Cavendish board talks infrastructure Paving, sewer and internet projects on the horizon

By Julia Purdy
© 2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Monday night’s Cavendish Select Board meeting opened with citizens’ input from Margo Caulfield, who gave a quick overview on the slow progress of high-speed internet installation. TDS Telecom, Caulfield said, has said that there was a delay in the Comcast rewiring project due to confusion regarding net neutrality.

She recommended that Cavendish become a business broadband district. The USDA Rural Development Rural Utilities program has received $6 million for rural broadband, she said. The state surveyed communities and found that while residents expressed a preference for fiber, they don’t want to pay extra to get it. She asked that TDS be invited to the May Select Board meeting to explain time frames and details.

An action by VELCO in conjunction with the XTerra/Ranger Solar farm may complicate town plans to repave the entire length of Quent Phelen Road this summer. VELCO had requested a waiver of the 45-day waiting period, required by the state Public Utilities Commission, to receive its certificate of public good for work on transformers at its existing substation. Work will involve cables running under Quent Phelen Road. Project Manager Dan Poulin of VELCO explained the project. Ranger Solar has received its certificate of public good and now VELCO needs to do the same.

Board member George Timko questioned the need for the waiver and whether the town could waive a PUC requirement. Poulin explained that towns may officially opt out of the waiting period. XTerra wants to be “fully operational” in October and the waiver would expedite XTerra’s schedule.

Poulin added that the new transformers will be shorter, less visible and quiet, compared to the current ones. He said all work will occur within the VELCO site and will be paid for by XTerra. The board approved the waiver.

Sale of town property and paving projects

Town Manager Brendan McNamara Telegraph file photo

Town Manager Brendan McNamara reported on the upcoming sale of the town-owned house at 723 Main St. near Twenty-Mile Stream Road in Proctorsville. He emphasized that this is not a tax sale, as the town holds a tax collector’s deed on it. The sale must still be warned and noticed. McNamara noted that the town is “into it for about $65,000” including fees and maintenance costs, and that receipts are limited to amounts owed. He said the house and barn are “packed” and come with the sale, as the town is not entitled to dispose of personal property.

The town attorney will handle the sale. McNamara added his request to have the town attorney administer all sales in the future, citing possible contentiousness and stress that can arise, and that the documents must be correct. He said that the late Richard Svec used to handle all the details but in talking to other towns, McNamara said they turn their sales over to town counsel. There would be no extra cost to the town.

As part of the VTrans paving project on Route 131, scheduled for 2021, McNamara reviewed the town’s responsibility to provide for an existing sewer line that lies on top of a box culvert that will be replaced as part of the project. The cost to the town will be $8,700 to move the sewer line and put it back, and will include engineering fees. The project will require closing Route 131 for three days, and the town needs to plan for emergency access during that time, McNamara said.

McNamara also reviewed the two major road paving projects coming up on Quent Phelen and Twenty-Mile Stream, calling them “two of the worst roads in town” and “quite possibly failed” in places. Quent Phelen will be repaved in its entirety, and approximately 4,500 linear feet of Twenty-Mile Stream, segments of which will be either reclaimed or “shimmed” – potholes filled and leveled with asphalt. The estimate received from Bazin Bros. is $238,238.65, he said. The state offers a $175,000 paving grant and the town has $75,000 to $80,000 in its paving fund.

Assistant Town Manager Bruce McEnaney advised using the state paving grants for complete repavings that will last the next five years and suggested asking Ranger Solar for $50,000 to offset damage incurred by heavy trucks traveling on Quent Phelen Road. He commented that Ranger has a reputation for prompt repair.

In brief items, the board voted to approve a first class liquor license for Neal’s Restaurant and to appoint McNamara take over Richard Svec’s duties as energy coordinator and to serve as assistant town health officer for Doris Eddy. McNamara said he is “pleased” to serve in Svec’s place, and looks forward to the health officer training session coming up in Randolph. He will accompany Doris Eddy or stand in for her on site visits.

McNamara reviewed a three-month pilot plan to open the transfer station on Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with continuation to depend on traffic. The board consensus was positive. A start date of May 5 or 6 was suggested. George Timko also proposed selling tickets at the station, citing many advantages for users. McNamara said he would explore the idea.  Caulfield chimed in with the idea of selling tickets through the town website.

Two town pride items presented

McNamara announced that the memorial to Richard Svec will be dedicated at the Proctorsville Town Green from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 16.

Caulfield presented a letter asking Select Board permission to hang American flags from village utility poles in an effort to slow traffic and attract more attention to the village district. The letter, submitted by Julia Gignoux, Carolyn Solzhenitsyn, Martha Mott and Rolfe Van Schenk, was entered into the record. Bruce McEnaney will work on getting permission from Green Mountain Power and Ludlow Electric to use the poles.

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