’s all very vague and unspecific. But it’s an important event for the town and the region.”
Board members also scheduled a joint meeting with the Dover School Board at 6 pm on July 1 to discuss efforts to increase attendance at Town Meeting. School board chair Rich Werner said his board has already discussed ideas. “Maybe we can fund lunch,” he said. “We could make a donation to the students (who prepare lunch as a fundraiser) and provide lunch. Maybe we could have door prizes you could win by answering trivia questions. We’re open to any ideas.”
“One year they gave out 10 free bags for the transfer station. Although I’d like 20,” joked Mahon.