SIDNEY — Four members of Wright-Pierce, a Topsham-based engineering firm, pitched consulting services to the Board of Selectmen on Monday.

The services, which would cost an estimated $2,000 to $6,000, would help the town assign priorities for maintenance, repairs and replacement of its assets, according to Jonathan Edgerton, senior vice president of Wright-Pierce.

“It’s a structured approach to maintaining the different facilities — assets you have — whether it be the roadways, storm drains, buildings, athletic facilities, things like that,” he said.

The long-range plans could help the town manage money more effectively, ease the flow of federal grant money to projects and provide context for voters, Edgerton said.

“When you go to town meeting, people might say, ‘Gee, you’re asking for more money than you had last year for this. How do we know this is necessary, and you’re not just fat cats at the town office spending all the money?’ ” Edgerton said. “You’ve got to have a defensible rationale.”

Board of Selectmen Chair John Whitcomb said the town has already developed a plan to deal with Sidney roads and culverts through S.W. Cole Engineering. Whitcomb said he understands the usefulness of a plan that would encompass all town assets, but a plan doesn’t necessarily guarantee voter cooperation.

“It is something that would no doubt be useful,” Whitcomb said of Edgecomb’s pitch. “To justify it — that’s something we would have to talk about.

“I don’t think it’s going to change the mindset of individuals that are looking at one thing. And that’s what it comes down to.”

Selectman Red Laliberte echoed Whitcomb’s assessment.

“When we go to town meeting, we get slapped hard,” Laliberte said. “Let’s face it, everybody (complains) about the roads, but when it comes to taxes going up, everybody tightens their belt.”

Selectman Kelly Couture said a comprehensive plan could be a useful tool for informing voters.

“One of the things we need to be able to do is communicate with the town better with the planning — with what needs to happen today and in the future,” she said. “I don’t think people actually realize … the expense and the things that need to be taken care of in the town. The culverts, the roads have to be maintained. And if your assets aren’t maintained, you’re going to pay a lot more money in the future.”

The board did not take action on the matter Tuesday.

“Honestly, it’s something we’re going to have to think about,” Whitcomb said.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.