By Kara Herlihy

Town officials in Moretown will use up to $15,000 from the Capital Reserve Fund to cover the cost of a smaller town pickup truck for the highway department. Select board members approved the expenditure at their March 15 meeting.

In addition, Moretown residents will be asked once more to approve an amount not to exceed $180,000 for the purchase of a new town dump truck; select board members voted in favor of holding a townwide vote on May 11. The special vote follows the defeated Article 10 that failed by four votes on Town Meeting day.

TOWN TRUCK

Town officials met with interim road commissioner Rae Washburn and members of the town road crew to discuss the equipment needs and recommendations. 

Washburn said the road crew "really needs two trucks, a smaller utility truck and a new dump truck to replace the current, deteriorating town truck."

He said that the dump body of the current truck will need to be replaced shortly and that the road crew will need a new truck before next winter.

Special-ordering the truck could take as long as one year, he said.

LINE ITEM

Moretown resident Jonathan Siegel suggested that the town "get into a pattern" of budgeting for town trucks, since the road crew typically needs a new truck every three years. Seigel said the budget should include a line item each year that will cover one-quarter of the cost of new truck, instead of waiting and warning a large expenditure.

"I don't think the article failed over $10,000; it failed because people don't want to spend $190,000," he said.

Town Treasurer Amy Deutl suggested that the capital budget committee work to educate and inform the public about why the truck is needed.

EDUCATIONAL APPROACH

"I can guarantee that the people that voted against the truck don't know how many town trucks we have," Siegel added.

"We lost a year after Town Meeting. We're buying the truck; we need an energetic, educational approach to let everybody know that we're not saving money by putting it off another year."

Select board member Dave Van Deusen suggested paying for a new, smaller pickup truck with money from the Capital Reserve Fund, since town officials are authorized to spend that money without a townwide vote.

CAPITAL EXPENSE

Since the expenditure qualifies as a capital expense, select board member John Hoogenboom said he agreed with using money from the Capital Reserve Fund (currently with an approximately $100,000 balance) to cover the cost of the pickup truck.

Select board member Stephanie Venema said she wasn't ready to make a decision about a truck purchase.

"I want to make sure we get what we need and what our choices are," she said.

OFFICIALLY APPOINTED

Town officials voted in favor of spending an amount not to exceed $15,000 on a pickup truck for the town's road crew. Van Deusen voted nay; Venema abstained.

Voters will be asked to approve expending an amount not to exceed $180,000 for the purchase of a new town dump truck at a townwide vote scheduled for Tuesday, May 11. 

Reed Korrow was also officially appointed to a vacant seat on the select board at Monday's meeting; select board member John Hoogenboom won on a write-in campaign and had previously suggested appointing the loser from the one-year race.

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