Town of Halifax, Vermont
October 22, 2012

This special meeting was held at the behest of SVE Associates, as a pre-construction kick-off meeting, starting at bridge #34 on Deer Park Road at its intersection with Green River Road.  The meeting started at 2:00 pm.  Selectboard members in attendance were Earl Holtz, Lewis Sumner, and Edee Edwards.  Peter Boemig of SVE Associates (bridge engineering firm) led the discussion.  Also in attendance were Jim Hollar and Bill Labadie of Cold River (the construction firm awarded the contract), Todd Menees of the Agency of Natural Resources, Brad Rafus of the Halifax Highway Department, Christina Moore, Irene financial project management, and Frank Maltese (member of the public).

Introductions were made.  In addition to the people here, Peter Boemig noted Steve Tarbox of SVE had done the bridge engineering, and that Thad Betts would be the on-site engineer from SVE.

The schedule for the project is that the work must be substantially complete by 8/31/2013, and project completion (including roadsides back to green condition) not later than 9/30/2013.  One- way traffic will be allowed on Green River Road for 60 days, but two-way traffic will be maintained from 11/1/2012 to 4/1/2013.

Applications for payment are to made on a specific form (EJCDC-620), available from SVE.  Permit conditions are in the Supplementary conditions portion of the contract.

SVE requested a Progress Schedule from Cold River, written, by the end of the week.  Schedule of submittals (shop drawing) from Cold River to SVE were outlined, including design of deck; concrete design, and aggregate materials for testing.

Erosion control and handling flow during construction were discussed.  As an extended permit had been granted by ANR for in-stream work, Todd Menees was present.  He requested that the permits be on hand in the construction vehicles.  The town also discussed posting this on the town website.  A discussion about managing water behind the dams was held.  It was determined this could be pumped through a culvert to the other side of Green River Road.

Traffic control was also discussed.  Brad Rafus is concerned about plowing.  Work on the Green River Road abutment will be happening first.  Cold River plans to have this done by Thanksgiving.  A hemlock tree at the east side of the small detour likely needs to come down for safer traffic flow and plowing.  The property owner has been generally agreeable with trees being removed in the right-of-way, but would like timber for building.  The town will assist with the tree removal.

Finally, testing of backfill materials and concrete will be farmed out by SVE, who needs to hire someone for that work.

At this point, a few small conversations continued in various site locations.  Of note was the fact that the steel beams from the old bridge had been removed from the site already.  Federal regulations require that no profit be made on these beams; the town had been planning to reuse them.  The meeting was set to continue with SVE and the Selectboard back in the Town Office.

The meeting reconvened at 2:58 pm in the Town Office, with Christina Moore, Brad Rafus, Frank Maltese, the 3 Selectboard members, and Peter Boemig.

The Selectboard asked for a walk-through of the items on a cost estimate for construction engineer services.  Boemig noted that this was an estimate, and the actual work will be billed on Time and Materials basis.  So far for the Reed Hill Bridge, which is largely complete, SVE has invoiced us for approximately $12,000.  Reed Hill Bridge project had almost no issues during construction, which Boemig noted was a positive, but unusual for a large construction project.

Edwards thanked Boemig for that overview.  She noted that we had been having difficulty getting the documentation on the work that FEMA requires.  Christina Moore confirmed this concern.  She has not gotten any of the photographs and other electronic information to submit to FEMA for reimbursement.  Boemig said that he was not aware there was an issue.

Moore and Frank Maltese had prepared an overview of a position / role known as “Clerk of the Works” which offers oversight to a construction project.  Maltese had played this role during bridge construction in town many years ago.

Boemig said that the town of Brattleboro shares this essential function by making use of someone within their Department of Public Works.  An advantage to the town to use their firm for this entire role is that there is one person who is responsible, and one liability for any issues.

Edwards stated that she felt as long as SVE Associates could improve in the documentation to the town, she would prefer to keep them in that role, rather than create another position or essentially have to bid this work out as a sub-contract.  While Maltese and Moore may be qualified to do this, there may also be others in town with an interest in that sort of role.  Meanwhile, work should continue on the bridge.

Boemig said that he would check to ensure SVE sends the documentation immediately.  Moore expressed concern that all of the file names and emails are coming in with the same labels.  She needs clearer, unique labels, tied to the specific FEMA project PW-0971.  Boemig stated that to re-label things outside of their internal naming conventions would take more time, but they would do that.  Edwards suggested Boemig’s should prepare a new estimate which would include such wording such as suggested by Moore, to allow some accountability for this matter.  In the meantime, SVE will continue in a Time & Materials manner, and resubmit an estimate.

The Selectboard agreed to take up this matter again at their November 1st meeting (meeting replacing that of November 6th, which is election day).

Reed Hill Bridge

On Reed Hill Bridge, a discussion was held about the progress there.  Blacktopping is supposed to be happening on Thursday.  The bridge might be done at the end of the week or early next week.

A discussion about extending the paving to cover an additional 50-75 feet of pavement to avoid extra seams in the roadway, and to cover a culvert that had been replaced, was held.  Holtz made a motion to extend the paving on Reed Hill an additional 50-75 feet and bill that separately to the Town of Halifax Highway budget.  Edwards seconded the motion, which passed 3-0.

Construction Debris (Deer Park Bridge)

A further discussion was held regarding the I-beams.  It was stated that construction debris similarly could not be sold.  Some of this is going to private citizens since the town is presently not in need of fill on any projects.  Brad Rafus keeps a list of citizens interested in fill; and he determines how that is distributed based on the distance for trucking.

Regarding project timing, it is possible that Cold River will try to heat the deck and work through winter.

Free Truck

Another discussion was held regarding a free military-style truck offered by the town of Roxbury.  Roxbury had gotten it as a donation during Irene, but no longer wants it.  Brad Rafus has expressed interest in the truck, and was told Halifax was the first to respond.  He had test-driven it.  Holtz had responded with Halifax’s interest as well.

The vehicle does not go more than 35 mph and doesn’t have a plow, but it would be useful to help as a lighter-weight vehicle to rake the roads in mud season.  It has low mileage.  It would need to be trucked down here, and the town would need to cover insurance, and obviously, fuel and repairs.

Sumner made a motion to accept the free truck from Roxbury and have it trucked to the town.  Edwards seconded it, and the motion passed 3-0.

VTA Cell Service Grant Update

Holtz updated the Selectboard on the Vermont Telecommunications Agency’s visit for possible cell service, with associated WiFi zone, and the needs for equipment siting.

First, they looked at the town garage, and discussed putting the photovoltaic (PV) backup panels possibly on the roof, which would push us towards resolving the roof issue.  The battery backup pack is 10 ft x 10 ft, and would need to go on a slab in the back.  It is several hundred pounds.  They also might need another telephone pole there for the transmitter.

The VTA was more excited about the prospects at the Town Office.  Holtz noted potential issues with the school. As they are using the microcell technology, there may not be the same objections as other municipalities in our region have heard.

Edwards inquired if the grant was funded.  Holtz replied not yet, but it is moving in the right direction.  The set-up is 250 watts, the PV array is managed using net metering, which could bring in credits toward electric bills.  It is a 4 panel array, with 1 KW.

Rafus noted that the Town Garage generator is too small for the building.  It is 15 kVA, whereas the school generator 80 kVA.

Holtz will follow up with the School board to notify them of grant possibilities and the interest in this as a site.

Moore noted that she would not be at the November 20th meeting as this is the date the Rescue Inc employees will be voting on possible changes to the bylaws which might preclude any town representation on the Board of Directors.

The meeting adjourned at 4:53 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Edee Edwards, Selectboard Vice Chair