voters will be asked to support a Proposition 2-1/2 debt exclusion override to buy a new “Trackless” machine that's used to perform a variety of functions for the – including mowing and snowblowing.
The new machine, at a cost of $160,000, would replace the existing 11-year -old Holden machine, which town officials say is badly worn, requires frequent repairs and often goes down for days on end when they have to wait for new parts to come from overseas.
“When this breaks down it sometimes takes a week to get parts,” said Wenham DPW Director Bill Tyack.
The question is Article 8 on the Town Meeting warrant. The measure requires two-thirds approval on the Town Meeting floor and a majority vote at the polls on May 19, according to Town Clerk Trudy Reid.
Town Administrator Jeff Chelgren, the Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee have all said - while the piece of equipment could have been included in the budget and kept the budget under the levy limit - they wanted to have the machine as a separate article to highlight it and have voters make a specific decision on the equipment.
“We spent a lot of time looking at whether buying this is the right thing to do,” said Finance Committee Chairman Roger Kuebel.
The purchase has the support of both the Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee.
Kuebel said the FinCom also looked at paying for the machine now versus a 10 year bond. But since the residents of the town would benefit from it for the next 10 years, the committee thought it made sense to propose that residents pay for it over time with a bond.
If stabilization fund money was used, for example, that would mean that, in part, past residents who paid into the fund but who no longer lived in town would pay to purchase it.
Tyack said the vote amount is very close to the expected cost of the new machine, which will go out to bid. The most recent quote was for $163,000 and he expects to get $6,000 for a trade-in of the existing vehicle.