Town of Halifax, Vermont

May 24, 2012

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 2:00 pm at the town office.  Board members in attendance were Lewis Sumner, Edee Edwards and Earl Holtz.  Others in attendance were Jessica Bruno, Joe Tamburrino, Christina Moore, Peter Boemig, Brad Rafus, Dana Danieli, Mike Henderson, and Bob Fisher.

SVE Bridge Design

Peter Boemig, CEO of SVE Associates, was present to discuss Reed Hill Bridge, Deer Park Bridge, and scheduling for advertising and bidding.

Deer Park Bridge

Boemig discussed the options for the Deer Park Bridge deck (steel versus concrete slab decking approx $1000 difference). Boemig also stated hat the plans called for an asphalt finish. Edwards noted that there was a wooden deck on there previously and Holtz inquired whether the change from wood to concrete would be an issue with FEMA. Boemig replied that he did not believe the change from wood to concrete would raise any issue, but the asphalt finish might.

Edwards inquired whether they could get a cost break if they put two concrete decks out to bid together. Boemig replied that we could put them out to bid together, but the same contractor would not necessarily get both. Tamburrino noted that everyone wants the bridge to the post office in. If we were to wait for Deer Park bridge, there could be a big delay getting Reed Hill in. He didn’t think the same contractor would get all three bridges.

Cash flow was discussed.

Moore asked what the life span of a concrete deck versus a glue-laminated deck was. Beomig replied that the concrete deck lifespan is 50 years. Moore noted that we would have to replace the glue-laminated deck 4 times in that timeframe at about $30k per time.

The cost of the asphalt finish was discussed. It was noted the cost would be about $2000+ for 20 tons of asphalt.

Edwards made a motion to have SVE continue with the pre-cast concrete slab design for Deer Park Road bridge. Holtz seconded the motion, which carried 3-0.

Boemig will send a complete set of plans after they take care of a few details such as grading on the roadways, and access points. The culvert was discussed as it was over-capacity, and whether he should extend the project to include that. The 24” culvert should be replaced with a 36” culvert. They will advise Boemig after they meet with FEMA representatives later today.

Moore inquired whether the construction exceeds a one-acre footprint as it could affect the environmental regulatory aspects. Boemig replied that it did not exceed one acre.

Reed Hill Bridge

Boemig noted that they made a flatter grade for the road profile to blend everything in to what was there. He also noted that the east side still has the potential to flood with a 100-year storm. These two bridges will pass a 100 year storm without overtopping the deck.

Boemig noted that they are rip-rapping the bank which is not the town’s right of way. They will need the landowner’s approval to do this work and get a temporary or permanent easement. It was determined that two landowners may be involved.

Boemig expects to be ready to go to bid quickly on the Reed Hill bridge (2-3 weeks). Tamburrino inquired about state approval. Boemig replied that permitting-wise, the design is already approved through the CORA program. AOT doesn’t want to see it, but they should send a copy to Barry Calhoon as a courtesy. Moore noted that there are other permits they need as well. Danieli (from FEMA) noted that the Q-25 plus the one foot of freeboard would be exceeded in a bunch of designs which would cause FEMA to see it as an improved project. The funding would then be capped at the least cost alternative. Boemig did not believe this would be an issue for these projects.

Danieli noted that the town needs to get the preliminary permits. Then send the prints through to the State to be sure there is no scope change by FEMA and confirm what you are putting out to bid is correct. When you get your answer from the State, revise the plans as appropriate, and put it out to bid. When you get the bids back, put bid through as a scope change and a cost change.

Danieli also noted that regarding the Hale Road bridge, we should submit the plans as a scope change if we don’t hear anything to the contrary. If you can get an arch culvert cheaper than a box culvert meeting the Q-25 plus 1 foot of freeboard, you are ok. If there are other physical constraints and you have to use a box culvert, you have to identify it as the least cost alternative in your change of scope otherwise it will be seen as an improved project.

Moore asked Danieli about the Deer Park undersized culvert. Danieli replied that since the culverts were not damaged, FEMA can’t do anything even though a large portion of the road was lost. Danieli suggested we look at the 404 Program, and State grant structures for assistance. We can also talk to the FEMA long-term recovery representatives.

Time-frames were discussed:
-June 15, 2012 everything will be ready to go to bid.
-July 17, 2012 will be the target for the bid openings.
-Construction will start a few weeks after that.

Sumner made a motion to approve the design plan dated 5/16/12, with minor changes, for the Reed Hill Road bridge #33. Edwards seconded the motion, which carried 3-0.


Danieli reported that there are three PW’s outstanding. The reason they are not obligated yet is because the reimbursement structure changed from 75% to 90%. He would assume we should get them obligated by the end of next week. Moore believes this is about $140k of total project costs. The State calculation is not clear. It was noted that Green River Road is still under congressional review. Moore contacted the Congressman’s office, but they said they could not do anything to accelerate the process. No problems are anticipated.

