PEPPERELL -- At their Oct. 3 meeting, the Finance Committee voted to recommend 10 out of the 13 fall Town Meeting warrant articles, including an article added to the warrant the same evening during a simultaneous special Board of Selectmen meeting. The new article is to vote to appropriate $5,820 for staffing for the Town Treasurer's Office.
The board deferred voting on recommendations for three of the articles until their Oct. 11 meeting, pending input from the necessary personnel.
Following discussion and input from Town Administrator John Moak, the board postponed voting on the recommendation for a brush chipper for the Highway Department. The department's current practice for brush removal is to manually remove limbs from the road, haul them offsite to the department barn, stockpile them and contract the chipping.
According to a statement provided by the department to the Finance Committee, "The cost of running a typical brush operation costs approximately $12,000 a year."
Utilizing their own chipper, the statement said, would reduce the annual cost by about $4,000. The cost of purchasing a used chipper would run between $25,000 and $30,000.
To figure total savings, the Finance Committee was looking for the projected longevity of a used chipper.
"What's missing here is the lifetime of equipment," said Finance Committee member Holly Seiferth. "How long do we think this thing will last?"
Moak said that the saving was not merely financial; it was also about streamlining the work of the Highway Department employees. He said that with the way the brush removal currently operates, employees have to make several trips to remove brush from a single site. By cutting out the excess work, it would free up the employees for other necessary tasks.
"They're going back to the same town area four or five times a day to complete the brush work," he said. "It's so labor intensive, it's incredible."
The committee is waiting for input from Ken Kalinowski, director of Public Works, on equipment longevity before offering a recommendation.
They also deferred discussions of recommending the appropration of funds for cleaning the carpets of Town Hall; they are waiting for estimates on replacing the carpet altogether. Additionally, they are waiting for input from Masy Systems owners John and Laurie Masiello about the company's proposed tax increment financing agreement before recommending it to the town.
The committee had no need to endorse the two articles pertaining to the Peter Fitzpatrick property. Due to the fact that the Planning Board did not recommend the rezoning of the property, selectmen removed the two articles from the warrant.