North Bennington Trustees consider buying snowplow

NORTH BENNINGTON — The North Bennington Trustees discussed a multitude of village business on Tuesday including an upcoming opening on the board and the purchase of a new sidewalk plow.

Janice Lerrigo will be retiring from the board at the end of her term, and the trustees are looking for someone to step up to take her place. Unlike in nearby municipalities, it doesn't require a petition to run for North Bennington's board of trustees. Interested applicants need only be present at the village's annual meeting, on the third Tuesday of March. Votes are made on the floor.

The need for a new sidewalk tractor came up after one of the village's died unexpectedly earlier this month. Including all the attachments, the new machine is expected to cost around $65,000. Some money will come from various reserve funds, and the board is looking into financing options to pay for the rest.

"This thing's only got 26 hours on it," said highway superintendent Norm LeBlanc, who said he negotiated the price down during a visit with the owner earlier this week, "It's pretty unused."

"For the last eight years, we've been running these trackless systems and buying very used ones, and I think that has kept our cost of operations for these systems to a pretty good minimum," said board chairman Matthew Patterson, who called it a very good machine, "But it's also a lot of headaches with repairs. We've been through two of those trackless machines and have spent, over eight years, ten grand for each of those. We've also bought some other implements to go with them. But what has happened is that there's a transmission leak in this latest one. Bottom line, the cost to fix this is going to be greater than what we've got into it. It makes no sense to be doing that."

Patterson estimated that the current machines are costing about $7,000 annually to operate, meaning that, assuming a lifespan of 10 years and that they could recoup roughly half its value in a trade-in at that point, it would pay for itself in about five years. The board approved LeBlanc purchasing a new tractor for no more than $70,000.

The North Bennington Village Trustees meet on the first Tuesday after the first Wednesday of every month, in the North Bennington Train Station at 7 p.m. Their meetings are broadcast on Catamount Access Television, and can be viewed on the station's YouTube page.

Reach staff writer Derek Carson at 802-447-7567, ext. 122 or @DerekCarsonBB


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