By K.B. Sherman, Contributing Writer
Grafton – Several representatives from the Grafton Department of Public Works (DPW) and the Highway Department appeared before the Grafton Board of Selectmen July 21 to discuss town road repairs.
In June 2014, at a Special Town Meeting, Grafton voters approved a Proposition 2 ½ override of $3.5 million, with $1.5 million allocated to road repairs and $2 million to town schools. The $1.5 million for roads was to be used right away to begin making necessary repairs and hold off further deterioration.
At the July 21 meeting, DPW officials noted that the following roads had received repairs: Brigham Hill, Keith Hill, Elmwood, Ferry, Maple, Wheeler and Upton. Bills were just starting to come in, totaling about $500,000. Selectman Bruce Spinney asked how close to estimates the bills were considering the total of $1.5 million that had been obtained through the 2014 override. In response, DPW representatives said that it was too soon to tell how close to $1.5 million the total would be for the town, and which badly damaged roads were going to get attention in the coming months, perhaps making the “numbers jump.”
Selectmen further learned that the state had done some work on state highways in town that had not been up to town standards. In some cases, the roads had been just milled with no further work scheduled.
The DPW also presented a list of roads, portions of which are recommended to be repaired in 2016: Adams, Carroll, Institute, Merriam, Waterville, Wesson, Sibley and Old Westboro. Although not on their list, Glen Street was also mentioned as one that had been particularly beaten-up during the past winter. Excluding Glen, the estimate for these roads’ repairs is $1,513,375. The highway reps added that these cost estimates do not include any engineering study or plan costs, which, per road, would probably cost around $100,000. However, sidewalks added to those roads were not planned nor part of the estimates.
The board accepted this list of proposed work and voted unanimously for Town Administrator Timothy McInerney to solicit bids.
The board further spent some time looking at long-range debt scenarios drawn-up by Town Administrator McInerney. With most major building complete, the library expansion and the DPW building construction are the last foreseen for some time. A chart produced by McInerney and Assistant Town Administrator Doug Willardson showed that the peak building loan tax bill per resident was about $700/year in 2014, decreasing to about $300/year by 2034, when the DPW building and library expansion will be the remaining major items. The board will spend some time at their next meeting Tuesday, Aug. 11, discussing this issue further.