Town renews line of credit to continue Irene-related reconstruction
by Margo Avakian
Nov 29, 2012 | 2389 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HALIFAX- After hearing a financial report from treasurer Patricia Dow, the selectboard voted to renew the line of credit that has enabled the town to pay for Irene-related recovery projects. The town must pay up front, and is later reimbursed by FEMA and the state.

Dow told the board that a payment of $55,000 on the current balance would be made on November 21. One thousand dollars of the total is interest, and the remaining $54,000 pays down the principal.

The new loan will roll over the remaining balance and will also add $990,000. That sum, Dow said, will cover paving and construction costs of the Deer Park Road bridge.

Project manager Christina Moore suggested that the town “drag our feet on closeout” of the recovery projects in order to be able to include audit costs among reimbursable expenses.

Board member Edee Edwards asked whether delaying closeout will cost the town more in interest than it could save on audit costs. Moore was unsure. The board held off on a decision pending a review of the figures. Moore reported that the state has given approval for the town to do a program-specific audit, rather than the more costly full audit.

On another matter, Dow asked the board to consider dropping the Brattleboro Reformer as one of its newspapers of record. Dow told board members that the Reformer has double billed, misapplied some checks, and has sometimes failed to print notices. “It costs us more money to use them in my labor to reconcile their bills than the service is worth.”

Edwards said she is reluctant to give up the only daily used by the town, even if it is not reliable and is frustrating to work with. No decision was taken.

Moore told the board that concrete would be poured at the Deer Park bridge site the following day. Weather will determine when the abutments will be done, but no one, she added, should expect to see the deck put on before winter.

Vandalism at the construction site was discussed by Moore, board chair Lewis Sumner, and highway supervisor Bradley Rafus. One of the incidents was probably well-intentioned, Moore said. Someone turned off a generator, apparently thinking that power was being wasted to keep lights going at night. But the principal function of the generator was to run pumps that kept the work area dry. Turning it off resulted in a flooded work area and $500 worth of equipment damage. In another incident, someone broke into an excavator.

Sumner said a number of “road closed” signs had been moved to block off the temporary bridge at Stage Road, and Deer Park Road. The incident was reported to him by a resident who took the long detour home when returning from work in the early hours of the morning. Rafus said it was clear that more than one person was responsible for the nasty prank.

Several other instances of theft and vandalism have occurred in that area, Rafus added. Moore said the state police, when called regarding the incidents at the bridge site, had suggested letting the matter go. The board, however, voted to send the local commander a formal letter reporting the problem.

Work on the Hale Road bridge should begin soon. The board will send Renaud Brothers a notice to proceed as soon as the ANR permit is in hand. Moore said she expects the permit “after the holiday.”

In other business, the board voted to renew the current health insurance coverage for the town’s employees and directed Rafus to check on why the state thinks a bridge on Josh Road has not been posted in accordance with its directions. The bridge was posted for a weight limit of 6,000 pounds last summer, as requested by the state.

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