January 14

Norridgewock cuts off sand supplies to residents, citing potential shortage

Many towns in Maine provide sand and salt to residents in the winter as a courtesy, according to the Maine Municipal Association.

By Rachel Ohm rohm@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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SHRINKING SUPPLY: Norridgewock Public Works foreman Joe Bishop inside the town sand building on Monday. Bishop said he is at the spot, 20 feet away from the pile, where the sand amount should be on a typical January. The supplies are greatly down this year because of the severe weather of the past month.

Staff photo by David Leaming

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JUST SCRAPING BY: Norridgewock resident Sid Smith scrapes the last of the sand that was available to the public at the town Public Works department. The town is no longer allowing residents to pick up sand because of a shortage from heavy use this winter.

Staff photo by David Leaming

Additional Photos Below

“The town of Norridgewock definitely has the right under law to take the step they took,” said Conrad. “An argument against that would be what if a resident is taking five times more for his driveway than another resident? That person could argue that they’re not getting what they deserve for their tax dollar.”

Many towns in the area provide sand for residents and many also have limits on the amount of sand that can be taken. Given the icy conditions that have plagued most of central Maine for the last few weeks, many municipalities including Norridgewock say they are concerned about getting through the rest of the winter with the supplies they have while staying within budget lines.

In Waterville, residents are limited to two five-gallon buckets of sand per household per week, said Mark Turner, director of public works.

“It’s something we are happy to offer to the public. It’s a critical need for many households, so we are supplying it at this time and don’t anticipate cutting it off,” said Turner.

Belgrade also adheres to a two five-gallon bucket per household policy that town manager Gregory Gill said he believes most people adhere to.

In Skowhegan, Road Commissioner Gregory Dore said the town has used more than half of its sand stockpile but is still supplying residents.

“It’s very unusual for us. If this winter continues the way it has we’ll almost definitely run out within the next month,” said Dore. The town does have a reserve of sand so Dore said it is unlikely they would have to buy more.

Access to sand supplies can be difficult in the winter because the ground around sand pits is frozen and most contractors do not have ready access to the equipment needed to collect sand in the winter, said Dore.

The city of Portland, which has a population of about 66,000, also provides sand and salt for its residents at 40 locations around the city.

“This is a winter to be concerned about. I can see other towns taking steps like this because they’re trying to hang on to what they have left and not spend more money to buy more sand later in the year because they may not have budgeted for it. That would affect property taxpayers as well,” said Conrad.

Rachel Ohm— 612-2368 rohm@centralmaine.com

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Additional Photos

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CONCERN: Norridgewock resident Lisa Lewandowski says she is concerned more for her neighbors now that residents are no longer allowed access to the town’s sand supply.

Staff photo by David Leaming


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