Town of Halifax, Vermont

September 20, 2012

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 1:32 PM at the Town Office, Halifax, VT.  Board members in attendance were Lewis Sumner, Edee Edwards and Earl Holtz.  Members of the public in attendance were Joe Tamburrino, Christina Moore, Margo Avakian, and briefly, Bill Moore.

Pennel Hill Road Beaver Issue

Earl Holtz noted that he had heard a concern about a month ago pertaining to how the Road Crew was handling an issue of a beaver plugging a culvert on Pennel Hill Road near the intersection with Macmillan.  He read the relevant section of VLCT’s Highway handbook on how to handle beaver issues which threaten roadways or public infrastructure. Edee Edwards noted that she had also heard about the problem, and noted that Brad Rafus had called her yesterday to confer, saying the water was over the road again there.  Rafus advised regular maintenance to unplug the culvert, and Edwards stated that the Selectboard must also take long-term action, so she said she’d put in on the agenda of this special meeting.  Rafus did unplug the culvert again.

Edwards noted this area was a wetland. She has seen devices that slow the sound of running water, to keep the beavers from feeling the urge to build dams.  She also noted that trapping and relocating the animal might be an option.

Edwards made a motion to that the Selectboard send a letter to the Department of Transportation and the Game Warden to request guidance on the best way to address the problem.   Holtz seconded the motion.  The motion passed 3-0.  Holtz agreed to draft the letter.

FEMA Improved Project Bridge Cost Estimates


For the Deer Park bridge in particular, the delay in getting additional cost estimates from SVE for the portions of the work considered “Improvements” was noted as being a problem. The low bidder, Cold River, would like for the contract to be awarded and to be able to start work, but starting construction before the Improvements are approved would jeopardize the FEMA funding. The Selectboard and Joe Tamburrino questioned the necessity of getting additional cost estimates, when we have the FEMA PW cost estimate for replacement in kind, an earlier written estimate of the cost variance for a concrete bridge deck from SVE, and the actual bids for the bridge as designed to all of our specifications.  Holtz suggested taking a percentage of the final bid cost components for the deck that is proportional to the additional length required by ANR.

Moore explained that another town’s PW cost was reduced by FEMA, so FEMA’s estimates are not set in stone.  Our Deer Park and Hale bridge original FEMA estimate were done without the benefit of soil borings, and Deer Park may not have been done with adherence to codes and standards replacement factors like the bridge width code requirements.  So we need that interim estimate, as well as a more formal costing effort for the concrete decking option.  For example, she pointed out the SVE’s mid-August cost variance included a Glu-Lam deck instead of a Nail-Lam deck, which is what the old deck was.  For the final estimate, the bidder’s price can indeed be considered a “reasonable” estimate of the bridge-with-2-improvements final cost.

Moore suggested that we contact the low bidders to see if they could do the additional cost estimates, since SVE’s response time is not ideal, and their costs may be high.  Moore thinks these estimates can be generated is a matter of hours, not days, of work.

Moore answered affirmatively that with these estimates in hand, we may be able to get a response from FEMA and the State to keep well within our 120-day bid award window.  She also confirmed that the Town has taken responsibility for the permitting, so if there were a chance to get a special permit extending the calendar deadline to work in the rivers with appropriate barricades, we would need to take action on that.  Moore agreed to begin that conversation with the permitting agencies, in case the weather holds and we get the improved project go-ahead.

Edee Edwards made a motion to direct Christina Moore and Joe Tamburrino to contact the bridge low bidders to request pricing for them to do the alternate bridge cost estimates per FEMA’s need for Improved Projects.  Earl Holtz seconded it.  The motion carried 3-0.

Other Business / Hearing of Visitors

Christina Moore requested clarification on what the town was requesting her to do with the Repeater bids (garnered to give additional radio coverage per our Vermont Emergency Management Radiological Emergency Response Plan (RERP) grant).  Tamburrino stated that she should work with Justin Berry to review the bids against the request for quote.  If there are variations, or if the RFQ overlooked important details, they should create a grid that will help the Selectboard come to a decision or put it out for rebid.  Edee Edwards noted that Moore’s work should be billed separately, as this is different grant funding than for her FEMA role.

Edwards requested Moore give the Selectboard an updated estimate for expected FEMA reimbursement of Town Highway Department labor, gravel, and equipment rental during Irene.  The estimate Edwards had cited at the last town meeting was possibly only for Green River Road project.

The Selectboard discussed Patty Dow’s request that we re-write the orders from Tuesday night, as they had many cross-outs and insertions.  The Selectboard felt that was a reasonable request, and briefly discussed ways to streamline the process of doing orders.  Sumner agreed to do the rewrite, and Edwards said she could sign it later in the day.

Lewis Sumner stated that he’d realized we hadn’t requested mowing of the town landfill, as we were directed to do in the spring.  He had seen the contractor mowing doing the roadsides in Halifax, and requested that he also mow at the landfill.   It should only take an hour or two. Edwards and Holtz agreed that was a good idea, and the cost should be billed separately.

This led to a brief discussion of the ongoing difficulty in getting the Lane construction paving costs properly broken out.  Moore reviewed the invoice, and said that she did see problems with the level of detail.  She agreed to contact Lane, since she knows what the FEMA breakdowns should be.

The meeting adjourned at 2:38 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Edee Edwards,

Selectboard Vice Chair