DUMMERSTON—At the Dummerston regular Selectboard meeting on April 1, what normally would have been a fairly straightforward procedure — get a new dump truck — hit a frost heave.
Road Foreman Lee Chamberlin reported receiving three bids for the town’s new dump truck, but one of them, from Westminster’s L & B Truck Services, came in late.
L & B had initially sent in a timely bid on a tandem truck, rather than the single-axle truck Dummerston needs. When alerted to the error, L & B resubmitted their bid for the proper dump truck, but it came in two days after the deadline.
Although Chamberlin likes L & B’s truck the best, the Selectboard hesitated accepting a late bid. To do so “sets a pretty bad precedent,” says Selectboard member Steve Glabach.
The Selectboard asked Chamberlin if holding up the process for another two weeks would present a problem for the Highway Department. Chamberlin said it would not.
In a follow-up email, Selectboard member Zeke Goodband elaborated.
“We asked the two top bids to re-bid the truck and asked them to respond by April 8. At our warned meeting on April 8, we opened the bids and accepted the bid from Patriot (L & B from Westminster) for a Western Star truck."
The winning bid for the dump truck was $82,688, reports Goodband in his email. At the April 1 meeting, the Selectboard accepted a bid for an additional body and plow frame from Viking for $47,154, bringing the total cost of the new truck and body to $129,858, which Goodband says is “just within the budget passed at Town Meeting.”
Mud season update
The Selectboard asked Chamberlin for an update on mud season’s effect on the town’s many unpaved roads.
Chamberlin reported his department had been grading and putting down gravel, and “everything seems to be holding up really well,” he said, adding, “I’d like to say we’re gonna be all right."
Chamberlin then paused, and with a mix of hesitation — perhaps so as not to jinx his good luck so far — and confidence, he said, “but... I think we are."
“All the plows are off the trucks?” Selectboard member Zeke Goodband asked Chamberlin, to which he responded, “Yeah.” Chamberlin paused and added, “...but the plow frames are still on,” causing knowing chuckles among those present.
In other road-related news, the Selectboard reported receiving a letter from resident Anne Montgomery that she also sent to Gov. Peter Shumlin about the large number of cars traveling on East-West Road “at a harrowing pace,” disrupting her walks, sometimes dramatically.
The Selectboard will ask the Windham Regional Commission for traffic-counting tape once the weather permits.
The Selectboard also noted an email correspondence members received from Jody Normandeau reminding the board to give “better background” on items “for those watching on BCTV” who have not read all the materials the Selectboard has.
Normandeau also asked the board to limit their use of Executive Sessions. Cook replied, “We rarely do,” and it was noted the last time the board entered into Executive Session was June 2014.
Goodband added Vermont’s “open meeting laws are clear about” when it is appropriate to do so, such as when confidentiality rules warrant it.
• The Selectboard reported a disbursement from the Miller Fund, which was established through a bequest to the town by Fred Miller in his 1931 will, to assist with the temporary care of needy minor children.
• Goodband reported attending the recent Windham Regional Commission meeting on municipal shared services. One idea he said gained some traction was creating a listserv for town clerks to share requests and news.
Goodband also said, of some neighboring towns’ officials, “everybody wants to share our mower” to trim the grass on the sides of their towns’ roads, but “I’m not sure how Lee [Chamberlin] will feel about that."
• The board unanimously reappointed the following officials to one-year terms: Keith Marshall and Carrie Ritson to the Recreation Board; Read Miller to the Farmland Protection Committee; Larry Lynch, Sr., to the post of Assistant Emergency Management Director; Roger Turner to the Windham Regional Commission; and Mark Whitaker to the position of Fence Viewer. Jonathan Royce was appointed to a three-year term on the Conservation Commission.
• The board plans to put out a request for proposals (RFP) to paint the Dummerston Community Center.
Although the funding for it becomes available in the next fiscal year, Goodband says the RFPs should go out in the current fiscal year because “painting companies are going to be wanting to set up their schedules."
• The next regular Selectboard meeting is on Wednesday, April 15, at 6 p.m., in the Town Office on Middle Road.