NEWFANE -- Town officials must spend more than $3,000 to complete their share of a repair job at an aging dam.
The Newfane Selectboard has authorized a spillway project at Kenny Pond, also known as Grout Pond. The project, awarded to Vernon-based Renaud Bros. after the company submitted a $3,200 bid, is expected to take care of the town's concerns at the privately-owned dam.
"We're not really talking about the dam itself," Selectboard Chairman Jon Mack said. "We're talking about the spillway that goes under a town road. That's what we're focused on."
A July state inspection concluded that the dam, which dates to the 1930s, is in "poor" condition. An engineer wrote that "the condition of the dam has declined due to the issues with the principal spillway conduit and downstream stone wall."
Given that there are concerns about the dam's potential effect on town roads, the Selectboard and a consortium of property owners in August agreed to split the cost of a detailed engineering assessment of the structure.
That will cost about $1,000, officials said at a recent meeting.
"We found an engineer, and we will now go back to the owners and ask them to split the cost with us," Mack said.
The town's $500 share for that assessment is in addition to the Renaud Bros. construction contract.
Selectboard member Todd Lawley, who also serves as Newfane's road foreman, said the company will reroute water that "has found a way to get down into the ground" rather than flowing through the spillway.
"So what they want to do is pour cement, (and) fill that void in so that the water will go back out through the spillway the way it's supposed to," Lawley said.
That is the extent of the town's responsibilities "for right now," Lawley said.
"We'll just keep watching it until we have a problem," he said. "We may never have a problem."
However, it is possible that other repairs may be necessary.
"If they have to replace that rock wall on the other side, that holds the town road up, so we're going to get into a landowner/town of Newfane expense again," Lawley said. "Because that rock wall is a pretty good-sized rock wall."
In other recent Selectboard business:
-- Officials are resigned to the fact that Lynch Bridge, which was destroyed by Tropical Storm Irene's flooding in August 2011, will not be reconstructed this year.
The Selectboard authorized a $536,886 contract with Renaud for replacement of the bridge, which had served only one property before the storm. But with state deadlines and winter weather rapidly approaching, the work will have to wait until spring.
The good news, officials said, is that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is "completely reobligated" to funding the project.
"They had obligated the funds, then they took it off their ledger ... pending the actual design," Mack said. "And it took quite a long time to get the actual design finalized, approved and the money reobligated. That has now been done, and we'll build it next summer. And there's still only one house over there."
-- Crews continue to construct the new Hunter Brook Bridge, which also was destroyed by Irene. That project may be complete next month.
"As soon as that bridge is open for traffic, they will begin to shift over to the disassembly of the temporary bridge," Selectboard member Chris Druke said.
-- A second round of bids for improvements at the Newfane town office is due later this month.
The Selectboard previously had received estimates for the job but did not award a contract.
"They seemed like they were higher than what we would expect, and so they reformulated the request for proposals and we should have new bids next meeting," Mack said.
-- In accordance with changes required by the federal health-care overhaul, the Selectboard modified its health coverage for town employees. The change, approved after the board solicited input from town workers, comes at no additional cost to taxpayers.
"We're allowing (employees) freedom of choice as to which carrier and plan, and we will provide funding at the current level that we're providing for health insurance now," Mack said.
"The total cost is flat, and even within keeping it flat, we're able to provide a broker to help them navigate the system," he added.
Mike Faher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.