B y Derek Liebig

The Hampton Town Board is putting some money aside for a rainy day.

The board voted last week to take $15,000 from its appropriated fund balance and redirect it into a capital reserve fund for the purpose of replacing equipment.

Although the transfer received the unanimous support of the board, it did trigger a debate about just how much money should be allocated for the replacement of equipment.

The town had an additional $19,730 in its appropriated balance that wasn’t budgeted and Supervisor Dave O’Brien suggested that some of that money should be set aside to replace the town’s highway equipment.

But transferring the money to the capital reserve fund essentially makes it untouchable for other purposes, such as equipment repairs or unanticipated expenses.

Councilman Don Sady said that was a concern, especially in light of the discovery that one of the town’s trucks needs new brakes, a job that highway superintendent Herb Sady said could cost as much as $2,000 to $3,000 if town employees were unable to do it themselves.

“I want to make sure we have enough money to do what we need to do,” he said. “If it’s not there we have the ability to spread it out as we need to. Once we move it, we can’t touch it.”

O’Brien said he was willing to go along with any amount the board deemed appropriate, but cautioned the town needed to be disciplined setting aside money for replacing equipment.

He said the town last aside money – $20,000 – in the capital reserve fund last February, but nothing was included in this year’s budget.

“We can’t let the equipment reserve fund be a lost child,” O’Brien said. “I don’t want to have to borrow money when we need something.”

He said the town has $85,000 in its capital reserve fund.

The age of the town’s highway equipment has been a concern among town officials for the past couple of years.

The town’s trucks are 15 and 18 years old and former highway superintendent Frank Baker said last week that the 18-year old truck is more likely to outlast the newer truck.

The cost of a used replacement truck is between $85,000 and $150,000, depending on its age and make, Sady said.

After transferring the money into the capital reserve fund, the board transferred $4,730 into the town’s general repair fund.

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