Danieli advised that the Weir Road PW is in their case management file (EMMIE case management file), but nothing will be done with it until the State determines it is a town road.

Moore updated the Selectboard on the following issues:
-Moore gave Tiffany Fortier (Agency of Transportation) all of the project books with the receipts except Green River Road.
-A couple of small receipts for the Deer Park temporary bridge were given to Tiffany (about $50k). The other bridge work receipts were too small to submit at this point.
-The State should be cutting a check this week for Brook Rd, Collins Rd, Stowe Mountain Rd, and the Deer Park temporary bridge.
-We should be receiving $1.4 to $2 million in the next couple of weeks.

Everyone thanked the FEMA representatives for all of their work.

Danieli noted that the Brattleboro office will be closed most likely sometime in June. They are averaging completion of 120 grants per week. Tiffany Fortier is our best contact when they leave. Tim Barnett is another contact.

Moore reported that she and Dow are hosting a team of auditors from the State of VT on June 11, 2012. It will be a work session to be sure they go through the closeout audit well. The auditors have provided a list of documents they would like to see. The State wants to be sure the towns are in a good position come audit time.

Danieli noted that many towns have expressed they would like more FEMA training. The State is working on putting something together. It will be open to everyone.

Moore noted that all of the documentation (except for the immediate current work) is in the vault. Green River Road, the bridges, and Volume 2 of the originals are not in the vault yet.

Edwards will meet with Patty Dow to get updates on cash flow.

Moore reported that FEMA went through NEPA which is a process involving a checklist. The smaller and more focused the project, the less environmental burden is on you. FEMA did this checklist for us and put that information in the conditions statements. We do not have to re-do that effort. The tasks FEMA identified as conditions are a result of going through that NEPA process. Because the projects are less than 1 acre in footprint, the burden is less. We still have to get a permit from the Corps, we have to prove we are complying with Clean Water Act including taking photographs etc. The environmental process is different than the State permitting process. We have a good roadmap of the steps required in the FEMA conditions.

Meeting with Attorney Bob Fisher

Weir Road Bridge

The Selectboard gave town attorney Bob Fisher a summary of what has been going on with the State regarding Weir Rd and Sumner Farmhouse Rd. The town has requested Weir Rd and Sumner Farmhouse Rd to be added to the mileage certificate. Jonathan Croft had also researched the highway certificates and found the requests to add mileage for these roads. However, the State claims that they had sent a request for follow up which was never received. Edwards presented the evidence the town has to support their position that these are public roads. The issue is that if the State recognizes these as public roads, then FEMA will pay for the Weir Road bridge. The evidence presented were a map noting the roads as provisional, various other maps noting them as roads (not lanes which are private), a receipt for expenses paid to maintain the bridge in 1996 out of bridge fund expense for that time period, a plaque with the Selectboard members names which matches the plaque on the Sumner Farmhouse bridge with the year of installation, affidavits from the road commissioners, etc.

Fisher explained that there are two ways to say that a road is a town road:

1-     Go through the laying out process, give notice, have survey, hold hearings as you would when you reclassify a road.

2-      A road can be public by dedication and acceptance (based on Springfield vs. Newton case law). If there is an implied dedication to public use, and the town has maintained it over the years, then it can be deemed a public road. You can file a declaratory judgment in court, but who do we serve (VTrans?). We may want to go to VTrans again before we take that action.

Fisher will draw up a memorandum to the town laying out the requirements to prove dedication and acceptance, as well as reference material on the case law. Fisher will also draft a letter to VTrans. He will also contact Mrs. Wineburg to see if she has any additional documentation.

Reed Hill Bridge

Fisher advised they should get an easement for the wing wall, as well as an easement for the fortification of rip-rap. He will need the grand list information and a copy of the deed for the easements. He suggested contacting the landowners by phone first to let them know what is going on, show them the plan, and ask if they are in agreement. As the landowners are out of town, Sumner will attempt to contact them by phone. If he is unable to make contact, Bruno will draft letters to them.

Other Business

Rafus reported that he was contacted by Mark Pickering regarding the Old County North Bridge. When we get the information on the cost of the construction (decking, rails, approaches etc), we will need to forward this to Mr. Pickering. We may get approved for a structures grant.

Rafus reported that we have received an equipment grant from VLCT for safety supplies. We were approved for two flammable storage containers and an oily rag container. The grant is for 50% of the cost, which is about $850.

Edwards suggested the town develop a maintenance plan for the bridges that have deficiencies.

Rafus asked Bruno to post a note on the town website stating that paving will begin Tuesday, May 29, 2012, expect delays. Edwards added that it is expected to take 10 days weather permitting.


The meeting was adjourned at 5:04 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Jessica Bruno

Selectboard Secretary