Sunday, August 3, 2014


Last week, Unitil began the project to bring natural gas to the MTM Center and Campus Commons. On Thursday the horror show began. Unitil dug up Route 196 on the School Street side. Once they completed their work they filled in the trench to about 4 to 6 inches from the top. According to the contract, the town is responsible for preparing the trench for paving and then paving.

Thursday night Unitil finished their part of the contract but the town failed to prepare the trench for paving . Instead of doing anything, the trench was left open with a 4 to 6 inch gap from the paving. No signs were put up and there was no warning to drivers of a safety hazard.

Several residents reported the safety hazard to the Lisbon Communication Center and finally at approximately 08:30 PM Thursday night a member of Public Works filled in the trench with dirt but did not pave the area. The following day nothing was done to correct the problem and the dirt again left the trench. As a result of no warning to drivers being posted, once again, residents reported the trench to the Lisbon Communication Center and Public Works personnel came and filled in the trench at approximately 6:00 PM Friday night with more dirt but no paving. Saturday morning at approximately 09:00 AM the trench was again filled in with dirt but this time Public Works personnel paved the trench and posted warning signs. I understand this was a direct result of Councilor Bickford directing Button Beale to handle the situation.

If you remember correctly, Button Beale was the previous Public Works Director and under him there were never situations like this. Ryan Leighton was appointed Public Works Director and issued a town owned vehicle in case of emergencies. As I understand it, Ryan Leighton was nowhere to be found but he has the town owned vehicle with him. Why didn’t Mr. Leighton ensure that this situation was properly taken care of before he left on Thursday night? Taxpayers are paying Mr. Leighton over $70,000.00 so that this does not happen. Several vehicles traveled over this trench and bottomed out; I was one of them. Mr. Leighton has no managerial skills or this would never have occurred. In my opinion, Mr. Leighton is a prime example of fraud, waste and abuse in the town of Lisbon.

Another question that has to be asked and answered is where were the police during all of this? Tell me again, why residents have to report this situation on a major access road. This is Route 196 and not a back road but the police did not recognize the safety hazard and the damage it was causing to vehicles. The Police Department cost the taxpayers over $1,300,000.00 and what is the return on investment? Apparently, the taxpayers are not getting their money’s worth from the Police Department.

I have included some pictures of the trench filled in and paved. I also included the signed that was put up there on Saturday morning.

Larry Fillmore

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