The White River Valley Herald

Rochester Selex Updated on Grants

The Rochester Selectboard met on Monday, Sept. 27 in person and via Zoom.

Town Clerk Julie Smith said the office may be closed most days the first week of October as Rochester officials are invited to attend virtual town-fair meetings throughout the week.

Board assistant Joan Allen said the generator grant has been fully approved by the Department of Public Service. It would require board chair Doon Hinderyckx to sign a Docusign document online. There is a copy for him to sign in the office. It will need to go out to bid and Allen thought there would be enough time before winter arrived.

Allen updated the construction grant from the Federal Highway for the construction of the West Hill Bridge replacement. They approved the original amount submitted two years ago for $600,000. She said the cost estimate that the designers, VHB, are using is the actual construction cost of $663,414, and that is before the 10% contingency. She and Brian Austin were exchanging emails about how to cover the additional costs and thought they would wait until the project went out to bid early next year. The primary responsibility is on the Forest Service.

She did reach out to Chris Bump with VTrans, and he came back with a suggestion that VTrans could make use of the defunded funds for the Mount Cushman culvert replacement which was $175,000, with some review of approvals and internal documents. He said they may be able to make up the difference of the $63,414.

Allen is also compiling the total cost of the Nason Brook culvert project, and said there was a state grant-in-aid completed by the town crew. It was also noted that the final amount for the generator grant was $10,775.

Other News

Library Trustee Tony Goupee said the library sold out of the first printing of the cookbook and is working on another printing.

The road crew has started the roadside mowing.

Terry Severy said he had ordered the two sewer pumps, which will arrive in 8-10 weeks, and cost less than he thought they would and they would plan to install them in early spring.

Jeff Gephart said that GMP has put out an RFP for the resiliency zone and they put out a timeline for the project. They reserve the right to not accept any bid.

He also followed up with Energy Efficiency Investments Incorporated to find out what it has identified in terms of opportunities of savings and scope for a project necessary to achieve those savings, and said there will be a Rochester area climate initiative community forum coming up on October 7 from 6-8:30 p.m. via Zoom and there will be an outdoor in-person meeting at the elementary school on October 12 from 5-6:15 p.m.

Hinderyckx asked about the RFP for the resiliency for the solar array—what kind of time frame did they put on that because there are a lot of things at play. He thought it was a good idea to gather information, but anticipated they would be gathering information, not expecting to give out contracts right away, as decisions would need to be made around the school. He said the construction looks like it’s years down the road. Gephart said it looked like July of 2023 and a one-time six-month extension.

Old Business

At its previous meeting, the board had tabled a decision on one of three items for the Rochester High School repurposing project—a request for the town to sign a property access liability agreement at this point to allow for timing and further research.

Pat Harvey said she found that the town was not required to carry the insurance, so the consultant and engineering firm would cover the requirement under their own insurance.

Public Comment

Severy spoke about Skate Space and concerns the fire department had to make six-seven trips to flood the rink, even with the new liner. He said the Recreation Committee received a sizable donation, and give it to the fire department. The fire department would rather see the fund be used to make improvements to the rink. He is concerned that it is getting late in the year, the work to make improvements has not been done, and soon it will be time to flood the ice. The board said it would have to speak to the Rec Committee members and the person plowing to act on his concerns.

The next regular selectboard meeting will be on Monday, Oct. 11 at 6:15 p.m.

The above summary was written from draft minutes.