Board secretary Jessica Bruno, who also serves on the broadband committee, reported that the committee is looking to shift its focus to economic development strategies and implementation. Bruno listed website development seminars and education for local businesses on how best to utilize the Internet as possible projects.
“I think this is a beautiful idea,” enthused board chair Edee Edwards. Edwards urged the committee members to set to work on its expanded agenda immediately, noting that SEVEDS is looking for project ideas and wants to see proposals by August 19. Edwards suggested some non-Internet-related ideas as well, including using the Community Hall for a winter farmers’ market, or fitting the building up as an exercise facility. She reminded committee members that Laura Sibilia of SEVEDS has offered assistance in preparing proposals. Edwards also asked the committee to “immediately start calling local businesses to find out why they are not listing their services on the town website.” The board voted to approve the expanded mandate for the committee.
Board and broadband member Earl Holtz reported that VTel has agreed with a local property owner on a site for its tower, but probably will not be able to provide wireless service to the town until sometime in 2014.
The board next voted to direct Dow and the town auditors to prepare a request for bids on a full financial audit for fiscal year 2013. Federal regulations require the full-scale audit, rather than the limited project audit done last year, because the town received disaster aid funding from more than one federal agency during FY2013.
Quarterly priorities for the board were up next. Most are carry-overs from the last quarter, with the remaining Irene recovery work, repair of the town garage roof, the Old County Road north bridge design, and completion of the Hale Road Bridge heading the list. Evaluation of hours and pay for the highway crew and guardrails for two of the town’s other bridges were added. Those guardrails must be put in place by December, according to John Alexander of VTrans, Edwards said. A decision on how to proceed with the guard rails was tabled at the last meeting, since the only bid submitted quoted a price far in excess of the board’s expectations. Highway supervisor Bradley Rafus told the board that Mike Renaud, whose firm is doing the Hale Road bridge, “has some different ideas” on the rails and is willing to examine the sites. Renaud Bros. did not submit a bid earlier.
Co-emergency management directors John LaFlamme and Ross Barnett submitted lengthy written quarterly reports to the board. Updating the radiological emergency response plan was added to the EMDs’ list of priorities for the next quarter, along with investigating DSL capability for the operations center. Edwards told the EMDs that she is anxious to have a test of the reverse 911 system in order to determine if “the data – the list of phone numbers – is even close to valid.” LaFlamme told the board that he and Barnett applied for training on the system last March; they must be certified in order to use the system. Currently, he said, “We have to go through Vermont Emergency Management to activate the system.” Board member Lewis Sumner noted that there has been no response to his call, at the last Town Meeting, for people to report their cell phone or unlisted numbers for inclusion in the 911 list. Holtz suggested enclosing that request in upcoming tax bills.
Constable Len Derby reported that some break-ins have taken place in the Pennel Hill/McMillan roads area. The crimes are being investigated by the state police. Derby also reported an incident of vandalism elsewhere in town; that incident involved minors, and has been satisfactorily resolved.
Rafus told the board he expects paving on Green River Road to begin around the second week of August. The section originally scheduled for paving will cost less than the amount contained in the state highway grant, Rafus said. Given that the town must pay 20% of the cost, Rafus suggested that increasing the area to be paved would allow the town to utilize the full amount of the grant. Given that highway grants are awarded on a rotating basis, the board decided to take advantage of the funding now available and voted to expand the project to include sections of the road designated by Rafus.
Holtz and Sumner reported that the culvert is in place at the Hale Road bridge site, and work is proceeding apace. As well, the town is ready to submit the final paperwork for the Deer Park Bridge. Discussion of the Old County Road north bridge was tabled until the second of the new Monday afternoon regular meetings.
As for the perpetually leaking roof at the town garage, Rafus told the board that no contractor he has approached is willing to put time into evaluating the job unless it is done as part of the bidding process. The board had hoped to determine the scope of the work needed before sending out a request for bids, but bowed to necessity and voted to have Rafus prepare a carefully worded RFP.
In other business the board agreed to add school board liaison to its list of divided responsibilities. Edwards will on take that task.