The board also opened bids for a town repeater system; the three bids ranged from a little over $4,000 to a little under $9,000. The bids will be reviewed by Christina Moore and co-EMD Justin Berry.
Review of bid packages is not a mere formality, as the decision on the purchase of a snow plow demonstrates. The bids for the plow were opened at the last regular meeting and then reviewed by highway supervisor Bradley Rafus. Although the lower bid was presented by Auto Mall, the award went to Briggs. Rafus explained that the type of plow blade offered in the Briggs bid will wear better. Also, Briggs has the better inventory of spare parts and can offer prompt, ultra-local service in emergencies. The price difference between the two bids did not, in Rafus’ or the board’s opinions, justify forgoing those advantages.
Purchasing agent Joseph Tamburrino reported that Cold River Bridges, the firm chosen to build the Deer Park Road bridge, wants to start work right away. But the town cannot officially award the contract before both FEMA and the state have approved it. This is because the Deer Park bridge must be an “improved project” in order to meet state ANR standards. The town’s legal position appears to be secure, but the contractors are unhappy, and the town isn’t interested in dragging the project out. Among other considerations, the town is committed to returning the temporary bridge to the state as soon as possible. Tamburrino recommended that the board consider forgoing a new analysis of what an unimproved “replacement” bridge would cost. The purpose of that analysis would be to shrink the difference between what FEMA will pay for and what the state requires. The board appeared to lean toward agreeing with Tamburrino that the amount of money that might be saved is not worth excessive further delay; should the town have to go with a higher bidding contractor, the putative saving would be swallowed up by increased costs. The board expects to meet to make a final decision soon.
Treasurer Patricia Dow reported that the town has received enough in reimbursements to pay off the $1.1 million-plus borrowed against the line of credit established to enable post-Irene reconstruction. The board voted to make the payment. This means the full amount of the line of credit will be available if required for upcoming construction.
John Angil, of Vermont Emergency Management, attended the meeting and answered various questions from the board. Angil said that the state would support town decisions on where to locate its emergency operations center. He also agreed with board member Edee Edwards that “less scripted” drills for emergency personnel might better prepare them for real-life conditions.
In other business, the board discussed budget and billing issues with constable Len Derby. It appears that the town’s first and second constables are not in frequent communication. Derby did not know what services second constable Roy Richardson had billed for. Apparently some of those services were billed for the previous fiscal year, for which the constable’s budget was spent. Board members made it clear that invoices from either constable must be itemized and that services cannot be paid for out of funds that have already been disbursed. Derby said he would talk to Richardson.
Speaking as animal control officer, Derby reported that there are still a number of unlicensed dogs in town. Derby has been attempting to persuade the owners to comply; he wants to avoid confiscating dogs if he can. Board members were disturbed by possible liability issues, as well as by the possible consequences of failing to enforce laws and ordinances. Derby was encouraged to move more firmly on the issue.