Irene-damaged bridges getting repaired
by Margo Avakian
Sep 06, 2012 | 647 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HALIFAX- The town has been reimbursed for repairs to the Weir Road bridge, and work on the Reed Hill bridge is underway, so it’s on to the Deer Park Road bridge.

The selectboard opened six bids for construction of that bridge at Tuesday’s meeting. Bids ranged from $452,526.55 to $745,325.75, with most coming in between $500,000 and $600,000. Purchasing officer Joseph Tamburrino will have the design engineers, SVE, review the bid packages and make a recommendation to the board.

Tamburrino had news of his own; he formally submitted his resignation as purchasing officer, effective October 1. The position was created as part of the town’s response to the massive task of repairing its Irene-devastated infrastructure.

Tamburrino told the board that he does not believe that the town needs a purchasing officer under normal conditions, saying that “the town is just too small.” He assured the board that he will remain available for consultation as needed.

In other Irene-related business, project manager Christina Moore explained why it is a good idea to have SVE do a careful analysis of what a Deer Park Road bridge built to the standard FEMA will pay for would cost, even though such a bridge would not meet Vermont ANR requirements and so could not be built. Moore believes a good case can be made that FEMA’s own estimate for the smaller bridge is low.  Shrinking the gap between an accepted cost for the smaller bridge and the cost of a permittable bridge could save the town substantial money. 

Also, the cost of the SVE analysis will be reimbursable.

The town will, in any case, bear the cost of a concrete deck (vs. a wooden one) for the Deer Park bridge. Edee Edwards made it clear that the board opted for a concrete deck on the basis of life-cycle cost analysis, not from a desire to build a “Cadillac” rural bridge.

About $500,000 in paving costs are still outstanding, Moore said.  Lane Construction has submitted a bill for the total, but has not broken it down project by project, as requested. The breakdown is required for the FEMA reimbursement process. Without project-by-project invoices, the paperwork cannot be submitted, and no money will be forthcoming. Lane will submit the needed invoices.

The board also opened two bids for a snowplow for the town’s one ton truck. Auto Mall submitted the lower bid, $3,389, and got the nod, contingent on approval of the bid specs by highway supervisor Bradley Rafus.

Moore, speaking this time as head of the Halifax EMS, thanked the board for hiring the state police to assist during a recent bike race. Moore said that police presence at a dangerous intersection helped slow riders to a safer pace. Their participation was also helpful in dealing with the two injuries that occurred within Halifax town limits.

Moore told the board that she has asked the organizers of the annual race to meet with the service providers of the towns along its route next winter in order to develop a proper “event plan” before the next race. Additionally, she requested that the organizers contribute to the costs borne by the service providers. As there were 1,000 riders involved, each of whom paid $100 to participate, Moore said that it seems both reasonable and possible for the organizers to help lessen the financial impact of the event on the towns.

Edwards brought up the question of whether the board should be expanded to five members, or alternatively, if the town should look into creating an administrative support position.

The past year has made it clear that the responsibilities of the unsupported three-member volunteer board can interfere substantially with their private and 

professional lives. Sentiment among the attending residents seemed to favor the option of expanding the board. Edwards said she would research what should go into a Town Meeting article proposing the expansion. No changes will be made without voter approval.

In other business, the board voted to apply for a municipal planning grant and to allow the planning commission to consult with town attorney Robert Fisher on a point of subdivision law relevant to a current application.
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