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Fort Public Works Discussed at Feb. Town Council Meeting’s Public Comment Period


By:  David Deschesne

Fort Fairfield Journal, February 27, 2019


   Fort Fairfield Public Works Department was the primary topic of conversation during the Fort Fairfield Town Council's Public Comment period at their February 20 meeting.

   “I have talked to Darren and a few of you town councilors about this.  The machine that does our sidewalks continually breaks down during major snowstorms.  It's now leaking oil on our sidewalks,”  Tammy Deschesne, owner of Bookmart on Main Street, told the council.  “The other suggestion that I have is possibly hiring out for Main Street to be done, contracted out, so our business owners and those that own businesses downtown, and the buildings, don't have to pay McGillans to come clean them out. Because they are paying their taxes in town, they shouldn't have to pay twice.”

   Some businesses in town have found the need to pay for private snow removal on the public sidewalks and parking areas in front of their storefronts on Main Street - a service they already pay for in taxes - which should be done in a timely manner by the Public Works Department but hasn’t been for the past couple of winters.

   Next up to speak was Hardie Ketch, from Ketch Farms on the Center Limestone Road.  “The last two years have been just a catastrophe - summer and winter,” said Mr. Ketch.  “Go out there right now and you need a front end loader out there to work for three days.  The West Road is pr'dnear buried and it comes out there for thirty feet or more, right out into the West Road.  To get out in there, you're right out halfway out in the road before you can see a car coming.”

   Mr. Ketch also described a nearly tragic incident due to a slush situation last Fall.  The other day, I was coming to town - slush on the road - this is back the end of November.  Car pr'dnear hit me head-on, right along there by Steve Bubar's.  She was coming over the hill in the middle of the road, when she seen me she went to the side and that car took off.  I seen it coming and I stopped, or I'd have got hit head-on.  No need of slush being in the road with the plows we got today.”

    “Right now out there where Fort leaves Limestone I come through there four o'clock this afternoon, Limestone Road, and they left a ridge that's halfway right out in the road where Fort Fairfield turns.  If somebody hits that, they got just sixty feet to go right down on the rocks.  This stuff you're puttin' on for sand, I don't know where you're getting it but it don't come from across the line - he don't have that kind over there - there's rocks in [it] big enough to take the windshield right out of your pickup or car.  I don't know where it's coming from but it's there. 

   Mike Edgecomb then responded to the town council regarding an article about the town's sand which appeared in the January 30, 2019 edition of Fort Fairfield Journal.  “I addressed the council the last time I was here, last month, and I referred to McGillan Drive.  I think Scott's the one that asked me where I picked the rocks up,” said Edgecomb.   “The next day, I read in the paper the Highway Department doesn't even sand McGillan Drive.  Now, since that street's been there, they've sanded that, they've plowed it, they've done everything and that made me look like a liar and I don't think that's right for anybody to say that.  Then, there's some other articles in the paper about the screening process.  Well, I've been around the screening process for fifteen years and you don't get rocks in screened sand that's half inch. You don't.” 

  Edgecomb also brought up the issue of the layer of mud that is accumulating on vehicles as the snow melts and showed a picture of his vehicle from last Spring that was caked in mud after starting out clean and traveling just four miles from his home to the bridge.

   “We'd like to have some answers.  I asked that at the last town meeting, and I read things like this in the paper, and to me, that's not answers when I have to read it in the paper.  You need to address it here, this is where it should happen, not in the paper.” 

   Ken Stratton, President of Fort Frontier ATV Club then rose and spoke in support of the town's Public Works department.  “While we're talking about Public Works, I would just like to tell Darren I think he's doing a super job in keeping the banks pushed back this year.  We don't end up with those four foot ice boulders at the end of the driveway.  Great job.  We appreciate it, thank you.”