Town of Sutton
Sutton Budget Committee

Draft Meeting Minutes for Monday, January 16, 2023 at 6:15 p.m.


Present – Bob Wright, Gail Guertin, Samantha Gordon, Bob DeFelice, Walter Baker (ex officio)

Others Contributing – Mike McManus, Adam Hurst (Road Agent)

Absent – Bruce Kozikowski (excused)

Call to Order – Meeting commenced at 6:19.

Agenda Discussion
Previous Minutes ·         Gail made a motion to approve the 12/19 minutes as presented. Bob W. seconded. Unanimously approved.

·         Bob W. made a motion to approve the 1/9 minutes as presented. Gail seconded. Unanimously approved.

Highway Department Follow-Up ·         Mike presented as a representative of the selectboard in its role managing the highway department. He has invited the road agent to continue to address the questions about their desire for a 10-wheel vehicle to replace a 6-wheel vehicle.

·         Adam presented a printed handout of slides with additional information about the 10-wheel dump truck. The presentation and discussion is summarized as follows:

o   10-wheeler vs. the 6-wheeler

§  10-wheeler can haul twice as much material.

§  The impact on the gravel roads is less than that of a 6-wheeler, because the weight is dispersed over 8 tires in the rear vs. 4 tires.

§  The 10-wheeler is 4 feet longer.

§  The 10-wheeler can turn around anywhere a 6-wheeler can, because the turning radius is sharper to accommodate the 4 additional feet.

§  Lifespan of the vehicle should be the same. It is technically possible that the truck could last 1 or 2 additional years because it may not have as much use in the summer unless there is a paving project.

§  Fuel usage is approximately the same, despite the additional size.

§  In response to a question, the road agent adds that the size of the plow is the same on the 10-wheeler (as the 6-wheeler), and thus would fit on all the same town roads.

o   Time savings (and therefore cost)

§  The 10-wheeler could cover the bus routes twice as quickly due to its capacity; Rowell Hill is 1-hour round trip for example, so holding twice as much sand would save time. After one route is finished, the staffer can move to help with another route, allowing us to complete all town roads more quickly.

§  There would be less wear & tear on the truck, since it can do the same route in fewer trips.

o   Maintenance costs of a 10-wheeler vs. a 6-wheeler

§  Oil, oil filter & fuel filter are compatible between trucks.

§  10-wheeler & 6-wheeler have the same size tires. It is estimated to cost an additional $1,240 dollars in tires over the 10-wheeler over a 10-year lifespan of the truck. It’s a better tire with a better lifespan than what we are using now.

§  The 10-wheeler has 2 additional cans for the airbrakes vs. a 6-wheeler; these are currently $150 each. Whether or not these need to be replaced over the lifespan varies greatly by wear/experience. The road agent indicates that if we needed to replace 2 more (than a 6-wheeler) over a 10-year period, that would be $300 in additional maintenance cost.

o   Cost savings in hauling & material

§  Material costs the same whether the provider hauls it or we haul it. If we haul it, we save the cost of delivery. In order to determine the cost savings, we must compare their invoiced cost versus our soft costs.

§  On average, the 10-wheeler can haul 22 tons.

§  United charges $7.80 per ton ($171.60 per load of winter sand).

§  Adam estimates our own cost to haul is $3.43 per ton. He arrived at this by calculating for 34 miles round trip in Newport, NH:

·         Labor for the 1 hour per trip is approx. $42.20 per hour for labor, including benefits etc.

·         Fuel usage is approx. 8.5 gallons per trip at $3.76 per gallon (current rate), averaging $31.96 in fuel per trip

·         Wear and tear on the vehicle – tire price is $0.04 per mile, equaling $1.36 per round trip.

§  Savings thus are estimated at $4.37 per ton, $96.14 per load, and at 6,000 tons per year, this adds up to approximately $26,220 savings per year.

§  Gravel, crushed stone, and other materials can be hauled by the 10-wheeler; we can save these delivery fees across the board.

§  A 10-wheeler is able to get reclaimed material from the state off the interstate (asphalt ground up with the base gravel, created when they remove the existing road) for no cost (other than the cost to pick it up). They won’t load a 6-wheeler so we currently have to pay for them to truck it if we want to access this resource.

o   Summary of value benefits

§  We’re able to haul more material more cost effectively: When everyone is clamoring for sand and gravel after a major crisis, Henniker and United are unable to haul material to us – having our own 10-wheeler means we can pick it up ourselves when we need it.

§  We’re able to respond to a major weather event more efficiently: The additional capacity allows the highway department to complete their response to weather events and make Sutton roads safer more quickly.

o   Summary of cost benefits

§  10-wheeler, fully equipped is approx. $260,000 vs. $220,000 for a 6-wheeler. This amounts to a $40,000 greater up-front cost of the vehicle

§  The road agent anticipates only $1,530 in additional maintenance over the lifespan of vehicle compared to a 6-wheel truck.

