AYER -- Selectmen discussed concerns with the truck-traffic on Sandy Pond Road Tuesday night, an issue that has raised worries among residents.

Felicity Turgeon thanked Selectman Christopher Hillman for getting her list of concerns with trucks and her home on Sandy Pond Road placed on Tuesday's agenda.

"I have a young son who is not allowed to play in the front area, yard and driveway of our home even with adult supervision," she said in the letter. "It does not feel safe to me -- and I should note he is frightened/startled by the noise of the big trucks as they cruise by our home."

Hillman said he sees a lot more trucks coming down off Route 2A from Littleton into Ayer that take a left at Willow Road to avoid traffic on Route 2A.

Department of Public Works Superintendent Mark Wetzel said there are legal issues on how to restrict traffic.

"What's been suggested is you encourage trucks to use alternate routes," he said.

There is a process to apply for truck restrictions, Wetzel said, but he does not think Ayer is eligible because the alternate routes go into another town.

Town Administrator Robert Pontbriand said he will work with Wetzel and the police chief to examine the issue of possible truck exclusion from the area in question. Officials will also set up a count device to track the number of trucks that take that route.

In other business, Finance Committee Chairman Scott Houde presented a rough draft of the fiscal 2015 town budget.


Houde mainly stressed the problem with the school district, which has recently been hit with the issue that Shirley cannot pay.

Ayer's portion of the assessment is at an estimated 7.63 percent increase, he said. Yet Shirley can only afford a $239,000 increase, which Houde said is only enough to pay for the required local contribution and the net school spending.

The district needs about $745,000 to maintain the same programs as last year, he said.

If Shirley only pays this amount, Ayer's assessment would only increase $44,000 -- meaning less money for a district that needs it.

"Honestly, it's kind of frustrating that there is an impact on what we've invested in our education," he said.

Houde said the FinCom would discuss whether it should request School Committee members to increase the assessment "at a higher rate which gives schools the funding they do need, but also works within our budget numbers."

About $1 million for debt exclusion for the high school will hit the budget in fiscal 2015, Houde said.

Other potential increases involve snow removal, which is carrying a proposed $23,000 increase right now, and police overtime, with an increase of about $45,000.

Pontbriand presented the town counsel budget as he did last week to the Finance Committee. Pontbriand is recommending $85,000, a $7,000 increase that takes into account ongoing property enforcement issues and town acceptance of various Ayer roads, which requires some legal work.

In his report, Wetzel explained the reasoning behind a proposal for the position of town engineer, which would cost $70,000.

The department is just getting to the point where there are too many things going on, including new capital improvements and regulatory requirements, he said.

"I'm the only nonunion person in the department, so I end up getting pulled in a lot of different directions based on priorities," he added.

This new employee would help with infrastructure projects, among other things.

Selectman Pauline Conley said she is not opposed to the idea, but would like to see some more numbers on the proposal.

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