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Towns team to apply for truck grant; Bucket truck would be used for tree clearing.

Byline: Ellie Oleson

AUBURN -- The town of Auburn is joining with Rutland, Barre, Hubbardston, Oakham and Paxton to request a grant for a bucket truck for tree clearing,

Rutland is taking the lead in requesting the state-funded regional Community Innovation Challenge grant.

Gary Kellaher, superintendent of the Rutland Department of Public Works, said the price of the bucket truck is $188,675, which would be "fully funded by the CIC grant,'' if it is approved.

"We applied last year and were not approved. We are excited about the possibility of Auburn joining us. We feel there is strength in numbers.''

He said there is also strength in good grant writing, and he had help drafting the grant from Janet Pierce, business and regional services manager for the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission.

The CIC grants were begun in 2012 by Gov. Deval L. Patrick to "encourage and incentivize regionalization.'' The program has invested $6.25 million in 49 projects involving 197 communities.

Among these grants was one for $115,000 for storm-water management in 31 Central Massachusetts communities, including Auburn, Oxford, Webster, Charlton and Dudley.

Mr. Kellaher said his town alone spends as much as $9,000 per year on tree clearing, and a single call to a tree company can cost $1,000 per tree. He said the bucket truck "comes with training,'' and a regional forestry trailer equipped with a chipper is already available.

"This is a proactive rather than a reactive move,'' he said.

The plan is to have each of the six towns use the bucket truck for one month at a time, twice each year. In case of a tornado, blizzard or other natural disaster, town administrators would meet to "team together in an emergency.''
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Title Annotation:Weeklies
Author:Oleson, Ellie
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Nov 22, 2013
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