First Selectman Pat Llodra's eyes light up and a smile forms as she readies herself to talk about a bulldozer the town recently bought to raze the dirt mounds at an Oakview Road lot.
She readily admits the story is one she has recounted more than a couple of times, and with a sense of admiration for the bulldozer – which is a smaller version of the fullsize ones typically seen at construction projects.
"I have been telling anyone who will listen that it is a David and Goliath story," Llodra told the Board of Education during a meeting this week.
A day earlier, she recounted a similar story to the Board of Selectman, which was in addition to several private conversations she has had with others about the equipment and its role in flattening the mounds.
"It really is a marvel of this little machine," Llodra said. "It is a good piece of equipment."
Over the past week or so, the small bulldozer has been used to regrade the mounds of fill at the Oakview lot left over from the expansion project. Over the years, the , which resulted in complaints by real estate agents who said it detracted from Newtown's good looks. Children looking for something to climb also were frequently drawn to the mounds.
The first selectman's obvious delight with the bulldozer is part childhood memory and part recent memory, Llodra said.
On the one hand, the size of the bulldozer reminds her of the tractors she used to – as an 11-year-old – drive in her family's farm in South Hadley, MA.
"That's exactly the size of the tractor," Llodra said.
In fact, the memory is so strong that she admitted slipping up in her recounting of the bulldozer story to the education board by calling it a tractor at one point.
On the other hand, the purchase of the bulldozer drums up more recent memories of last year's budget season when she had to justify the town's proposed purchase of the $50,000 piece of used equipment.
At the time, Llodra argued the bulldozer purchase, which was charged to the parks and recreation department but available for use by public works, would be more economical than leasing as the town faces several projects that require use of the equipment. Everytime the town leases use of a bulldozer, the costs add to $20,000, officials have said.
In light of those arguments, Llodra said the work now proved to her the bulldozer was worth fighting for, an analogy that she shared with the education board, she said, to demonstrate what it takes to get programs and services approved.
"It took me three years to get that into the budget," Llodra said. "It's the willingness to be persistent."
In addition to the bulldozer is a bucket truck and other equipment used to help carve the large mounds into more manageable piles. The bulldozer then goes to regrade the smaller piles.