County helping towns on long-term road maintenance planning

10 towns participating in LCRPC RSMS-16 initiative
Fri, 06/03/2022 - 10:00am

    Ten Lincoln County towns are participating in a strategic project geared toward enhanced long-term road maintenance planning. As part of Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission’s 2022 strategic project, it offered to buy a GIS (geographic information system) subscription from Maine Department of Transportation. The software is designed to inventory local municipal roads and create either a short- or long-term maintenance plan. The program is called the RSMS-16 (road surface and sign management) Initiative. 

    The 10 participating towns are Boothbay Harbor, Wiscasset, Alna, Westport Island, Damariscotta, Newcastle, Nobleboro, Somerville, Waldoboro and Whitefield.

    County Planner Emily Rabbe updated commissioners June 1 on the initiative’s progress. The commission bought a $200 RSMS-16 subscription from MDOT’s Local Road Center. The software allows municipalities to catalog all their roads and identify road distresses such as “pot holes and alligator tracks.” Rabbi reported the program would make both short- and long-term road maintenance planning easier and more economical. “The (M)DOT has found this makes it easier for understanding  and planning local road systems,” she said. “Towns can create one, two or 10-year plans. This can be helpful during budget times by showing residents data at town meeting.” 

    On May 19 and 23, the commission held workshops for the 10 participating towns. Road committees, road commissioners and public works departments were shown how to use the manual and record data. “They were also sent out on fieldwork to practice inventorying road data. Another workshop will be held in September to show them how to create maintenance plans,” Rabbe said. 

    In other business, commissioners approved a purchase order for six computers and a docking station totaling $8,571.49. County Administrator Carrie Kipfer reported the purchase was part of the county’s replacement schedule. With transportation costs soaring, commissioners decided to reimburse employee travel using the federal rate instead of the state’s. Kipfer reported the federal rate is 58.5 cents per mile. The state rate is increasing from 44 to 45 cents this year. She told commissioners employee travel was less in recent years due to COVID-19. So Kipfer used pre-pandemic mileage figures to estimate potential increased reimbursement costs. “There is still a lot of Zoom meetings, but if you compare employee travel to 2019 figures, it’s likely to cost approximately $3,300 more,” she said. 

    The commissioners entered into two executive sessions. One discussed personnel. Communications Director Tara Doe was invited. The second pertained to a discussion of real property. Commissioners didn’t take any action following the two sessions. 

    Commissioners meet next at 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 14 in the courthouse.