Two-town work crew to be explored

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — The Town of Naples has a part-time maintenance person who performs odd jobs from emptying the trash to replacing missing or damaged road signs.

Still, on a year-round basis, items on the “to do” list require more hours to finish than the amount of time the maintenance person is on the clock. In other words, there is enough work to justify a full-time position, according to Naples Town Manager Ephrem Paraschak.

Also, some of the tasks require two people. When the maintenance job at hand requires a strong back or an extra set of hands, typically the recreation director or another staff member assists.

Wouldn’t two people be better suited for the job? Paraschak thinks so.

He has pitched the idea of a two-person full-time maintenance crew shared by the towns of Naples and Casco. Paraschak talked about the concept during the Naples Board of Selectmen meeting on Feb. 23. He said he had already discussed with Casco Town Manager Dave Morton the idea of exploring a shared maintenance department. He said that Morton was open to the possibility. The board gave Paraschak the okay to send Casco’s town manager a letter along with the draft proposal.

Morton was not available for comment earlier this week.

The towns of Casco and Naples already share the problem of running into fix-its, routine upkeep, and improvement projects that take up staff time or require hiring a contractor, which costs money, Paraschak said.

Paraschak clarified that this is not a public works department. The proposed maintenance crew would not plow snow nor would the town purchase any heavy equipment, he said.

Duties of a maintenance department would include “painting a room, getting ice jams off the roof, cleaning leaves from a culvert, putting up a sign, and shoveling snow from sidewalks,” he said.

“Right now, there is a lot of little stuff that is not getting done,” he said.

Paraschak’s draft proposal estimates that the cost of two employees would be approximately $100,000, which includes insurance and benefits and unemployment insurance payments. Other details such as fairly splitting hours spent in each town were also addressed in his proposal.

The Naples board supported sending the proposal to Morton to present to the Casco Board of Selectmen.

“I don’t think it would hurt,” Selectman Kevin Rogers said.

Vice Chairman Caron agreed. “Just to get the ball rolling and get their thoughts,” he said.

Earlier in the discussion, Caron favored the idea for its long-term savings. “It would eliminate hiring contractors; and, it would save money in the long run. It would cost us less (to hire employee) than hiring contractors,” Caron said.

The creation of a two-person maintenance department shared by the neighboring towns can only happen if the cost is placed in the budget and approved by voters at town meetings.

Paraschak cited the Casco-Naples Transfer Site and Bulky Waste Facility as an example of how neighboring towns can together share a public service and the expenses associated with that service.

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