Monroe residents voiced their support for the town’s budget despite a few unanticipated changes, including the town’s terminating its winter road maintenance contract early.

Of the 59 articles up for debate during the meeting, few warranted much discussion, with the exception of expenditures for road maintenance and construction. One of the larger expenditures for the fiscal year 2013 municipal budget is for the winter road maintenance line item, which totals $214,000.

Selectman Jacki Robbins said the town bids out a three-year contract for winter road maintenance, but due to some issues with previous service, the town terminated its contract with the most recent bidder one year early. Robbins said she hoped the bid the town receives will come in less than the requested amount and the contract will have to be approved by residents at a future meeting.

When asked what occurred that warranted terminating the contract early, the Selectmen declined to comment specifically, Selectman Holly Emerson offered only a brief explanation.

“The contract was breached and let’s just leave it at that,” she said.

The town will open bidding for the winter road maintenance contract in July.

While discussing road maintenance, concerns about the number of mailboxes being destroyed by plow trucks were voiced by several residents who questioned whether the town could do anything to hold the plowing contractor responsible.

Selectman Suzanne Hall said a clause regarding mailboxes isn’t included in the contract because there is an easement along the road. She said the board is exploring options for including a section that addresses the same mailboxes being destroyed multiple times in the same location.

Robbins noted it is also illegal for anyone to install a mailbox structure that is too sturdy and won’t break if struck by a plow.

“We don’t want anybody to get hurt,” she said.

Residents also approved a combined $175,000 funding request for road maintenance and road construction. The selectmen said the road maintenance would cover general work such as paving and ditch work. Robbins said the town is also looking at creating a new five-year plan for roadwork, as the previous plan’s work was completed within a four-year period.

Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or bholbrook@courierpublicationsllc.com.