Bike rack funding approved

BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – Bellows Falls Community Bike Project representatives Bonnie Anderson and Hannah Regier have asked the Rockingham Selectboard to approve road markings and bike racks around the village.

Selectboard member Ann DiBernardo asked if this project gave any bike safety classes, and mentioned a concern about bicyclists not riding in single file.

Anderson stated that they do not formally provide such training, but do education informally.

Villager Margery Ladd noted that the Westminster Center School does have two-week courses on bike safety.

Resident Deborah Wright said that she felt cyclists should have to have some certification before the town takes action to mark the roads.

Anderson said that the markings on the road were to share the road, not to create a bike lane. Anderson also said that Matt Mann from Windham Regional will be assisting with a grant application for bike racks if there are enough interested towns.

According to the Community Bike Project, racks positioned near downtown businesses are an important part of increasing use of bicycle transportation.

Selectboard Chair Lamont Barnett suggested that Municipal Manager Chip Stearns and Highway Superintendent Mike Hindes review the road markings and signage, and that the issue be brought up at the next meeting.

A motion to approve the grant application through Windham Regional Commission for bike rack funding and authorize the municipal manager to sign on behalf of the town passed unanimously.

In his report, Stearns said that a letter was sent on behalf of the town and village congratulating the Bellows Falls (Age) 10 and under baseball team for their recent state championship.

The Windham Regional Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on July 27 at 6:30 p.m. in the town hall lower theater to receive comments on the new town plan.

Ralph Meima from the Green Lantern Group gave a presentation on a

Ski Bowl Road solar array that will be placed on private property in Rockingham.

Several issues with the project were discussed, including the probability of widening the road, logging and timber removal, water runoff and power lines.

Meima thanked the board and will return when necessary.

Stearns discussed the use of the balance of the settlement funds from the Library Reconstruction Project.

Stearns said that the balance due in the Library Fund is $111,955, with attorney costs of $86,890 to be taken from this amount.

This would leave a balance of $25,065 owed to the town general fund from the library’s cash reserves.

Stearns recommended that the board request this amount from the library and authorize the chair to sign the letter.

A motion passed unanimously that the Rockingham Selectboard apply $86,890 to the library cash deficit, and that the Rockingham Free Public Library Trustees agree to reimburse the town the balance of the deficit from the library renovation, in the amount of $25,065.

Barnett stated that assistance to low to moderate income home buyers is a Selectboard goal and asked that the board authorize him to open a dialogue with Vermont Housing Finance Agency, to develop a program to assist first-time home buyers with a down payment. A motion that the board authorize the selectboard chair to begin a conversation with the Vermont Housing Finance Agency to develop a plan for the Town of Rockingham passed unanimously.

Stearns said that the portion of Cherry Hill from School Street to the top of the hill is requiring constant cold patching throughout the winter. He said that the concrete swale on the east side of the street could be eliminated to widen the road and the road reconstructed, and recommended awarding this to Bazin Brothers.

A motion passed unanimously that the Rockingham Selectboard authorize the manager to sign a contract with Bazin Brothers for reclaiming and paving a portion of Cherry Hill.

Stearns said that the center of Brockways Mills Road has sunk and it is necessary to restore the crown that was present in the road prior to Tropical Storm Irene. A motion was passed unanimously that the Rockingham Selectboard authorize the municipal manager to sign a contract with EME Management Inc./Springfield Paving, for the shimming of Brockways Mills Road.

Stearns said that a section of Parker Hill Road was damaged this last winter and has been reconstructed. However, all of Parker Hill Road, the first section of Brockways Mills Road, and sections of Route 121 are in need of chip sealing.

The Rockingham Selectboard authorized the municipal manager to sign a contract with All States Asphalt Inc. for chip sealing of Parker Hill Road, the first section of Brockways Mills Road, and spot sections of Route 121 for $3.50 per square yard.

Stearns said that NICOM Coatings had submitted a quote for crack filling on Route 121.

The Rockingham Selectboard voted unanimously to allow the manager to sign a contract with NICOM Coatings to do the work.

Villager Deborah Wright chastised the board, saying that she believed this was a violation of state statute and the board should not be voting on items that were not on the agenda.

No action was taken on her complaint.

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