Pownal selectmen consider new technology, equipment and repair of Bridge 42


POWNAL -- The selectboard met on Thursday for its regular meeting to discuss software, and internet upgrades for the town buildings in addition to purchasing new utility vehicle.

The state of Vermont’s Employee Self Service recommended that the Pownal town office upgrade its computers, which still run Windows XP. Because there is no longer XP information technology support available, the board tabled a motion to update its five computers to Windows 7 Pro at $350 a computer.

A representative of Comcast Business Class, Steve White, sat down with the selectboard to discuss converting the town offices and fire department to Comcast Services. Comcast provides single television and internet lines to communities and libraries free of charge. The current service gives the town office a download/upload speed of 6 megabytes by 1 megabyte per second, which White described as "adequate for a small office - barely."

For all other use, current phone lines and internet is supplied to Pownal public buildings by Fairpoint Communications. Comcast is making a $243 per month plan proposal for the town office and fire department at a download/upload speed of 27 megabytes by 7 megabytes per second. The proposal would include an encrypted wireless (wi-fi) connection, Norton Antivirus, phone lines and a three-year contract.

The board came to a consensus that current internet speeds lack, and that the offices have outgrown the current service. The proposed contract was tabled for further consideration.

The meeting concluded with a discussion with the town road foreman, Casey Mattison, on bridge repair and a new utility vehicle.

The selectboard passed a motion for further repair on Bridge 42 on Main St./Town Highway 8. The bridge report from an inspection concluded that the winter had a toll on the seats of the bridge support peers. 560 square feet of the bridge’s surface was replaced last year, but now requires over $94,000 of structural repair. With the help of an $85,000 grant, work will be underway this summer.

In need of a new utility truck, the board turned down the opportunity to bid on a full $132,000 Mack standard transmission truck to replace an older one, which was in Mattison’s opinion, "the best vehicle in the town’s interest: A more cost-effective, sustainable option for the town." The board will continue to consider other truck bids that mostly include separate trucks, chassis and bodies. They have allocated up to $150,000 for the new utility truck.

Contact Tom Momberg at tmomberg@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomMomberg


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