PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

PEPPERELL — Public Works Director Kenneth Kalinowski cited manpower and materials and a whole lot of snow as the reasons for a $55,000 deficit in the snow- and ice-removal budget thus far this season.

Kalinowski explained that deficit spending of $75,000 had already been approved for the account, and that Pepperell was in far better shape than many neighboring communities.

“This is relatively good news compared to similarly sized communities,” he said.

Kalinowski thanked Highway Superintendent Peter Shattuck and his road crews for “keeping the streets safe and passable.”

“They’ve done a very nice job,” added Chairman Louis Shattuck.

Kalinowski had disappointing news on the effort to sell the town’s 1990 Mack dump truck as surplus. With a $25,000 bid reserve, there were no takers for the low-mileage vehicle. He expects to put the truck back up for bids later this winter.

In his sewer-extension project update, Kalinowski was pleased on the progress and costs to date for the Indian Village neighborhood.

“It remains essentially complete,” said Kalinowski who anticipates the arrival of the pump station building by March 1 and activation of the new system by March 28.

Kalinowski sees no change in the estimated per bedroom betterment fee in the $4,000 to $5,000 range.

One bit of good news for residents who use the Transfer Station is that new rates will not be set until after June 30 this year. The six-month deferral is expected to give the board time to consider a move to single stream recycling, the possible use of colored bags rather than bag ties, changes in facility hours of operation, and the cost of renewing the recycling contract when it expires at the end of June.

The Nashua Road municipal well site is expected to be complete by the targeted date of March 23. The prefabricated pump building was delivered and is in the process of being plumbed and wired.

Kalinowski also explained to the board that the price of deduct meters and meter inspections would see their first cost increase since 2008. The price of a deduct meter and inspection will rise from $300 to $325. Kalinowski noted that the price increase allows for covering the cost of the meter and labor to inspect the installation.

In other related water news, the inter-municipal agreement with Groton for the Reedy Meadow Estates sub-division was sent back to Pepperell for edits. Kalinowski noted that Groton had “slightly revised and clarified” some of the language in the document and that there were no substantive changes that would further delay ratification of the agreement.

The board denied a water abatement request for 1 Wilderness Way in the amount of $599.46. The home owner cited a water leak in the property’s irrigation system between Sep. 20 and 23 of last year. However, Kalinowski noted that the homeowner had typically high water consumption during that time and displayed daily water consumption graphs of the property to the board.

“He clearly violated the water ban from August right through October,” said Kalinowski.

Kalinowski noted that the capability of the new meters and software allow for daily and even hourly displays of water usage, but it is not used for enforcement purposes. Rather, it serves to resolve disputes in usage that might arise from time to time.

“It’s not the leak that pushed him over,” said Commissioner Greg Rice, who referred to the tiered usage billing and the fact that the homeowner was already over it despite the leaks.