Friday April 19, 2013

BELLOWS FALLS -- The Rockingham Selectboard at its regular meeting Tuesday approved an agreement that will soon take effect between the town and the Windham County's Sheriff's Department.

All five members in the Rockingham Town Hall Lower Theatre unanimously approved the contract for law enforcement services for the period of May 1, 2013, through June, 2014.

According to a copy of the contract, the scope of services includes furnishing traffic law enforcement patrols, preparing cases for prosecution, providing policing needs as required by the Selectboard or municipal manager and the final disposition of any motor vehicle violation or criminal offense.

The sheriff's department will not provide general animal control services under the new agreement. The animal control services will be limited to providing dog and wolf hybrid license enforcement as requested by the municipal manager, investigation of animal abuse and neglect reports and uniformed presence in support of the town's appointed health officer.

Rockingham will be billed monthly at a rate of $43 per hour. This, according to the memo, covers the hourly wage and benefits of the deputies and a mileage reimbursement rate for all cruiser usage.

In other business, Rockingham/Bellows Falls Municipal Manager Tim Cullenen, who was later that night terminated following a vote of no confidence at a joint board meeting, gave the Selectboard an update on a solar energy installation project the town is exploring.

The town issued requests for proposal for the development and installation of a 500-kilowatt solar array facility to be built on town property and provide an income stream to the town through a net-metering credit purchase program.

Net-metering allows multiple households to use solar electricity generated by solar panels located elsewhere and the town would receive a credit on its electric bill thanks to net-metering legislation passed by the state.

According to a memo from Cullenen, the town received five proposals from different firms by the March 28 submission deadline. Cullenen said he, Rockingham Finance Director Chip Stearns and Rockingham Economic Development Director Francis "Dutch" Walsh have reviewed the proposals in depth. The three, according to Cullenen, found that all the proposals were similar.

He did not list the firms, in an attempt to avoid bias.

Cullenen listed savings on future electric bills, some revenue from rental of land and usage of green energy as pros of the project and the tie-up of 30-percent of a gravel pit for at least 20 years and administration/maintenance as cons.

Cullenen also gave the Selectboard an update on the renovations at the Rockingham Free Public Library at 65 Westminster St.

Baybutt Construction Corp., a Keene, N.H-based company, was hired for a $2.9-million renovation project on the library. The project hit a snag several months ago when subcontractors hired by Baybutt refused to continue their jobs and insisted the general contractor had not paid them for the work already done. Rockingham town officials terminated a contract with Baybutt when the corporation's financial woes came to light.

Baybutt Construction did not take out a performance or a payment bond, which acts as an insurance contract and was a project requirement from the town. The company's owner, Frederick L. Baybutt, declared personal bankruptcy in February.

Jason Lacombe of Sheerr McCrystal Palson Architecture was authorized to redesign the project based on reductions in scope agreed upon by the Rockingham Selectboard. Cullenen told board members Tuesday the designs are completed and Engelberth Construction Inc. -- the company hired to "button up" the building and making it "reasonably weathertight" when the project the problems with Baybutt became apparent -- will review them.

Cullenen said there are hopes to have by the end of the week an estimate on what it will take to complete the project. He said the town will have to wait and see if the estimated cost of completion meets what the town has available.

The library is open during construction.

Selectboard member Ann DiBernardo mentioned she hopes the project will be more monitored this time.

In other business:

-- Kathleen Martin was unanimously re-appointed to her position on the Rockingham Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Adjustment.

-- During his manager's report, Cullenen said the final designs and recommendations for The Island Growth Plan will be presented at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24. Mullin Associates has been tasked with creating a design plan to revitalize the section of Bellows Falls known as The Island.

-- Cullenen also said there will be some repairs at the town swimming pool.

-- Before Tuesday's meeting started, Selectboard Tom MacPhee asked for a brief moment of silence in honor of the people killed or injured by bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.