LUDLOW, Vt. – During the Jan. 9 meeting the Ludlow Selectboard reviewed the three bids received in response to the request for proposal (RFP) for a new skatepark to be built in Dorsey Park. The already formed skatepark committee informed the meeting, led by board member Justin Hyjek. The town has raised about $235,000 for this cause over the years, with $15,000 having already been spent on demolition of the pre-existing park, and $190,000 coming soon in a grant the board anticipates receiving. The previous park was about 7000 square feet. The board is hoping to rebuild the park in two phases, with a larger more complete first phase, and a less extensive second phase later.
The lowest bid came in about $75,000 lower than the other two, which were much closer. Standard construction put a bid in for $160,000 and Parker Construction and Grindline Skateparks put bids of $235,000 and $235,700, respectively. Municipal manager Scott Murphy and other members of the board mentioned that all three companies are highly recommended.
Discussion centered around the large difference in price of the bids. It was explained that due to the creative nature of the project there was no exact square footage or budget listed on the RFP. The bids put in all featured different designs of the park at different sizes. This made the bids more difficult to compare than the usual apples to apples proposals sent in, there is usually not as many differences in the bids other than price. Standard construction and Parker construction each had representatives talk to the board over Zoom during the meeting. Standard Construction explained that their $160,000 bid was for a 3,000 square foot design, but that with the towns $220,000 budget for the skate park, standard could build around a 4,800 square foot design. The board agreed in general that the goal is to get the best park they can for what is payed.
Bruce Schmidt brought up the idea of deferring the decision to the skatepark committee and recreation department so the best choice can be made. Murphy confirmed the board could do so if they deemed it in the town’s best interest, but he was worried it could affect the $190,000 grant they are expecting to receive for the park. The board agreed to wait on any decisions until February’s meeting when Murphy can find out how deferring the decision would affect the grant.
An RHR Smith Auditor was supposed to be at the meeting to review the FY2022 audit. This was moved to February’s agenda.
The $219,000 bank note that the town had requested for two highway trucks has not been delivered. Murphy asked the board to accept the note now and when it does come in he will alert the board and they can all come and sign. Bruce Schmidt mentioned it was not usually done this way. A motion was made to accept on the condition all members later sign the note, it was accepted.
The board discussed the FY2024 budget review and moved to approve it with an increase in 3.9% in taxes to be raised. The board expressed that they could not get the budget any lower due to increased costs and inflation. The budget was accepted.
Murphy mentioned the rearranging of some articles for the town meeting. There was a discussion on article 11 allowing town meeting reports to be delivered online. Some members were in favor, others were not. It was decided it would be brought up to the public at the meeting.
The town had received another opioid settlement check, this one for $9,868.98.
Murphy mentioned that the towns 2022 Property Valuation and Review Equalization Results showed that the PVR is down to .87%, and at .85% the town has to do a full reappraisal. Two thirds of the state have already been required to do a full appraisal. Ryan Silvestri of the Listers Department said the largest problem was the town’s inability to track the value that interior improvements add to a property. Logan Nicoll of the State Legislature said the state is well aware of the problem currently.
The meeting adjourned at 7:14 p.m. The next meeting will be on Feb. 6 at 6 p.m.