Monday May 6, 2013

JAMAICA -- The Selectboard decided to move forward with putting electrical wires underground while a sidewalk project is still in works.

"If you drive down and look at the island, you see a telephone pole that the (Jamaica Community) Church uses to light the church," said board member Lou Bruso. "So, my idea was that since the sidewalk is going to be ripped out next to the church, they're going to put the handicap access ramp in there, that that will be an ideal time to perhaps take that wiring and put it underground rather than run it over to that pole."

Bruso told the board about his idea to put the wires underground at the previous Selectboard meeting, which will include removing the telephone pole and the stake, then putting the wiring from the church undergound.

On April 29, Bruso brought price estimates to present to the Selectboard. The project was approved after discussion.

Bazin Brothers estimated that it would cost about $2,300 for the additional construction work. Chris Clark estimated it would be anywhere between $300 to $500 for the electrical work involved.

"He probably thought it would be closer to $300, if we could use the old lights that were there," Bruso said.

The church provides the electricity from that telephone pole to the town at no cost. The town uses it for special events and holidays.

"I brought the idea to the church. I didn't want to bring it up to the board without first running it by the church," said Bruso. "They seemed to think it was a good idea.


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Bruso told the Selectboard that the church was thinking about using Clark's idea, which was to put the lights on the church's sign that displays its hours of worship, rather than putting the lights on a pole on the other side of the street.

He thought this alternative might give the church better lighting.

"Therefore, what we would use that underground for would be to bring power to that side for things like Jamaica Home Day, when we use the island or the Christmas tree we put up over there and the like," he added.

If the church decided the new lighting arrangement did not work, it could put the lights back to the island, Bruso said.

One member of the public told the board the telephone pole "was nowhere near as high as it is now." He said it was initially used for television cable and for a banner that the town displays across the street.

Selectboard member Paul Fraser worried about the cost of the project and where the town would find the funds for it. He asked Bruso if there was a budget item to cover it.

Bruso said that the funds could come out of the general fund or town beautification budget.

"Technically it doesn't have to come out of the budget," he said. "It can come out of miscellaneous. It really is just a budget. We don't have to take things out."

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.