Rockingham Selectboard discusses Hyde Street drainage

BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – On Tuesday, Dec. 3, the Rockingham Selectboard discussed the upcoming budget and the Hyde Street drainage improvement project. Director of Public Works Everett Hammond recommended a Better Roads grant application for $60,000 and presented details for construction at a cost of $180,000.

The project scope included replacement of the 200-foot pipe, 200 feet of road gravel, granite curbing, and new pavement from the Bellows Falls Area Senior Center’s driveway to the Hyde Hill Brook inlet.

Hammond’s intent was to use the grant in addition to $120,000 from the Highway Reserve Fund leaving it at $443,000. Gaetano Putignano said he could “foresee other emergencies” where the town would need the money.

Stefan Golec wondered about the project if the grant was not received, and Hammond said both curbing and paving would be eliminated. He explained that the project would then only include replacement of the worst sections of the pipe and patching of the road.

Hammond admitted he had not received pictures yet of the culvert, but said,“The pipe is rotting.”

Putignano questioned why it was not on the recent project list and wanted it to be budgeted and scheduled. Susan Hammond suggested they apply for the grant. Chair Peter Golec agreed and said they could figure out details depending on whether or not the grant was received. Putignano said the grant was fine, but he did not support spending reserve funds.

Municipal Manager Wendy Harrison suggested Hammond push the water quality improvement aspect of the project to better receive the grant. The Selectboard voted to sign the grant application.

Finance Director Shannon Burbela reviewed the budget and suggested ideas for increasing revenue at both the recycling center and refinancing the fire truck for lower payments over the next five years.

Putignano mentioned that the town should compare rates with other town recycling centers. Burbela explained that there were many volunteers and newly hired staff, which had made things more difficult. Putignano wanted to be on the committee that Burbela had suggested to both streamline and enforce policy.

Putignano suggested cutting mailings and printed materials at the meetings and questioned the need for line items that the property manager could perform. He urged the board, “We have to reduce the budget.”

The next Selectboard meeting is Dec. 17 at 6 p.m., and their discussion will include budget, overtime, health insurance, listers, and finance agreements.

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