The New Sharon road commissioner is hoping to add some consistency to a job that’s had a lot of turnover, which will allow paving work to continue on Industry Road as well as other roads in town.
Last year John Pond was elected to the one-year post, getting 96 of 157 votes cast.
The road commissioner election will be held Saturday at the annual Town Meeting, where voters also will take action on a proposed $857,891 town budget. Nominations for road commissioner are taken from the floor on meeting day. The meeting begins at 9 a.m.
Residents at a special town meeting in October discussed, but eventually turned down, a proposal to change the road commissioner’s position from one year to something longer in order to prevent the high turnover.
After lengthy discussion about the deteriorating condition of town roads at last year’s Town Meeting, residents voted to increase the roads budget by $20,000.
Before his election last year, Pond said the roads in town were in the worst condition he’d seen in years.
Some residents at last year’s Town Meeting said emergency responders had a hard time traveling on roads in town because they were in such poor condition.
In his annual report to the town this year, Pond said that since his election, road crews have finished ditching, graveling and paving Glenn Harris Hill, which was damaged in Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011. The work passed inspection by the Federal Emergency Management Agency before the June 30 deadline, so the state gave the town’s summer road account a $7,000 reimbursement.
He said public works crews also finished paving Bailey Hill Road and started paving Industry Road.
“It has been a year of new experiences,” he said. “There was some unfinished business to tend to, along with learning the role of road commissioner.”
Pond’s goals include continuing to pave Industry Road and begin paving Lane Road and part of Weeks Mills Road. He also plans to update cross culverts, repair the bridge on Lane Road, patch tar roads and work on ditching.
Elections for all positions are held during the meeting and nominations for election are taken from the floor. Selectman Russell Gardner’s seat is open for election. The road commissioner, clerk, treasurer and tax collector positions are up for election every year. Town Clerk Rose Mary McCormick said she plans to retire and will not be running again for her position.
This year’s budget includes a few slight increases, including a $10,000 request from the Fire Department for new protective gear. Fire Chief Eric Webster said it costs about $2,000 to equip a firefighter with protective gear, and the department has four people training now who will need new gear in order to take their end test for certification as firefighters. The department last year responded to 131 service calls.
The property tax rate for the town of 1,400 is $14.30 per $1,000 of valuation, or $1,430 for a home valued at $100,000.
Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252 [email protected]