WILMINGTON -- As of Wednesday, Town Manager Scott Murphy had seen only one proposal since the bidding process opened for a project that seeks to digitize approximately 400,000 documents.

"Usually, those bids tend to come in at the last minute," he said.

Request for proposals are due on Jan. 13 by 4 p.m. Essentially, the town is looking for a company to assist with the efforts to have records saved in a digital format.

The RFP process began on Dec. 9. The document is available at WilmingtonVermont.us.

This particular project started in late August 2011. Tropical Storm Irene had devastated many areas along Main Street in Wilmington and the Town Clerk's office was no exception. It sits on the first floor of the building on Main Street.

"We lost some records but most of the critical records were saved," said Murphy. "This whole grant is a process of being able to digitize all these records in case of a major disaster."

Town Clerk Susie Haughwout was able to save many of the documents herself in a last-ditch effort before the storm really took its toll. She rescued vital documents minutes before many others were ruined in flood waters.

During the storm, Haughwout became concerned and went to the Town Offices. She saw water from the Deerfield River coming over the bridge. Moving quickly, she began taking records out of the vault.

"Had we not done that, the records would have been damaged and potentially lost. So, clearly we have a need," said Haughwout.

Through this Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery implementation grant, Wilmington is set to receive $157,542 for the project that will cost $173,000. The town is required to come up with the remaining 10 percent.

"That's quite a substantial amount of money," said Murphy. "We're very excited about this."

The cash match from the town will come out of the matching grants line item in the general fund budget.

The project is expected to be completed over the course of 8 to 12 months. Officials do not expect the work to be done on a daily basis.

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