Roads were, as is often the case, a major topic of conversation at the Milton Selectboard’s meeting on Oct. 7. But there was an unusual item on the agenda — coyotes.
Town manger Don Turner raised the topic, saying he simply wanted to alert the board that a couple of people have reported siting coyotes in the area of Bombardier Road. One resident has seen the animals at his house. “I haven’t been aware of any close calls,” Turner said.
Then discussion quickly returned to roads.
The town will be seeking liquidated damages from its paving contractor for delays, said Turner, charging the $500 per day allowed under the contract. The board also approved a grant application for funding to address the slope issues on Munson Road. Turner told them to expect a change order for Lake Road, where blasting was needed before a new culvert could be installed.
But it was Devino Road which dominated the meeting.
Residents, led by Thomas Sanchez, came to ask the board to promote the road from Class 4 to Class 3.
There are 15 homes on the gravel road, which, Sanchez argued, meets the state’s standards for a Class 3 road.
But, Turner said, even if it met the state’s standard, which he didn’t agree it does, the road needs to meet the town’s standards. In September 2016, the town issued a report outlining the work needed to bring it up to those standards. It’s 18 pages long.
“We want to help,” Turner said, but added, “This is taking on another road we don’t have the resources for.”
“You’re asking 15 taxpayers... to deal with it,” Sanchez replied.
Luke Randall, another Devino Road resident, said it would cost $14,000 just to have the road plowed for the winter. And residents have no way of forcing neighbors to share the cost. “It’s a lot of money out of our own pockets,” he said.
“Everybody’s who’s bought a house on that road knew the town didn’t maintain that road,” Turner said.
The status of Devino Road is a longstanding issue, having gone before the courts in 1973, when, Turner said, a judge ruled the town wasn’t required to maintain the road.
No action was taken other than the selectboard agreeing to work with residents over the long term on possible solutions.
According to Turner, other roads in Milton may join Devino in its Class 4 status. The town is looking to demote some Class 3 roads with few residents. In some cases, Turner said, the town is practically paving driveways.
In another transportation-related topic, Police Chief Steve Laroche has proposed that the town spend some unused payroll dollars on a new cruiser. Turner conveyed the suggestion to the board. The department has some openings which it’s struggling to fill given the tight job market. It also needs to replace some of its cruisers. No vote was taken on the chief’s proposal.
In non-transportation news, the town is ready to take septage from outside sources and staff will be bringing a proposed policy to govern that process to the board.