Cavendish Select Board approves “Firefighter Olympics”

CAVENDISH, Vt. – The Select Board held its annual organizational meeting and regular meeting at the town office, March 13, 2017. The meeting was congenial and the board covered a lot of ground in a timely fashion. Discussion was collaborative.

The annual meeting portion opened the session, during which incumbents, nominees and vacancies for town positions were presented for consideration. The board approved the entire list by voice vote.

As the first order of business, Vermont Journal was approved as “official newspaper of advertisement” for Cavendish.

Select Board meetings are still the second Monday of the month at 6:30 p.m.

Town officers were chosen as follows:

Select Board chairman, Bob Glidden; vice chairman, George Timko; clerk, Mike Ripley; town manager and collector of delinquent taxes, Brendan McNamara, each for a 1-year term; animal control for 1-year term, Jillian Flinn and Seth Perry; tree warden, Tim Calabrese; emergency management coordinator, Michael Ripley; health officer, Doris Eddy for 3-year term; town service officer, Brendan McNamara, 1-year term; regional planning commissioner, Etienne Ting for Roger Sheehan’s unexpired term, 4th of 5 year term; reg planning commission alternate, Bruce McEnaney to replace Steve Birge; Solid Waste District, Bruce McEnaney; Solid Waste District alternate, Brendan McNamara; selectman’s rep to the local planning commission, Mark Huntley; town planning commission, Etienne Ting, and Daniel Churchill; energy coordinator, Richard Svec; Greenup Committee chairperson, Daniel McNamara; budget committee, Daniel Churchill; rep to the regional transportation advisory committee, John Saydek for a 1 year term; alternate rep to the regional transportation advisory committee, Bruce McEnaney; water commissioners, Brendan McNamara for a 1-year term and Jerry Martell for a 3-year term.

Town reps to various local nonprofit organizations were all approved without objection.

Three posts which have been carried on the books since the town’s earliest days included fence viewer, George Briggs for a 1-yr term; inspector of lumber, shingles & wood, Wayne Gilchris; and weigher of coal, also Wayne Gilchris.

Regarding the town planning commission, it was moved, seconded and voted to reduce the number of commissioners to seven. Bruce McEnaney said the positions are hard to fill and the job can be done with seven to get a quorum.

The minutes for Feb. 13, 24, 28 approved

Denise Gebore of Body Works appeared to get the board’s blessing for a proposed “Firefighter Olympics” fundraiser for June 11 on the green, to include both firehouses of Proctorsville and Cavendish and Cavendish Elementary School. There will be various events for kids and a firefighter competition. No axes or fires, but such events as the “dummy drag,” she assured the board. She is getting donations lined up and has a binder from her insurance company. Her only reimbursements would be for t-shirts; all other proceeds will go to the fire departments. She does not plan any disturbance of the ground or damage to property. She was referred to the policy on the green that was passed last year. The board unanimously approved the project, subject to guidelines for the use of the green; final arrangements would be worked out as the time approached.

fire fighter
The Firefighter Olympics will benefit the firehouse. Photo courtesy of Cavendish Fire Department.

All requests for liquor license renewals passed: Glimmerstone Mansion, Brook Farm Vineyards, Table 19, Cavendish Pointe Hotel and Castle Hotel.

The status of the town garage was reviewed by Town Manager Brendan McNamara.

The garage was damaged by a fire that started with a short in the positive battery cable of a truck that frayed against the truck frame and the burn spread to the battery, which is located under the cabin floor. The only burned portion of the building occurred was where the asbestos had been removed at some point; the rest suffered smoke and water damage. The decision is whether to rebuild the garage or demolish it and build new. A major issue is the “substantial amount of asbestos,” whether to remove it or cover it. The town is gathering information from the insurance company and environmental cleanup specialists, to see what is allowed and the likely settlement. McNamara expects numbers will be available in the next 7-10 days.

ServPro submitted a bid for $147,000 to gut and clean the building. The insurance company has requested the separation of the demolition and cleaning options, which may result in less expense overall.

McEnaney has added up the value of lost equipment to $10,000. He said the town has gotten immediate replacement for the crew trailer and appliances in the break room. The town has $1 million in asbestos removal coverage in addition to fire and contents coverage, he said. A cost-benefit discussion ensued. Brendan explained that there are numerous related problems with cleanup such as oily and hazardous debris that may mean it’s not worth saving the building.

“Is it worth putting good money into an old building?” the board asked. “We would never put the building back the way it is now,” McEnaney said – it isn’t big enough, the floor drains have been disconnected per order of the state, and a sprinkler system must be installed. The slab would have to be completely reworked with oil separation system.

McNamara: we are able to gather bids to compare with ServPro’s estimate. Waiting on an asbestos removal expert’s report; the company says asbestos removal costs $79/sq.ft. “plus two days of setup for an hour and a half of work.”

McNamara will send the members a spreadsheet that itemizes the comparative figures. He anticipates “a variety of thoughts and opinions” on the best course of action once all the facts and figures are available. “It will be a slow process … the goal is to do it right,” he said.

The crew will have input. McNamara plans to consult first with the firefighters for their preferences. The board expressed admiration and gratitude for the “good-natured” attitude of the firefighters, given the huge inconvenience to their operations.

The session is viewable online at


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