Cavendish to fix sewer line during road repair project

CAVENDISH, Vt. – Sewer line repair, transfer station redesign, and property remediation were the key topics at the Cavendish Selectboard meeting Monday, May 10.

In addition to the ongoing Route 131 construction this summer, Cavendish will also be fixing a sagging 8-inch sewer line on Route 131 that stretches from just in front of Singleton’s General Store to just after the manhole cover at the top of Depot Street. This stretch, which sags about 6 inches, has caused yearly headaches as grease water builds up and then starts to back up, first into the Proctorsville Fire Station and then in other area homes and businesses.

Town Manager Brendan McNamara is coordinating with VTrans to time the project to coincide with the road repairs that will happen to that stretch of road, likely from mid-July into August. The project is expected to cost approximately $230,000, but McNamara is refining those costs with several pieces that might be “value engineered” with town crew help. He also hopes to use some of the expected American Rescue Plan federal funds, over $400,000 expected, that may be used with water, wastewater, or broadband purposes.

Meanwhile, the current Route 131 reconstruction and paving project is continuing with recent rains causing washboard conditions and potholes that VTrans has tried to address when possible but has often fallen short since they can’t run a grader over rain filled potholes. The extensive stretch of road being worked on has also had the town office hearing about long wait times and multiple stops. Work in the Proctorsville Village area will begin after school is out for the summer. Residents can direct their questions or concerns to McNamara.

The board also asked what would be happening with the green plastic mesh material that has been stretched along the roadway along Route 131, placed there last year to help secure the hillside. According to McNamara, the plan had been for VTrans to see how vegetation looked in the spring. Recent rains, however, brought rushing water to those roadsides with no vegetation in sight. McNamara will be discussing the issue with VTrans and update the board.

Full completion of the project is expected by Oct. 11 although VTrans is hoping to be done sooner.

The American Rescue fund guidelines are still being worked out in the Legislature so the date for release to the towns is still up in the air. In addition to the sagging pipe project, McNamara hopes to have several shovel-ready projects ready to go including pump station upgrades.

He also expressed that he would want to include projects that would reach those people who are not tied into town water and hopes the Legislature will expand the spending guidelines.

The Cavendish Transfer Station will likely be undergoing design changes in the coming months as the town tries to revamp the flow through the facility. The goal is to have better control over what is going in and out; make sure users have the proper stickers and tickets; pay properly for disposing of demo debris or other refuse; and crack down on people coming in from other towns.

Changes might include a drive through attendant station where residents would stop, show their sticker, and present their tickets, then be directed to the proper area, based on use. McNamara will begin by working with a transfer site efficiency expert who will provide an analysis and recommendation for the town.

The board has agreed to allow McNamara to step in to remediate a Cavendish Gulf Road property that has been cited for health violations including outstanding trash, rodent infestation, and more recently, a cracked drainage pipe that has washed out the driveway as well as potentially compromising the road itself. McNamara has been trying to work with Guardian Asset Management, who holds the property, and has continued to skirt McNamara’s requests for action since December.

Citing lack of faith in Guardian to take immediate action, McNamara will step in immediately, put a lien against the bank, and have the driveway repaired so trucks can get in and begin trash removal and rodent control measures, and have it “done right and properly.” He believes they will be able to recoup their money through the lien process, an emergency order, or when the property is sold.

The board members were all in agreement, with board member Stephen Plunkard adding, “It been too long already, and I think we should do something right away, just in respect to the neighbors.”

The board approved Julia Gignoux as their recommendation for the Green Mountain Unified School Board as the Cavendish representative to fill the one remaining seat. Both Mark Huntley and Gignoux had submitted letters of interest. The board expressed praise for either candidate. Denise Reilly Hughes, who had indicated an interest, withdrew her application prior to this meeting. The GMUSD will make the final decision however.

At the recent town tax sale, four of the seven properties paid the delinquent taxes before going to sale. Of the remaining three, two properties were sold. One remaining property, identified only as the “Moore” property, had no clear records and only an old deed to go by. Next step for the town is to explore how to remedy the property, which was “significantly impacted by Irene.”

The next Cavendish Selectboard meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 14 at 6:30 p.m.

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