Some of the items on the warrant for town meeting in Friendship seem familiar.

Again this year, residents will decide whether to approve purchasing a new or used snowplow truck for the town.

Town officials have said the need is very real. The town is down to two working snowplows and one or the other of them breaks down frequently.

Last March, townspeople rejected the snowplow purchase by a vote of 182 to 126. At the time, the proposal was to borrow up to $140,000 and pay $28,000 for the first annual payment.

This year the cost is up to $150,000 with $32,653 as the payment, and the price is unlikely to go down as time goes by.

A meeting was held last fall to ask the townspeople how they wanted to deal with snowplowing challenges, given that they had shot down the proposal for a snowplow. In October, townspeople voted again to shoot down buying a plow during a special town meeting at the Hahn Community Center.

It is important in this tough economy for public officials to do everything they can to keep taxes to a minimum, and it is true that local citizens are bracing for the fallout from cuts in state aid to schools and towns. Those cuts will have an impact on local property taxes.

It is also true that many local towns have done an admirable job of holding the line on municipal spending. School costs make up the lion’s share of property tax bills.

It’s time for the townspeople of Friendship to approve this snowplow truck. The alternative is the potential loss of the most basic of town services. Clearing town roads during snowstorms is an imperative safety issue.

Many towns do put aside funds each year to build up accounts for big purchases down the road. This practice saves those communities interest. Friendship should pursue that path for future big ticket items.

In a pure, town meeting form of democracy, the people have to come to the meetings ready to serve not only their own interests, but also those of the larger community. The citizens are the government.

Know the issues

March is the biggest town meeting season in Maine. Many of our local communities will hold elections for town leaders and will gather at town meetings to decide the municipal business.

It is not merely the right, but the duty of citizens in a democracy to do their part to participate. Be sure to vote this year in local elections and take the time to attend your town meeting.

We’re here as always to help educate on what the important issues will be this year. Take the time to learn about the decisions being made.