Short one member, Jamaica board talks about Water St. plans


JAMAICA -- The Selectboard will remain a four-person board for now.

On Monday, reappointed Jamaica Selectboard Chairwoman Lexa Clark read a letter from Peter Paige, who was nominated at Town Meeting to become the board's fifth member. He was elected to take over the seat that Lou Bruso did not run for again.

"I must advise I am unable to make a fulfillment of this nature," Paige's letter stated.

Now that the board is down a member, Clark advised that the town would post the vacancy and see what happens.

Resident Peter Andrus inquired about how paving Water Street will be addressed after the buy-outs go through. His specific concern regarded putting riprap in when the project begins. Usually made of rock or rubble, the material assists with protecting shorelines, bridge abutments and shorelines against scour, water or ice erosion.

Andrus told the Selectboard that he was willing to chip in $2,000 for the riprap. He believed it to be important to him and his neighbors. He also owns apartment buildings along the Ball Mountain Brook that ravaged homes on that street during Tropical Storm Irene.

"That's something we'll look into. We haven't put out bids yet. We're waiting for spring to come," said Clark. "Maybe there's a grant of some sort that we can look into and hopefully work with the riprap and getting Water Street back together."

Selectboard member Paul Fraser mentioned that FEMA's guidelines for the project were not yet known by the board and the riprap may be included within the scope of the project.

"We need to make sure we have all the specifics," he added.

Some of the riprap that was put in along Pike Falls Road after Irene was deemed insufficient by FEMA standards. It must meet hazard mitigation specifications so it will be redone in the near future.

Andrus thanked the board members for their dedicated work since the storm.

"This is just off the charts. You certainly deserve the raise," he said, referring to the increase in payment each Selectboard member will receive after it was approved at Town Meeting.

The Selectboard is still waiting on word on the fourth and final buyout deal with one of the property owners.

At the meeting, the board agreed to adopt procedures to move forward with a local emergency operation plan and an incident command structure. Fraser will be scheduling related courses in June, coordinated with Wardsboro Fire Chief Chris Liller. They want to hold day and night courses so that all full-time town employees can make it.

The goal for Jamaica is to become fully compliant with the National Incident Management System, or NIMS, so the town could receive more funding from the state in emergency situations. FEMA will always give the town 75 percent. Additional matching funds from the state's Emergency and Assistance Fund is dependent on how many mitigation measures the town takes.

"We don't have to do this. We will still get 75 percent from the feds," said Fraser. "It doesn't hurt. The class is free."

According to, the NIMS "identifies concepts and principles that answer how to manage emergencies from preparedness to recovery regardless of their cause, size, location or complexity. NIMS provides a consistent, nationwide approach and vocabulary for multiple agencies or jurisdictions to work together to build, sustain and deliver the core capabilities needed to achieve a secure and resilient nation."

Fraser informed the board that he was also setting up Red Cross shelter classes. The sessions will last three hours each and the town will receive 25 cots, 50 blankets, water and various supplies. Citizens and officials from nearby towns such as Townshend and Londonderry will be invited to attend.

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


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