Rockingham Selectboard discusses concerns over Hetty Green Motel property

BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – The Rockingham Selectboard met Tuesday, Feb. 5 to discuss the highway departments fiscal year 2018 paving and sidewalk projects overages as well as a health order for the former Hetty Green Motel to secure and protect the building from trespassers.

Everett Hammond, director of Public Works, detailed last fall’s paving project completed by Bazin Brothers Construction. Although the project was postponed due to heavy rainfall, Hammond highlighted the diligence and “phenomenal job” done by Bazin Brothers. He told the Selectboard that the project surpassed the budget by $50,000.

Gaetano Putignano said, “We never would have funded sidewalks if we were told we didn’t have [the money].”

Stefan Golec commented that the funds the Selectboard had set aside for sidewalks for numerous years had never been utilized. He added, “That is why we decided to hire someone.”

Hammond mentioned part of the increase was due to the raise in asphalt cost and that he would recommend the asphalt pricing index for future paving project bids.

Peter Golec mentioned the rainy day fund, saving the town of Rockingham from borrowing money during Hurricane Irene. He said, “I’d hate to steal from [it] and then when we need [the funds], we don’t have them.”

Municipal Manager Wendy Harrison said the deficit should not have to come out of the fund balance and added, “I think we’ll find other savings.”

Health Officer Chuck Wise requested the Selectboard sign a health order to board up entry of the former Hetty Green Motel.

Steve Ankuda, Litigation and Appeals lawyer, suggested moving the estate to probate court. Ankuda explained the first step of the process is naming an administrator. If the heirs authorize consent, the administrator takes control of the property and files inventories, including the three automobiles on the property. The notice of claim is then advertised for creditors.

Neighbors of the property addressed concerns over possible future activities and signs of trespassers.

The health order was signed by the Selectboard and Harrison suggested the board schedule Ankuda’s recommendations for the agenda at the next meeting set for Feb. 19.

On a separate note, Putignano noticed the ski tow was not open over Martin Luther King weekend “with the best snow we’ve had.”

Harrison said Recreation Director Ryan Stoodley is also disappointed, but the ski tow may not open this winter. There will be programs available over the February break, and the ice rink is open.

Check out Rockingham Recreation Department on Facebook for more details.

The Selectboard meets next Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 6 p.m. in the Lower Theater of the Bellows Falls Opera House.

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