§  Hauling 6,000 tons of sand per year, the road agent anticipates material-hauling savings of at least $26,200 per year

§  The road agent is reluctant to say, but based on available uses of this vehicle it would seem it could be possible to get an extra year or two out of the 10-wheel truck before replacing it.

·         We have been awarded a highway block grant (~$95,000) and these funds are also available. We have to use this money within a certain period of time. We are able to use it towards a vehicle, so we would likely want to apply those up to $60,000 of these funds and take the remainder from the capital reserve (leaving remaining block grant funds for other necessary projects). Then the funds from the sale of the current vehicle would be placed back into the capital reserve to provide savings towards the next vehicle replacement.

·         The budget committee raised the question of why we should purchase the new vehicle a year ahead of schedule, which the presentation did not yet address. The road agent believes that they should purchase the truck this year because it may take a year for the order to be fulfilled. However, the schedule is clear that the previous purchase year was 2014 and the next purchase year should be 2024 regardless of the production time for the vehicle. Use of the block grant may be a good reason to make the purchase this year ahead of schedule.

Capital Reserves ·         Due to economic factors, the budget committee’s strategy with Capital Reserves (CRs) this year is to reduce them by half, where-ever it is possible to do so. This change is currently proposed for:

o   Gravel Roads

o   Library ADA Modifications

o   Highway Heavy Equipment (only 44% reduced, in order to keep up with the schedule)

o   Cemetery Fence & Tombstone

o   Conservation Land

o   Highway Equipment “Plow/Dump Trucks”

o   Fire Equipment Replacement

o   Rescue Vehicle

o   Property Revaluation/Mapping

o   Fire/Safety Building

o   Highway Grader

o   Mastin Cemetery 2022

·         With the projects we have going on for Blacktop Roads, we do need to keep this at the $250,000.

·         Computer Admin is on a fixed schedule and is allocated for servers that need to be replaced, so this must remain the same.

·         Welfare Direct Assistance remains at the $5,000, but after this year it will be at the soft cap (if it is not expended).

·         The Town Hall Facility CR is being saved for planned improvements to the Town Hall, above and beyond what we would use the town maintenance funds for. This has been reduced to $500, but we could reduce it to $0 for this year.

·         Nothing is being put into the Septage Lagoon Maintain/Modify, because it is already exceeding the soft cap, and we are waiting for word on what it will cost to decommission them.

·         Police Cruiser, $0 because we are not purchasing one out of the CR this year.

·         Police Computer Equipment must remain the same; we will need to update or replace the equipment and are waiting to find out what this will definitively cost. It is likely that we will migrate to the same system New London is using.

·         Highway Bridges we left the same at $50,000 because the soft cap is $500,000 and we are working hard to meet this amount. We can never have enough in this account, because bridges are very expensive.

·         Forest Fire Equipment will remain the same; we have to put money away for this each year in order to be eligible for grants that the fire department receives.

·         Solid Waste/Transfer Station; the purpose of this is for vehicle/backhoe but they were okay with keeping this at $0 this year.

·         Municipal Building Fund has been raised to $10,000 because there are many things our buildings need, including a furnace for the library.

·         We’re waiting for information on the Fire Safety Equipment CR. It’s possible that these funds are needed in order to replace the equipment on the proper schedule, but we are not certain at this time of the proper replacement schedule or cost. However, we do need to ensure that we have enough funds for necessary safety equipment, so we are being cautious before reducing this fund.

·         Legal Fees must stay the same; you just never know when you need these funds and the town must be prepared.

·         The Ballot Counting Machine is dropped to zero for now; the state isn’t sure whether ballot counting machines will be allowed, so it is a good time to hold off.

·         We need more information on the Historical Records Preservation; the committee is not currently sure what the soft cap is or if the fund is intended for a large purchase or a series of smaller projects. Wally is finding out and will bring this information back.

·         CR Rescue Equipment is being reduced to $0 because we have the $47,000 already saved and it will cover what they need.

·         We’re not putting any money into Cemetery Land this year because we just bought land.

·         Master Plan 2022 is a new one for this year, and we are still allocating $2,000 to it in order to keep it on schedule.

Upcoming Schedule ·         1/23/23 – We will have an information session at 6:00 p.m.

·         1/30/23 & 2/6/23 meetings will be used for finalizing our numbers, voting on budgets, and preparing the presentation for the budget hearing.

·         2/1/23 – All information is due from departments if they want it to be included in the budget hearing.

·         2/9/23 – This will be the date of the budget public hearing.


Next Meeting – The budget committee will have an information session on 1/23/23 at 6:00 at the fire station.

Adjournment – Bob W. motioned to adjourn the meeting at 7:51 p.m. Gail seconded. Unanimously approved.


Respectfully submitted,

Samantha Gordon