AYER -- At the meeting on Nov. 12, selectmen voted to amend a Class II license issued to Lorden Oil Co. that would increase the amount of propane fuel stored at the company's Fitchburg Road property from 122,000 to 200,000 gallons.

The change, which was supported by Fire Chief Robert Pedrazzi, was needed to allow Lorden to bring loaded tanker trucks onto the property without exceeding the limit mandated by its existing license.

The problem, Ted Lorden told the board, was that he had not realized that the limit imposed by the license as it was worded covered all storage on the property including above- and below-ground storage tanks as well as any transportable tanks such as those on fully loaded trucks. On the strength of Pedrazzi's recommendation and Lorden's sterling reputation, selectmen voted to approve the amendment.

The board also voted to amend a Class II license belonging to Partridge Auto Sales allowing for an increase in the number of used cars stored on its Littleton Road property from 6 to 50. According to owner Sean Partridge, land at the site had been cleared to make room for as many as 67 vehicles and was approved by the Planning Board. The new spaces would run down the sides of the one acre property into the rear.

In other business, the board:

* Voted on the recommendation of Police Chief William Murray that the town enter a Middlesex County Interagency Mutual Aid Agreement with other local communities for mutual aid and support during law enforcement emergencies.


According to Murray, membership in the Middlesex County group would come in addition to membership in New England Law Enforcement Council, which provides much the same services giving Ayer thorough coverage in emergencies.

* Agreed to sign a contract covering the second year of a federal grant program that provides the town with up to $318,000 in each of its three years to pay for rehabilitation efforts of local drug offenders offered in lieu of jail time. Economic and community development director David Maher confirmed to selectmen that the program has shown success in its efforts.

* Signed a scope of work prepared by regional recycling coordinator Irene Congdon that will be used to hire a consultant to conduct a feasibility study for the establishment of curbside trash pickup and recycling services in Ayer. Town officials and Town Meeting approved the initial effort that could replace the town's current practice in which residents are required to drop off trash at the transfer station. Any change to the current system could still include a combination of the two and come with a separate fee charged to residents for curbside service. Selectmen, however, expressed that any change should be to the advantage of residents and not end up costing them more money. The scope of work, said Congdon, had already been submitted at the state level and approved.

* Voted to approve a contract for the replacement of equipment at the Crabtree Wastewater Pumping Station for $64,538.

* Heard from Wetzel of the installation of 312 street signs in town, of which 169 included new posts. The work was done under two separate contracts, one to manufacture the signs and one to erect them. With a projected cost of $53,000, Wetzel predicted that the project would come in under budget. For a second project dealing with 10 new lights for Main Street, the DPW superintendent said that a fire at the factory where the lights are manufactured will delay their installation until December.

* Voted to appoint Sally Balcom to fill out a three year unexpired term on the board of the Council on Aging.

* Learned that an effort to fill a new assistant building inspector position failed with only a pair of under-qualified applications having been received. Town Administrator Robert Pontbriand told selectmen that the position would be advertised again while board member Christopher Hillman pointed out that the salary being offered might have been too low to attract qualified candidates. It was suggested that the $17 per hour wage being offered by the town be compared to neighboring communities to find out if it is too low.