This sign sat in front of the Jamaica Coffee Shop in the days following Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. (Reformer file photo)
This sign sat in front of the Jamaica Coffee Shop in the days following Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. (Reformer file photo)

JAMAICA -- While gathering more information for replacing the Town Hall water system, town officials are putting other priorities first.

"Right now, we need to focus on finishing up on all the damage from (Tropical Storm) Irene," said Selectboard Chairwoman Lexa Clark. "Then I think we can start working on that."

Although the town is still waiting to hear from Two Rivers-Outtauquechee Regional Commission about one remaining buy-out, Clark expects clean up on Water Street to begin this summer. Requests for proposals that address the clean up of the properties will need to advertised followed by another bidding process that will address the reconstruction of the street.

"There's quite a bit to do to finish that project," she said.

The water system project was temporarily postponed as engineering increased estimated costs, as conveyed by a letter from the state's Drinking Water and Groundwater Protection Division. The town will need to apply for two permits, which address drilling and testing for water quality, before any installation can take place.

On Feb. 10, the Dufresne Group visited the Selectboard to share information about funding options, planning and construction for water systems. The organization specializes in supplying municipalities in such ventures. Loans were mentioned as a potential funding source as the Selectboard had spoken candidly about not being able to afford the project as costs began to rise.

"We just listened to what they had to tell us," said Clark. "But we have to further discuss this with the Planning Commission. It's a long-term thing."

Throughout the past few years, the commission has sent out reports and collected surveys. It was looking for public input on how residents feel about a municipal water or septic system.

Clark told the Reformer that finding a place for such a system will also need consideration from the board and commission.

"There's so many different options," she concluded.

Selectboard member Judy Flower, who was not present at the last meeting, will likely be at the next meeting on Feb. 24. She has kept records and assisted with securing a grant the Vermont Community Foundation for the project. Looking at other potential grants was an option that she mentioned last month.

The board is currently waiting on pricing information from engineers but Flower and resident Steve Clark will continue towards the goal of replacing the non-potable water system.

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