At a Duxbury Select Board meeting on Monday, May 10, select board members discussed a variety of road projects and considered a new employee cellphone plan.
CAMEL’S HUMP ROAD
Regarding a grant to repair Camel’s Hump Road, soon-to-depart town administrator Jonathan DeLaBruere had some bad news. “We were not awarded the grant,” said DeLaBruere.
Now, the board has to decide if it wants to apply for another grant or if it will put more money into the budget for the next fiscal year to address the Camel’s Hump Road repairs.
However, this project may be too big to tackle without a grant. “Part of the reason we didn’t get the grant was because it was only for $175,000 and it wouldn’t have covered it anyway,” said select board chair Mari Pratt.
The town estimated that repairing Camel’s Hump Road will cost between $300,000 and $400,000.
In terms of deciding on next steps, DeLaBruere suggested that the board take up the discussion at a later meeting. “This warrants further conversation among the select board,” said DeLaBruere.
One road the board disagreed about on Monday night was River Road. The road needs a makeover. Specifically, it needs to be repaved. This means the board must create a new paving schedule for the road, which requires that the board issue a Request for Proposals (RFP).
An RFP is a business document that provides details about a specific project and solicits bids from contractors who will help complete it. Without the RFP, the town cannot be sure how much the project will cost.
“We need to do it ASAP,” said Kevin Garcia, Duxbury resident and former select board chair. “As the season goes on, the prices are going to go up for that paving. Garcia urged the board to complete the RFP as soon as possible, in order to get the best possible price. Right now, the paving project is slated to start after July 1, 2021.
Board member Brian Robinson said the reason the board hasn’t issued an RFP yet is because it has been busy researching how much the paving would cost, since the board must decide how much of the road it wants to pave before it can send out the RFP.
Right now, about a mile of road needs to be paved. “You could have done a mile back in March,” said Garcia. “I would shoot for the whole 1.1 miles. If you can’t afford it, you can go back and negotiate.”
Pratt did not like Garcia’s do-it-all, do-it-now suggestion. “I don’t want to play that game,” said Pratt. “We want to know what the price is on these distances, then make a decision based on that. To me, that makes more sense than playing a guessing game of will we have enough. In general, we won’t be able to do 1.1 miles and we know that.”
The board is not only considering how much of the road it can afford to pave, but which parts of the road it will pave. “That’s another part of this is checking to see how much it would cost if we don’t go all the way from the bridge. If we could start 2/10 of a mile down the road, because that part of the road is in great shape,” said Pratt.
Select board member Jerry McMahan said he was working on a map of the road. “When I put the map together, I’ll have green for good condition, yellow for sketchy and red for really bad. But there is no green in that 1.1 miles,” said McMahan. “My thought was, to get the really, really bad stuff repaired. We might want to start 0.15 miles north of the Winooski Street bridge. That would extend our coverage to get more of the bad stuff taken care of. We could afford 0.75 miles.”
Again, Garcia disagreed with the board’s approach. “That’s not a good idea. You should start at the bridge, then go as far as you can go. You don’t want to have a short section of old pavement to a new section of new pavement. As a resident of Duxbury, I would rather have you start at the bridge and short circuit it on the far end, so you have brand new pavement from point A to point B,” said Garcia.
“However it’s done, we’re going to leave a lot of bad pavement,” said McMahan.
Finally, the board discussed purchasing a cellphone for the town road foreman. Currently, the town road foreman uses his own cellphone for work. Using his own phone for work has been a burden in terms of people reaching out to him when he is off the clock. Moreover, he would like a phone that he could simply give to someone else for a few days when he is out.
“He wants a cellphone,” said Pratt. “And he wants not just a flip phone, also a phone he can check email on.”
McMahan argued that getting the foreman a work phone would be the right thing to do. “When he’s doing town business, he should have a phone that the town owns,” said McMahan.
Board members noted that a phone plan can get expensive when data is not limited to texts and calls. “If he’s getting in on the email, all that data starts eating up,” said Pratt.
“Text and email does not use that much data,” said McMahan. “If he’s watching YouTube all day, that’s different.”
However, board members were willing to trust the road foreman to use the phone for the right purpose. “I think we can do it for less than $600 a year,” said McMahan.
“I’m in support of it,” said Robinson. “I will make a note to put it on the agenda for the next meeting.”