NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – The Northbridge Highway Department has on Thursday a new tool in its toolbox thanks to spring Town Meeting voters – a wood chipper.
A tropical storm and early nor’easter last fall emphasized the need for a wood chipper, the town said. With downed trees and brush blocking roads, department of public works Director James Shuris had to borrow a wood chipper from a neighboring community.
With the purchase, “we’ll be able to clean up the mess right there,’’ said highway department Superintendent Robert Van Meter. A wood chipper is an “essential tool,’’ and Shuris said he is grateful for citizen’s support.
Van Meter pointed out that the department was frugal with the purchase. Voters OK’d a $40,000 appropriation, but the cost of the chipper was just under $30,000. The department also saved time by using the state’s bid list rather than going out to bid separately.
It was purchased from Norfolk Power Equipment and the device will chip logs up to 15 inches in diameter.
“We want to say thank you to the taxpayers,’’ Van Meter said, as he and his crew were given lessons on the safe use of the tool that can be towed to where it is needed.
Van Meter said the department of public works is always looking for ways to save money, and so far this year has saved the town between $40,000 and $50,000 by doing vehicle repairs in-house.
“Our guys are talented and resourceful,’’ he said, “and we can save a lot of money by not outsourcing.’’