Wednesday October 3, 2012

BELLOWS FALLS -- Representatives from the village’s and town’s insurance provider attended Tuesday’s Rockingham Selectboard meeting to address any questions or concerns members or taxpayers have about coverage.

Steven Jeffrey, the executive director of the Vermont League of Cities & Towns, sat in the front row of the Rockingham Town Hall Lower Theatre and gave the board an update on how much VLCT has paid out toward the replacement of the Bartonsville Covered Bridge. Accompanying him were Ken Canning, the director of risk management services, Joseph Damiata, the manager of underwriting, safety and health promotion, and Kelly Kindestin, manager of property and casualty claims.

They attended the meeting on behalf of the Property and Causality Intermunicipal Fund, or PACIF, within the VLCT.

Jeffrey said that before the meeting Kindestin gave Municipal Manager Tim Cullenen a check for $199,500, bringing the total paid toward the Bartonsville Covered Bridge, including debris removal, to $1,790,915. The bridge was destroyed during Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011.

He told the board that Rockingham/Bellows Falls were founding members of PACIF and it doesn’t have a bottom line, or net earnings.

"All the contributions that we receive from towns go back to the towns," Jeffrey read in a statement. "We have distributed a total of $14 million since you created us in 1987. We distributed $1.5 million last year alone. Next year, if you choose to (be) with us again, we’ll be distributing an additional $1.2 million if the board goes along with what is recommended.

"PACIF gains nothing by wrongfully denying a claim," he continued. "We have learned many lessons from the Irene experience across the state. Š In particular, we’ve learned a lot with our experience with the Bartonsville Bridge. We cover 80 or so covered and pedestrian bridges and Bartonsville was the first in the 25-year history of PACIF that this issue has come up."

According to an article previously published by the Reformer, Cullenen had told the board in August that VLCT would cover just more than $230,000 worth of the damage due to the non-profit organization’s interpretation of the insurance policy. He and Phil Pearce (of engineering and construction firm Clough Harbour & Associates) attended a meeting with VLCT in Montpelier later that month.

"This is good news, guys," Selectboard Chairman Tom MacPhee told his fellow members after hearing what Jeffrey had to say.

Admitting it wasn’t a question for the VLCT guests, Selectboard member Matthew Trieber asked why there was more than $3.5 million in coverage for the Connecticut River Transit building. Finance Officer Chip Stearns, who was in the audience before giving his year-to-date budget status report, said it is because the town owns the building.

In other business:

-- The board awarded VTEL, of Springfield, a license to bury fiber optic cable in the Green Mountain Turnpike.

The cable would extend from the intersection of Green Mountain Turnpike with Whitney Road and run in Green Mountain Turnpike to Chester line. The total length is roughly 1,400 feet. The work is expected to be done in the spring and all locations must be clearly marked.

According to an e-mail, it was determined that it would be best if the line was buried along the north side of the road.

-- During his manager’s report, Cullenen said the Rockingham Recreation Center plans to hold a Halloween party on Saturday, Oct. 27.

He said the update of the town/village’s website is moving forward. He said the Bellows Falls Area Development Corporation (BFADC) voted to donated $2,000 to assist in the project in order to participate with it.

Parking permits are now available and take effect Thursday, Nov. 1, he said. More information is on the town’s website.

-- Cullenen said everyone involved with the project is very encouraged that the work on the Bartonsville Covered Bridge is on schedule. He also said the highway department added new flashing red lights at the arch bridge. Highway Superintendent Mike Hindes said they are intended to alert drivers to brake at a stop sign.

-- Requests for proposal for maintenance work at Rockingham Cemetery were sent to six local contractors.

The bid of $33,575 was awarded to E. Clark Landscaping for spring clean-up ($2,675), mowing not to exceed 15 times per year ($30,300) and brush hogging the Rockingham Meeting House Cemetery twice per year ($600).