WINDSOR — Residents voting Wednesday night at the Windsor Town Meeting approved every item put before them, including the purchase of a new backhoe, a new forestry firetruck, and $450,000 for major road construction projects.

They even increased funding for one item from the proposed amount, a town contribution to a planned memorial to Windsor’s veterans, from $2,000 to $5,000. The contribution came at the urging of Selectman Ronald Brann, who said at the current rate of $2,000 a year, it would take 20 years to raise enough to build the memorial. The town first donated to the project last year, contributing $2,000.

“We’re going to lose people who are veterans in this town before this memorial is done,” Brann said. “And I have a bit of an issue with that. I have family members who’ve fought and died, and family members (in the armed services) now. I just feel we should raise this to $5,000 to try to kick this in the fanny to get it moving, to honor these people.”

All other funding items, part of the nearly $1.8 million town budget, which is about $10,000 more than the current year’s budget, also were approved, most of them unanimously. They include a new backhoe and loader, for $135,000, and a new forestry firetruck, for $87,000.

The new backhoe would replace a 2001 John Deere backhoe that voters later granted permission to sell, with any proceeds from the sale of the old vehicle being used to help pay for the new one.

The new, $135,000 piece of earth-moving equipment will be purchased with $45,000 from the backhoe reserve fund, and $90,000 will be borrowed through a bond. The six-year bond, at an estimated interest rate of 3.6 percent, will cost an estimated $11,300 in interest.

Town Manager Theresa Haskell said the backhoe is old and the cost of repairing and maintaining it is increasing.

She said payments on the truck would come to about $15,000 a year, which is the same amount the town has been putting into a reserve account for such purposes in recent years, which will be halted, so the purchase won’t affect the budget significantly.

The $87,000 forestry firetruck, used to fight off-road fires, would be bought with $8,200 from the fire safety capital reserve fund, a $4,000 down payment from the Windsor Volunteer Fire Department, and $75,000 to be borrowed in a bond. The five-year, estimated 3.3 percent bond would have interest costs of about $7,400.

Firefighter Dennis Strout, president of the Windsor Volunteer Fire Department, said the truck is 40 years old and needs to be replaced. He said the department looked at getting a used truck, and heard some residents asking why they would want to use a brand new truck for fighting forest and grass fires off-road, but found a new truck a better way to go.

“We looked around, and used trucks cost more than a new one,” Strout said. He added, later, “We’ve got 100 years of experience. We know a bit about what we’re doing.”

Both the selectmen and Budget Committee members voted unanimously to recommend passage of those two equipment purchases.

The proposed budget also includes $450,000 for major road construction, continuing a trend of, over the last several years, providing funds to fix most town roads. Work is expected to take place on Weeks Mills Road, Pinkham Road, Maxcy’s Mill Road, Coopers Mills Road, Greeley Road, Wingood Road and Piper Road.

Haskell said over the last eight years the town has fixed 91 percent of its 33 miles of roads.

The town’s current tax rate is $12.80 for every $1,000 of property value.

Haskell said next year’s tax rate can’t be determined until the total valuation of properties in town is determined.

About 45 people attended the hour-and-a-half meeting, held in Windsor’s historic, tin-ceilinged upstairs meeting room at Town Hall.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.