October 7, 2008

Peru Discusses Drainage

By Barry Matulaitis

PERU - Although selectmen disagreed Monday on the best way to solve a water problem on the side of Ridge Road near the Cayer residence, they noted that steps should be taken to divert the water before winter.

Road Commissioner Joe Roach said he spoke with property owner Paul Cayer last week regarding water draining from Cayer's cellar and down the road. The two reached an agreement that the town would work to steer the water into a ditch, preventing it from coming onto the street.

Chairman James Pulsifer cautioned Roach against having the town do the work. "I was under the impression that you asked me to mitigate the problem," Roach responded. "It's within the road right of way."

Roach suggested that part of Cayer's driveway be dug up, a pipe be put in, and the water diverted into the ditch. The town would then fix the driveway, compacting the surface and leveling it.

He estimated the work would cost $400 to $600.

"My feeling is it needs to be done, it needs to be taken care of," said Selectman Burchard "Bill" Scott, supporting the town accomplishing the work. "The problem came when we rebuilt his piece of road."

In the past, there had been a manhole near the site that captured runoff. Pulsifer noted, however, that the town could set a dangerous precedent by alleviating a problem on private property.

"Are we responsible for taking care of people's cellar drainage problems?" he asked. "Everybody's cellar is their own responsibility."

Roach, however, saw the matter in a different light.

"I see an opportunity for us to be civil and cordial with this man and solve this problem," he said. "You can't expect everything for free."

Selectman Laurieann Milligan said the town should be responsible for meeting with residents prior to road changes, such as the removal of the manhole, and letting them know what potential problems could arise.

Selectmen voted 3-1 in favor of the town solving water runoff from Cayer's property, with Pulsifer opposing and Corey Jacques abstaining.

At Selectman Rodney Jamison's request, secretary Kathy Hussey reviewed the minutes of meetings where wages, vacation time, and health insurance of an road department employee had been discussed. Jamison asked when the items were approved.

Hussey noted that because she could find no record of them in the minutes, the pay, vacation, and insurance must have been approved in executive session.

"You're going to allow this to go on?" asked Jamison. "You give him three weeks vacation and give him his seniority back? I was sitting there at these meetings, and we didn't agree to do anything."

"If we need an executive session to talk about this, fine," said Pulsifer, cutting off Jamison. Other selectmen recalled that they had agreed to the seniority, vacation time, and pay for the employee, who wasn't present at Monday's meeting.

The board also approved a new shed to house sand for $400 to $500. "It should last five to 10 years," said Roach.

Selectmen set a limit of two, five-gallon pails of sand for people to take per snowstorm. "If you need more than that, please contact the road commissioner," Pulsifer said.

The board approved an application for a state snowmobile trail grant for the Peru Snowmobile Club.

The $7,000 grant, if awarded, would be used for grooming, trail maintenance, fuel to do trail work and build trail bridges.

Originally published by Special to the Sun Journal.

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