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TOWNSEND — The Highway Department needs new trucks, equipment, signage and funds for roads.

Highway Superintendent Ed Kukkula met with the Capital Planning Committee on Feb. 9 to discuss his department’s needs.

Last year, a requested F450 dump truck with a plow was not funded. The truck is still needed, but Kukkula said the plow is not.

“How many plows do you need when you have six guys and eight trucks?” he asked. The department can use his old truck and a and old fire department vehicle for plows if needed, he said.

In addition to removing the plow from the request, a non-diesel truck would be less expensive. Kukkula will give an estimate to the committee based on the state bid list.

A priority for the department is a new fuel management system estimated at $15,000. The present key system for monitoring town departments’ vehicle fuel use is 30 or more years old, he said.

“I go out every first of the month and take 60 reading and write them down by hand. I can barely read some of them, they’re so old and fogged up,” he said.

Then Kukkula must figure out how much fuel each department has left in its account and notify them if their account is getting low.

A new card swipe system, one for diesel and one for regular fuel, would send information directly to his computer so departments can be up-to-date on their fuel usage, he said.

The new system would also eliminate some possibilities of fraud since cards would be issued to individuals rather than vehicles.

Kukkula has seen no evidence of fuel theft. Committee member Richard Oakley suggested installing a security system.

The department also needs a new street basin cleaner. The current machine was 31 years old when purchased from Pepperell and is now 38 or 39 years old, Kukkula said. A new machine is about $60,000, a used machine is about half he told the committee.

Kukkula said the town needs to have two electronic message boards, $40,000 for both. Currently signs are rented at a cost of $1,000 a week per sign. Recently it cost the town $4,000 to use two signs for two weeks for a road repair.

“They’re handy to have on site. When you have a disaster they’re hard to find,” he said.

Electric message boards are used by Townsend Emergency Management Agency for notifications. They could also be used to notify people of town events like elections.

Oakley said when he first moved to town he was unaware of many town events because he never drove past the common and saw the signs.

Capital Planning Committee member Andrea Wood questioned why the signs were requested by Kukkula.

Although the signs would be used by other town departments Kukkula said they would most likely be stored at the highway barn.

“I find it irritating. You’re only storing them when everyone else is using them,” she said.

The Highway Department requested $150,000 for road maintenance annually for the next five years.

“Chapter 90 (yearly state funding for roads) only paves a mile and a half of roads. We don’t maintain the ones we pave,” Kukkula said.

He moved a request for $60,000 to purchase a used 6-wheel dump truck with a plow to fiscal year 2014.

The Capital Planning Committee needs to meet with the fire, police and cemetery and parks departments before sending their suggestions to the selectmen.

Smart said the amount of money available for capital expenditures is not yet known, so projects will likely be rated and prioritized and then funded from the top down until the funds are depleted.

Self-funded projects, such as the recreation department request, can be approved no matter were they fall in the list.