February 16, 2011 2011 State of Our Town

2011 State of Our Town

As your Town Board we have spent the last two years positioning
ourselves to provide better, more responsive service for all citizens
of Upham. We have expanded the garage to accommodate our trucks with
their mounted plows; we have installed electricity, heat, insulation,
concrete floors and metal lining for the walls and ceiling. We
purchased a low mileage second hand plow truck with a wing and
salt/sand spreader. We purchased a second hand loader to load trucks
with salt/sand from a small stockpile we keep. This keeps us from
running to town for materials during storms. We have hired a full time
employee and he is doing much of the vehicle, road and building
We have contacted the bus company and have made school bus routes a
priority during and immediately after snow and ice events. We have
also identified several major areas of concern during and after
storms. Unfortunately we can’t be everywhere immediately after a
storm. We are still learning and trying to provide better service.
Snow removal on many of our roads is very hard on our equipment. We
have been fortunate that we haven’t had any major problems, but we
have had some minor issues. This causes us to take time out for
maintenance during snow removal. As I said, we will do better!

We have begun trimming brush and trees along town roads in the road
right-of-way. This has a two fold effect on winter operations: one, it
gives us more room to push back snow, and it allows the sun to shine
on the pavement reducing our salt/sand use which saves us money. This
also improves sight lines on our many curves which makes our roads
safer, since people are driving at higher rates of speed on the
improved asphalt.

During the past two years the Town Board has worked hard to keep our
fiscal house in order despite revenue cuts. The State has cut our
shared revenue by 15% in each of the past two years in an effort to
force us to raise more revenue locally. Instead, we have worked to
reduce expenses – long term. We have concentrated on early retirement
of debt incurred for paving Forest and Bogus roads; and building the
garage. We hope to have this debt retired next year, two years early.
This will free up about $40,000 per year for road maintenance and
improvement. We have funded garage improvements from current funds. No
additional borrowing was necessary! We have attempted to control
transfer site costs by selling scrap metal instead of paying Waste
Management to haul it away. This is a year round effort. We closely
monitor the size of our compactor loads to minimize the per trip
charges. We are asking that transfer site users break down their boxes
to increase the capacity of the paper recyclable containers.

In the future I hope we can build a dry containment area for a small
stockpile of salt/sand. Dry salt /sand is easier to spread and is much
easier on the trucks. We are now filling the trucks before a storm and
drying the salt/sand the best we can in the garage.

We have begun an inventory of the location and condition of the
hundreds of culverts in town. This information will allow us to
replace those that need it before we do any resurfacing of the road.
This process will slow down resurfacing programs, but we won’t be back
tearing up roads right after they are resurfaced; and this will assure
the free flow between our marshes, swamps, rivers and lakes.

If anyone is ever interested in touring our facilities, let me know! I
hope we are building and maintaining a town we all can be proud of!

Submitted by Larry Anderson, Chairman