Selectmen approve bids for town audit, park maintenance and generator


by Thomas Beeler
Editor of The Granite State News
November 01, 2012
WAKEFIELD — Wakefield selectmen made decisions on three sets of bids at their Oct. 24 meeting.

The first involved property maintenance for the Parks and Recreation Department. Director Wayne Robinson said that four bids had been received and reviewed by the Parks and Recreation Committee. The committee's recommendation is to stay with Hales, who has the current contract, for $19,890 a year for three years, which Robinson said was the same bid made three years ago for the current contract.

Selectman Charlie Edwards, who is the selectmen's representative to the committee, said, "It was a close call because three of the bidders were local contractors." In the end he said that since Parks and Recreation was very happy with Hales the committee had no reason to take the contract away from them.

Selectmen unanimously approved accepting the Hales maintenance bid.

The second set of bids concerned auditing services. Selectmen had opened the two bids submitted on Oct. 10 but deferred a decision to the Oct. 24 meeting to allow board members to reviewed the details of both bids. The current auditing firm, Vachon Clukay & Company is in the third year of its first contract with the town. Selectman Chair Ken Paul said he likes to change auditors every few years to get a fresh look at the books, but Vachon Clukay has only had one contract and is doing a good job. The vote to accept the Vachon Clukay bid was 3-0.

The third bid, opened at the meeting, was for a backup generator for the Town Hall and Gafney Library. The generator would not only make it possible to use Town Hall as an emergency shelter to supplement the Public Safety Building (which has its own generator), it is needed to keep sump pumps working to prevent flooding the basement.

The sole bidder was K & M Generators of East Wakefield. Their bid of $19,000 includes installing a concrete pad and mounting the generator on it. However, Town Administrator Teresa Williams pointed out, it does not include installing a underground propane tank to run it, estimated at $4,000, or the cost of fuel. There is enough money in the capital reserve for the generator but not the tank installation.

Selectmen discussed whether it made sense to ask the bidder to wait until the town has a new budget in March and whether K & M could hold the price till then. Williams recommended accepting the bid and having the generator installed but do the propane in the spring. The board thought that was a good approach and voted 3-0 to accept the bid.

Two bridges

On Oct. 24 selectmen discussed two bridges in town that are both in need of repair. The first was the Maple Street Bridge in Union, which was first on the agenda. Cynthia Wyatt, who had requested a meeting about the bridge, was not present; however, Annette Perry of 21 Brewster Road in Union, asked when the town will repair the bridge. "We need the bridge for safety reasons if there is a fire or a flood," she said.

Paul said there was a second way out over the Bridge Street Bridge. Perry said it is only one lane, and when there was a chimney fire recently, fire equipment blocked it. She added it was also inconvenient to use Bridge Street.

Paul responded that there are several bridges in town where the bridge is the only way out. "We need to do those first," he said. He added that it was his personal view that the Maple Street Bridge should not be repaired but removed.

Perry said residents of Union often feel neglected by the town, and this is another case.

Selectman Peter Kasprzyk took objection to that statement, saying that Union is not being neglected. "We have spent a lot of money making improvements there recently," he said, referring to the renovation of the former hotel and current Greater Wakefield Resource Center and to the railroad station work. Perry granted that work had been done.

Paul recommended that Perry get together with her neighbors and get them to sign a petition to ask voters to repair the bridge. He clarified that this was known as a petitioned warrant article and there was time to prepare one to go on the ballot.

The second bridge discussed was the North Wakefield Bridge, which the town has partially repaired. Amanda Bevard of Wolfeboro, whose only access to the outside world is across that bridge, wrote to ask if selectmen would remove the requirement that she get a waiver every time she has a delivery of hay, lime and suchlike that weighs more than 15 tons. She said the Department of Transportation has recommended the bridge be posted as E2, meaning it can support up to 80,000 pounds or 40 tons.

Paul pointed out this was a case where the bridge was the only way out for her and some Wakefield resident. He said the town has asked Wolfeboro to help with the bridge repair but the call was not returned.

Williams pointed out that there is money in a capital reserve and if funds were added in the new budget, the repair work could be completed next year.

Edwards and Kasprzyk were reluctant to allow heavy trucks to use the bridge without some control before repairs are completed. The board voted 3-0 to continue to require specific waivers. Williams said Bevard would be in to ask for waivers at the next meeting.

Visitors

The board had three visitors on Oct. 24. The first was Brookfield resident and former selectman Ernie Brown, who is a member of Wakefield-Brookfield TRAC (Trails Rails Action Committee). Brown was looking for a letter of support for TRAC's efforts to extend the existing six-mile Cotton Valley trail the remaining six miles to Turntable Park in Sanbornville. The group is applying for a grant for half of the estimated $30,000 needed to complete the project. Other members of the group are Harriet Wilson, Darryl Remick, Donna San Antonio and Brad Williamson.

The plan is to first extend the trail from Route 16 to Turntable Park and then from the Miss Wakefield Diner to Clark Road. Remick has already cut down the trees growing in the tracks. The preferred next stage is to apply gravel to make an even hiking/biking surface without disturbing the rails used by the rail car club. Kasprzyk said he thought the state wanted to remove the rails. Brown said that is true but they hope to persuade the state in November to let the rails remain. He said the snowmobile clubs prefer adding the gravel.

Letters of support had already been received from the Conservation and Heritage Commissions in Wakefield and the Brookfield Board of Selectmen.

The board agreed to add its letter of support as well.

The second visitor was Dorothy Solomon, current Carroll County Commissioner, who is running for re-election. She reviewed her achievement since first being elected in 2006. She is most proud of the new Mountain View Community home, which was completed on time and $2 million under budget, and represents a much better way of taking care of the county's aged. She also cited how using green technology is saving energy and money now and into the future and praised new Farm Manager Will DeWitte for revitalizing the county farm. If re-elected she will back a plan to turn the old nursing home building into a homeless shelter for veterans as well as the home of the Carrol County UNH Extension. She also plans to work on reducing recidivism at the jail: 42 percent of inmates return, far too many.

The third visitor was Brookfield Selectman Bill Nelson, who is running for state representative in District 5 and came to introduce himself. He said he has visited 88 percent of businesses in the district and plans to work to reduce the frustrations businesses have in dealing with the state.

Other business

Paul announced that Municipal Resources, Inc., (MRI) will do a public presentation of their report on town operations at 6 p.m. on Nov. 14, before the selectmen's next regular meeting. The report will also be made available on the town website.

School Board Member Judy Nason and Kasprzyk reported that the Vehicle Maintenance Committee is recommending that the pilot program to use the new highway department mechanic to service school buses not begin on Jan. 1 but be deferred to April to allow the mechanic time to get up and running. Nason said the school board was also looking for a fixed time commitment for school bus work. From the committee's visit to the Governor Wentworth Regional School District garage, it is clear that organization and good schedules are key to making the shared maintenance work.

Selectmen approved getting a second lawyer to help with the closing on the Union Meadows properties. The original lawyer hired has not been responsive, Conservation Commission Chair Dave Mankus said. Mankus agreed to send a certified notice to the first attorney.

The board approved the appointment of Steve Brown as the town's representative to the Strafford Regional Planning Commission, as recommended by the planning board.

A letter of appreciation was sent to Vivian Chick for her tireless work in Woodman, including maintaining the Grange Hall.

The next meeting of the Wakefield Board of Selectmen will be on Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. at the Town Hall meeting room.

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