Town garage roof a continuing headache
by Margo Avakian
Sep 05, 2013 | 1893 views | 0 0 comments | 71 71 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HALIFAX- The Halifax town garage roof leaks. It has leaked since not long after it was built, and it is nowhere near old enough for such problems to be expected. Several selectboards have tried to fix the problem; efforts at repair have failed, and the current board has accepted the necessity of constructing a new roof. But it is not proving easy to do that either.

Part of the problem is that no one is sure why the roof leaks. Highway supervisor Bradley Rafus has asked contractors to evaluate the problem, but no one would take the time to do that unless the evaluation was part of a bid process. So the town put the job, along with the job of building a salt shed, out for bid. On Tuesday night, the board opened the only bid submitted. All Roofing Inc. quoted a price of $41,500 for the roof and $9,450 for the salt shed. The board had budgeted a total of $34,900 for the two jobs. No one was happy. With only one bid, asked board chair Edee Edwards, “How can we know whether this is a good price?”

Rafus told the board that he asked about simply sealing the existing roof (again), and was told, “It would need to be done every two to three years.”

John LaFlamme had questions about the proposed design, which would place a new metal roof on top of the old metal roof. LaFlamme wondered if condensation would prove to be a problem, and he suggested a possible alternative - a 2-inch insulated panel covered by a rubber roof. LaFlamme noted that such a fix would not only serve to protect the town’s massive investment in its road equipment, but would also offset the loss of energy efficiency caused by the increasingly rain-saturated insulation. The board tasked Rafus with asking the vendor about condensation.

No decision was taken on the bid, but the board is aware they will need to settle on a solution soon.

LaFlamme and Ross Barnett, the town’s co-emergency management directors, presented the fiscal year 2015 requests for the Radiological Emergency Response Program grant. LaFlamme told the board that they are requesting only standard items, for a total of $31,500. But he went on to say that in light of the recently announced closing of Vermont Yankee, “We’ll be lucky to get the full year’s amount.” The board voted to approve the request.

A vacancy on the planning and zoning boards remains unfilled, but a few people have expressed some interest in serving. The board hopes to fill the position at their next meeting. Appointing a new tree warden will also have to wait, but board member and interim tree warden Earl Holtz will meet with some interested candidates to discuss the responsibilities of the office.

Board secretary and broadband committee member Jessica Bruno reported on a Business Broadband Improvement Districts grant. Bruno told the board that no funds are being awarded at this time, but the town has been asked to identify areas where there are three or more businesses, allowing an assessment of needs and possibilities. Holtz listed several locations that could fit that bill. Names and contact information for those businesses will be submitted. The only other broadband news was Holtz’s report that VTel plans to delay putting up its tower in Halifax Center until the second half of 2014. Holtz said the reason for the delay is not clear to him; the VTel rep mentioned some delay in funding from the state. The last mile of the wireless project is federally funded.

Discussion continues on the proposal to rationalize the salaries and hours of the road crew. Holtz has done an analysis of data from similar towns dating from 2006. His calculations were based on yearly gross pay, as the aim is to adjust overtime hours without cutting income. Holtz recommended waiting until March to make the change, after the heavy overtime season is past, to make the adjustment a bit easier for the crew. Rafus suggested that the change might be better made now. Holtz will recalculate on a quarterly basis to get a better estimate of how pay might fluctuate through the year. Discussion will resume at the first October board meeting.

A review of the recently instituted second, fourth, and fifth Monday highway order meetings resulted in a decision to continue them, but to change the time from 1 pm to 8 am. The midday time proved to be inconvenient for everyone.

While no one was delighted by all the extra meetings, the advantages of being able to deal with bills in a timely manner and of having regularly scheduled times to deal with miscellaneous matters were clear to all.

Rafus told the board that he has three quotes so far for a new air compressor; he has not made a decision. He also reported “a transmission issue” with one of the town’s trucks. A new transmission would cost $2,500, Rafus said. A rebuild would cost $1,700 if all the work is done outside, but having crew mechanic Keith Stone do some of the work could save $600 to $700. The board directed Rafus to pursue that option.

In other business, the board voted to sign and send a letter appealing FEMA’s denial of the extra length required for the Deer Park Road bridge.

The treasurer’s report for the last quarter of FY13 was accepted with no further questions.
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