Weston board acts to fix Town Office flood issue Cemetery maples, emerald ash borer, bid process discussed

The Weston Select Board discusses two minor projects on town owned buildings.

By Bruce Frauman
©2019 Telegraph Publishing LLC

At its meeting on July 23, the Weston Select Board agreed to fund two minor projects in town-owned buildings. It then spent the rest of the meeting on updates, discussions and comments.

One project will provide up to $1,000 for the proper hookups to accommodate a generator for the Little School, which occupies the Annex Building next to the Town Office Building. Select Board Administrative Assistant Cheryl Barker said that the Little School will pay for a generator but wanted the town to pay for the electrical hookup equipment and cables. The board agreed.

For the second project, with only one bid received, the board voted to accept Northern Basement Systems’ bid of $4,027  to install two sump pumps and related equipment in the basement of the Town Office Building. Linville said the bid includes equipment to prevent the water from freezing in the winter and would send the water to the lawn facing the West River. The basement flooded during the area-wide rain storms and snow melt of April 15.

The board agreed to let Barker obtain bids to find the cost to paint the outside of the new window frame in the board meeting room and stain the interior, which is still bare wood. Barker said there is a primer on the outside of the window frame.

Cemetery trees, dam removal, bid procedures

Board chair Dennis Benson said he was concerned that “three or four 6- or 7-foot tall maple (trees) have been planted” at the Maple Grove Cemetery. He said maple trees drop branches and break headstones and the root systems can move the headstones. Board member Charles Goodwin said it sounds like it was the Cemetery Commission that approved the tree planting. Board member Jim Linville said he would talk to the chair of the Cemetery Commission to ask about the planting.

Annie Fuji’i addresses the upcoming dam removal and further resiliency work.

Select Board member Annie Fuji’i, who also chairs the Cold Spring Brook Memorial Park Task Force,  said the start date for the removal of the lower dam on the West River will be Monday, Aug. 12, with all work to be completed by the end of September. Protesting Benson’s characterization of the associated work as “cosmetic,” Fuji’i said it includes riparian boundary plantings, “moving the stream, flood mitigation, ecosystems restoration and removing a hazard.”

Fuji’i added that the type and size of plants to be planted for flood mitigation and erosion prevention need to be approved by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Environmental Conservation. Over the past couple of years, the Community Association has been working with DuBois & King engineers of Springfield to determine how best to deal with the damaged dam.

Board member Jim Linville said he had sent a letter to Green Mountain Power asking for more details about its plans for mitigating potential problems with the emerald ash borer beetle. He said GMP is planning to spend about $1.2 million per year on EAB mitigation. Fuji’i said the state must also have plans to deal with ash trees lining the state highways.

Weston resident Donald Hart said that the tree warden for Londonderry has requested that a reserve fund be started for removal of trees infected by beetles because  a reserve fund can be rolled over from year to year. He said he would like to have Weston consider a similar reserve fund.

Board chair Denis Benson said he asked Road Foreman Almon Crandall for bid amounts for sand for the August meeting. Barker said the request for bids have been sent out.

Board chair Denis Benson questions why maples were planted in a town cemetery.

The board ended its meeting with a discussion about bid procedures and standards. Barker said she asked the Vermont League of Cities and Towns whether a bid policy was required, but did not give the VLCT response because no members of the board asked.

Linville said the bid policy is included in the purchasing policy. When bids are requested, Benson said Barker “pushes a button and they all (potential bidders) get  it.” He said the goal is to save money on advertising.

Fuji’i said she would like to see a more detailed Request for Proposals form. Donald Hart agreed, saying the RFP for the sump pump was a “joke in the community” because “it was lacking” details on what the project required.

Linville said the cost of an engineering firm to write a spec might be half of what the project costs, at least as it relates to sump pumps. Even after Goodwin called to table the discussion, Fuji’i said more detailed RFPs would allow the town to compare “apples and apples.” Downer was the only no vote on the move to table the RFP discussion because he wanted to agree with Fuji’i.

Emergency communications training, FEMA visit

Bruce Frauman, chair of the Mighty Londonderry Community Resilience Organization, said a training will be held at the Twitchell Building, 100 School St. in South Londonderry, to increase communication between those who set up Emergency Operations Centers and first responders. The training will be held from 5 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 31 and Thursday, Aug. 1.

Barker said that representatives from FEMA will be in town at 9 a.m. Monday, Aug. 19 to look at at least two sites damaged from recent flooding. Benson suggested that FEMA also be shown Boynton Road for possible mitigation efforts.

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