GRAFTON, Mass. - The Department of Public Works Advisory Committee presented a five-year $1.7 million road maintenance plan to the Board of Selectmen Tuesday with a price tag that, if not met, would mean more potholes to dodge.
The trick, as pointed out by the selectmen, is to find the money to pay for it.
But a majority of the evening's discussion boiled down to this: it is critical to find a fiscal balance between routine maintenance on existing roads, and having enough left to spend on big ticket repair jobs.
The flashpoint of the conversation often turned to Old Upton Road which, due to poor drainage under the pavement, is breaking apart on virtually the entire road.
Brian Szczurko, an engineer with the DPW, presented a spreadsheet to the selectmen that broke down the minimal road repairs needed between July 2013 and July 2017.
For example, a stretch of Millbury Street, from Oak Street to West Street, would need a $42,885 tear up by 2013, while a stretch of Pleasant Street, between Fitzpatrick Road and Elmwood Street, would need a $105,645 resurfacing by July 2014.
But the DPW Committee said that over a longer time period, the price tag to properly resurface badly needed roads, which would need minimal maintenance for eight to 10 years, could cost as high as $10 million.
Selectmen pushed back immediately.
“People won’t bond $10 million for repairs, I can almost guarantee it,” said Selectman John Carlson.
Assistant Town Administrator Kevin J. Mizikar said there is a $300,000 balance of state money available from the Chapter 90 account.
The selectmen, facing a town meeting next week which will include a revamped version of the Honeywell project to improve the municipal center, were in no mood to offer any guidance to the DPW.
“It’s not complicated," Selectman Brook Padgett said. "We don't have any money."
Selectmen decided to wait till after the outcome of the town meeting on October 15 before offering any budget guidelines.
“Afterwards, we will have a better sense of our long term capital,” Selectman Chairman David Ross said.