Bristol selectboard begins to tally damage from Irene

BRISTOL — At a selectboard meeting Monday, town officials in Bristol were tallying up the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene, exploring plans for more infrastructure repairs and discussing how much help they could get from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“All the roads are back open and we’re working with FEMA to put in all of our costs,” said Chairman Joel Bouvier.
But exactly what those costs will add up to is still unknown.
“We had a fair amount of road damage,” said Town Administrator Bill Bryant. “I don’t have a total at this point.”
A 200-foot chunk of Lincoln Road wiped out by flooding has been repaired, bridge abutments that were compromised have been reinforced and all Bristol roads are now passable. The floodwaters, however, took their toll on more than just the town’s thoroughfares.
The foundation of a town storage shed off of Basin Street was undermined. The new handicapped accessible fishing platform at Eagle Park off of Lincoln Road was partially washed out in mid-construction. And the springhouse, which housed the water pump used for the town’s previous water supply in Lincoln and was eyed for electricity generation, went rushing down an inundated brook on Aug. 28.
The town is now totaling up the equipment used, materials needed, hours of labor involved and a wide range of other information necessary for making insurance claims, applying for FEMA funding and keeping the town afloat. Bouvier explained that FEMA would likely reimburse the town for 75 percent of Lincoln Road’s reconstruction. Other maintenance projects should also be available for FEMA funding, but the town first needs to get its numbers in order and see what insurance covers.
Meanwhile, as the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) works to bring the state’s infrastructure back up to speed, selectmen learned that the replacement of the one-lane Stoplight Bridge on Route 116 — originally slated for 2013-2014 — will be delayed. Bryant told the Independent that VTrans engineers working on the project are currently dealing with emergency situations in other parts of the state.
“We’re certainly disappointed, but we’ll count our blessings that we didn’t have the damage other towns had and their damages are very clearly higher priorities,” said Bryant, who added that the selectboard would “still hold (VTrans) feet to the fire” on the town’s pending bridge renovation projects, which also include the South Street bridge and the Hewitt Street bridge.
In other news at the meeting:
•  Livingston Farm in Bristol was the lowest bidder for the Safe Routes to School project that will connect Mount Abraham Union High School with Bristol Elementary School by sidewalk. The town will pay Livingston Farm $36,350 to complete the final stage of that project, which will run one whole block along West Pleasant Street between Liberty Street and Munsill Avenue.
•  Ron LaRose addressed the selectboard about mistreatment of the Veteran’s Memorial. He requested that a sign go up to tell people not to skateboard, bike or leave dog feces on the memorial. Members of the selectboard said they would issue this notification on the online forum Front Porch Forum instead of on a physical sign.
“We’d like the public to respect it as a memorial and not as a playground,” said Bouvier.
•  Bryant spoke with the selectboard about sewer district user allocations and average daily flow (ADF) limits. Allocations refer to the amount of sewage flow that a particular district user emits and the ADF is the threshold applied to a sewer district user, which if passed triggers an increase in fees for using more of the sewer system.
Bryant is looking at how these numbers have been tallied since 1999 to make sure that they line up with measured output.
“We got some institutional confusion about what those two numbers meant — the ADF limit and the allocation — all we’re trying to do now is make sure the way they’ve been applied over the past 10 years has been correct,” he said.
•  Ivan and Peg Hendee were granted the additional sewage capacity of 165 gallons for their property rented out to ND’s tavern, which added 12 seats.
•  The selectboard authorized the Bristol Fire Department’s request for a coin drop on Sunday, Oct. 9, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., on West Street in front of Merchants Bank.
•  The selectboard authorized an annual payment of  $15,000 plus interest to People’s United Bank for the North Street water line renovation in 1994. The town still has $60,000 worth of loans to pay off.
Reporter Andrew Stein is at [email protected].

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