While Spencer Town seems to have no shortage of bridge projects in its future, at a recent meeting town officials agreed the town cannot shell out another $400,000, the price tag for the new Hulbert Hollow Bridge, pictured here last November. They are hoping a new state grant program will assist the town in its repair and replacement of several town-owned bridges that are in need of work.

While Spencer Town seems to have no shortage of bridge projects in its future, at a recent meeting town officials agreed the town cannot shell out another $400,000, the price tag for the new Hulbert Hollow Bridge, pictured here last November. They are hoping a new state grant program will assist the town in its repair and replacement of several town-owned bridges that are in need of work.

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A new website for the Town of Spencer is definitely on the way. At the Feb. 9 Spencer Town Board meeting, Spencer Town Supervisor Al Fulkerson told the board that during the last month the town has registered three separate domain names to make finding the town’s website less confusing. The main domain name will be townofspencerny.com

No longer will searchers have to find the odd “digital towpath” site before being able to get to townofspencerny, with the new domain. During the coming weeks some additional details need to be worked out, such as email addresses for the town board members and town officials; however, there is hope that the new website might be up by the March meeting.?

Highway department decisions continue to be the biggest financial ones that the town board must make. Trying to be sure that they have adequate equipment that works well and can do the jobs the highway crew needs is an ongoing goal.?

Paying for needed items is the single largest budget item for the town, as roads that are well maintained are crucial for all residents who drive them and important to help maintain the tax base.?

The question of whether to sell the 1990 grader tabled from last month was considered again. No one present knew if the 2017 grader available for sale at $125,000 from Bradco was still available or what condition it is in. However, given that the price is reasonable and the town can afford a three-year lease, they agreed to purchase it if Spencer Town Highway Superintendent Mike Austin looks it over and recommends the purchase. Austin reported that the sanders worked well during the last snowstorm, despite damp sand and salt.?

Fulkerson told the board about a state program called Bridge New York. Grants, not loans, and with no match required by the town, are being offered to help towns upgrade bridges that have been “yellow-flagged” or are otherwise considered sub-optimal. Some examples of bridges that could come under this grant include East Hill, Railroad Avenue at the Sabin Road end, Washburn Road and Emory Road. The grant would provide $100,000 to the town, which would be a huge help, as it could cover the cost of up to five culvert replacements or three bridge projects.?

The first step in the application process is to write an RFQ, a Request for Qualifications document, for the firm that would handle the engineering and contract management. Fulkerson said he would write the RFQ and suggested the board use Hunt Engineers again. Details of the grant are sketchy at this point, but the board welcomes any assistance with the large expense of bridge repair or replacement.?

Referring to recent bridge projects like Hulbert Hollow, Fulkerson said, “One thing I know, we can’t do $400,000 projects every year!”?

The South Hill bridge, which washed out a second time right after the first repair was made, cost the town $600,000. These amounts are not sustainable year after year. This statewide grant cycle is likely to be very competitive, but hopefully the town’s application will be chosen.?

The town is looking at a new software system for the highway department to track time sheets, inventory, and keep a documentary record, with pictures, of work the highway department does. One program being considered was characterized as comprehensive by Austin, but he was not sure if they would use every feature. That program would cost $4,000, and an annual $1,200 support fee. Since the program may do more than the town needs, Fulkerson said he would research other options to see if there is anything less expensive that would work as well for the town.?

In other business the board:

?Approved a lighting upgrade for the meeting/courtroom in the town hall

?Approved the Stray Haven contract for homeless dogs that are not claimed?

The next meeting of the Spencer Town Board will be on March 9 at 6 p.m.

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