SHAFTSBURY — The Select Board has accepted a bid and construction is set to begin on a grant-funded sidewalk project on the corner of Church Street and Route 7A that has been years in the making.
This was the second time Shaftsbury has put the project out to bid. As with last time, the only bidder was Weaver Excavating, a Shaftsbury company.
"This time the bid is closer to what we can afford," said board chairman Tim Scoggins at Monday's board meeting, "but we've still got some decisions to make about that."
He said the bid included the base price of the project, including some "nice-to-haves," such as sidewalk crossing signs, radar speed signs, and decorative lighting.
Town Administrator, David Kiernan, said the ornamental lighting comprised of three light fixtures, which would be the only of their type in town. The total cost for the lighting would be $26,900. Of that, $15,000 would be for the lights themselves, and the rest would be to ruin an electrical conduit under the sidewalk to provide power. He said that an option would be to not install the lights, but install the conduit, in case they want to put lights in later.
Scoggins said that the engineering estimate was well within the money provided by the transportation grant, which is why beautification items had been considered. Now, however, with the first and second bids coming in higher than expected, the funding was tighter, and Shaftsbury would have to foot the bill for the lights. "With $26,000, we can lay a lot of fabric," he said, "I think that's a better use of money than ornamental lights."
The board voted to award the contract to Weaver, without the option for decorative lighting.
Without the cost of the lighting, the total cost of the construction will be $145,892, which falls within the grant funding. However, the requirements of the grant also require a $11,600 construction inspection, which will put the project over the amount of the grant by about $10,000. These funds will have to come out of the town's budget, either through the general fund, or through the surplus in the highway department budget from last fiscal year.
"For 500 feet of sidewalk," mused board member Ken Harrington, "That's what happens when you get involved with the feds."
Scoggins has been involved in this project from its early stages. Before he was even a member of the select board, he was working with then vice-chairwoman Karen Mellinger and then-town administrator Margy Becker to help apply for the grant. His first forays into public service in Shaftsbury involved making sure that intersection safe for children walking to nearby Shaftsbury Elementary School, first by attempting to have a traffic light instead, and then by working with then-school board member Larry Johnson to convince the state to lower the speed limit on that stretch of 7A to 25 m.p.h.
The Shaftsbury Select Board meets the first and third Monday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at Cole Hall on Buck Hill Road in Shaftsbury. Full recordings of their meetings are available on Catamount Access Television, and on the station's YouTube page.
— Contact Derek Carson at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.