Select Board Meeting 9/8/14

Select board (SB) meetings are recorded by LPC-TV and are available at their website  and on Comcast Television.  Discussion and voting at Monday, Sept. 8’s SB meeting were as follows:

A. Local Broadband Access: There have been a number of complaints about TDS Internet service starting in June. The complaints have fallen into three broad categories: intermittent service; slow speed and poor response from TDS. At the August meeting, the SB voted to have a representative from TDS attend the Sept. Meeting in order to discuss concerns and how TDS is planning to address them.

Since the last meeting, Rich Svec, town manager, has been in touch with the new TDS Field Service Manager, Dave Colbert. Responsible for all of Vermont and Northern NH, Colbert’s first day of work was on Monday. Unlike his predecessor, Colbert did respond to Svec’s calls and provided the following information:

• Cavendish is built to capacity and there is no more bandwidth.

• There are currently no plans in the 2015 TDS schedule to change this situation. 

Those in attendance noted that the system isn’t just built to capacity, but rather over built. However, there could be an immediate improvement if the remote terminals were switched from the existing copper to high fiber optics.

 Selectmen Mike Ripley said that he had recently switched from TDS to Comcast and found the service to be faster and a cost savings. Three of the five SB members are now using Comcast and not TDS. The town receives free complementary service from Comcast as does the school. Comcast is limited to certain areas of town. One resident e-mailed the board and town manager suggesting that maybe part of the solution is to see if Comcast would consider extending their service to additional areas.

 VTel  was awarded the Rural Utilities Service contract to provide a WOW 4G/LTE network for underserved areas of the state by the middle of 2015. While a number of residents were part of the Beta test for VTel, the system is still not fully operational in Cavendish. According to a phone conversation with VTel on Sept. 9, there will be some type of upgrade happening in October, which will improve service in some parts of Cavendish. However, all towers will not be complete until the summer of 2015.  This service is more expensive then what TDS and Comcast offer.

 Svec was given the name of the Product Manager Developer in Madison, WI Matt Apps, and told to write a letter outlining the issues people were experiencing. At the direction of the board, Svec is drafting a letter that the members will sign on Wednesday. As part of this, Svec would like as much documentation as possible by Friday. Consequently, if you are a TDS subscriber and have had or are having problems, please document and e-mail this information to rsvec@comcast.net as soon as possible.

 B. Temporary Liquor License: A one day special event liquor license has been given to a vendor who will be selling mead at the upcoming Golden Honey Festival at the Golden Stage Inn on Saturday, Sept. 13.

 C. Solar Project: With the Aug. 26 approval of the voters to proceed with securing a bond to install a 150 KW solar system, the town office has been moving forward with the project as follows:

• 8/28/14: RFP (request for proposal) was issued. One of the stipulations is that the project must be completed and on-line by Dec. 27. In order for the town to get the full .6¢ per KW incentive, the project must be operational by Dec. 31, 2014. After that date, the incentive drops to .4¢ per KW.  In the event this condition is not met, there will be a $35,000 penalty,  which would be the amount lost over the 10 year period that the incentive will be available.

• 9/5/14: A mandatory site visit was held for those interested in submitting RFPs

• 9/8/14: The SB agreed to and signed a Reimbursement Resolution prepared by bond counsel to ensure that project expenses incurred will be properly reimbursed by the permanent financing proceeds and the issuance of a Bond Opinion letter from bond counsel.

• 9/10/14: At 5 pm, the SB will open the bid envelopes and review them. Svec anticipates 3-4 construction bids.

• 9/12/14: At 4:15 pm, the SB will select a firm for the project.

 D. FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant: In order to maximize the town’s eligibility for disaster funds in the event of a future catastrophe, such as an Irene type storm, the town needs an All Hazards Mitigation Plan. The grant will cover three quarters of the cost associated with plan development. The remaining quarter can be in-kind contributions, such as the town manager’s time to meet with the regional planning council. The SB approved the submission of the grant application.

 E. Cavendish Village Green Project: On Saturday Sept. 8, volunteers will assemble at the Cavendish Green to install a new play area. As part of this project, the spruce tree, which is infected with blight, will be removed this week. Volunteers are needed for this event. As noted in the Sept. 5 Cavendish Update, three local school children Rhyan and Sarah Devereux and  their cousin Bradley Frye were responsible for planning this renovation and spent considerable time with their parents helping to raise the money and in-kind contributions needed. The video, created by Shannon Devereux, explains the children’s ideas for the park. 

F. Roads and Bridges

• Davis Road Bridge: While the state says that the Bridge replacement is a high priority, the review process continues to grind on. This is a more complex process because it’s FEMA funding. The vendor selected for the project is still willing to do the work for the agreed price. However, as Svec noted, this wont last forever and there will come a time that the vendor either doesn’t have time to do the work and/or there will be cost increases. The reflective mirror from Chubb Hill has been installed at the Davis Rd Bridge area in order to improve safety.

• Whitesville Bridge and Center Road: The hump and guard rail of the newly replaced Whitesville Bridge is blocking visibility for drivers turning onto 131 from Center Road. This is an unsafe intersection and something needs to be done to protect motorists prior to the winter season.

G. Streetlight Replacements for Cavendish Village: Green Mountain Power is switching out old fixtures (most mercury vapor) and replacing them with LED heads. By the end of this week, all of the street lights in Cavendish Village should be equipped with LED lights.

H. Recreation Department: Terry O’Brien, the new recreation director, provided a report to the SB about activities relating to this new town department. While the primary focus at the moment is the fall soccer program, other activity information is available at their Facebook page.