By Mary Macedo, Neighb News Correspondent
At its meeting on Monday, 8/8, the Fairhaven Board of Public Works faced a variety of topics, including Pokemon Go issues at Fort Phoenix.
Contractor, Shawn Guillotte met with the board to discuss a driveway violation and waiver at 10 Cherry Street. Mr. Guillotte informed the board that during the driveway installation, he was not on site, but understood that he would still be fined.
Brian Wotton informed Mr. Guillotte of the $300 fine. The board showed some concern with the violation of the cobblestone apron because of their worries about plowing snow.
BPW chairperson Mike Ristuccia explained that if a town plow damages the cobblestone, it would not be the town’s fault. He said he wanted to make sure that Mr. Guillotte, as well as the homeowners were aware of that. Mr. Guillotte agreed and said the homeowners were aware of the situation.
The board voted to levy the fine.
The board also interviewed Dan Snell for a Water System Maintenance Craftsman job. Mr. Snell told the board that he has worked for the Highway Department for a long time, but as he is getting older, he is looking for something less taxing on his body.
Mr. Snell also said that he does not have a water license, but is willing to take the classes immediately.
Public works superintendent Vincent Furtado said he had one concern with hiring Mr. Snell.
“I’m nervous if he doesn’t get the license we’re going to lose him because we will hire someone else to fill his highway position,” said Mr. Furtado, adding that Mr. Snell was a very good employee, which is why Mr. Furtado would hate to lose him.
The board agreed that the best way to ensure Mr. Snell gets his license was to give him a time frame. Mr. Wotton made a motion to hire Mr. Snell, but have a review in six months to see how far along Mr. Snell is with getting his license.
Stantec Consulting Services met with the board next to discuss entering a contract to upgrade the sewer treatment plant, as well as upgrading two pumping stations, and replacing some equipment.
The contract would be for the design, bidding, and construction at the cost of $1,188,000. With design completed, the project would be ready to start immediately, with the estimated completion date being October 2018.
Mr. Wotton said he had one concern regarding PCBs. He asked if while upgrading the facilities would it be covered by the contract if they found things like PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) or would the board get billed extra for it.
The representative from Stantec informed the board that everything would be covered and they would get no further bill.
The board voted to approve the contract.
Resident Francis Budryk, One Main Street, met with the board about an ongoing issue with sewer backups in his basement. Mr. Budryk said he wanted to be reimbursed for a $429 Roto-Rooter bill he had incurred, due to a backup that he believed was the town’s fault.
Mr. Furtado explained that Mr. Budryk first called Roto-Rooter when sewer water began to back up and flood Mr. Budryk’s basement. After Roto-Rooter employees told Mr. Budryk that they believed it was a problem with the town line, Mr.Budryk decided to call the town.
Jeff Furtado, the foreperson for the Sewer department, told Mr. Budryk he would be there within the hour. The Sewer department employees showed up about 45-50 minutes later to inspect the problem.
Mr. Budryk said that during that time he had company over his house and he began to get worried when the town employees had not showed up yet. During the 45-50 minute window that Mr. Budryk waited, he got nervous and told the Roto-Rooter employees to unclog the town line.
When town employees showed up to inspect the town line, it was clear.
Mr. Budryk said a clump of roots had been clogging up the town line that Roto-Rooter removed.
Because the roots were removed before town employees arrive, there was no way to be sure if the roots were in the town line or the private line.
Because the town employees arrived at Mr. Budryk’s house and the work was already done, public works Superintendent Vincent Furtado decided not to bill Mr. Budryk the $220 for the sewer employees’ time.
But he did not have authority to pay for the Roto-Rooter bill.
Mr. Budryk told the board he thought he should be reimbursed for the cost of his Roto-Rooter bill because the clog was in the town’s line and because of the town not helping him in the past.
Mr. Budryk said that he called the town last February because he had water in his basement. He said the town came and said there was nothing they could do.
He said the next time he called Roto-Rooter, they cleaned some roots out of the private line. The next day Mr. Budryk said he had a flood again. He called Roto-Rooter again and they said it was a problem with the town’s line, which was the day of the bill in question.
Mr. Budryk also said that Roto-Rooter sent a camera all the way into the town’s line, which showed a break and leakage in the line.
The board questioned whether or not a leak would cause backup and a flood. Mr. Furtado told the board that it was unlikely that the break caused the backup.
It was likely that it was roots that caused the backup, but Mr. Furtado said there was no way to tell which line the roots came from because they were already out when the town employees got there.
“Do you think I am fabricating… why would I lie,” asked Mr. Budryk.
He then began repeating the story , but was interrupted by Mr. Ristuccia who said, “I think you have spoken well about your point.”
“I think there was some clog in your private line and some clog in the public line,” said Mr. Hobson. “I think the town should pay half the bill.”
He made a motion to split the $429 bill, which was not seconded.
Mr. Wotton informed Mr. Budryk that Roto-Rooter does not have permission to go into the town’s public lines. Mr. Wotton then questioned how much the bill would have been had the town billed Mr. Budryk for the town employees, which was $220.
Mr. Wotton suggested if they subtract the $220 bill that Mr. Budryk was not billed for it would be $209. Mr. Wotton then suggested they split the difference of the $209, which would be $104.50.
Mr. Wotton made a motion to reimburse Mr. Budryk $104.50, which was seconded and agreed upon by everyone except Mr. Hobson.
“You can keep 104 dollars and I will go to the small claims court,” said Mr. Budryk.
Mr. Ristuccia said, “Still to this minute I am not convinced that the roots weren’t in your pipe.”
Mr. Ristuccia said because Mr. Budryk’s private line was a clay pipe, he thought it was more likely that the clay pipe was clogged not the town pipe.
Mr. Budryk stood up from his chair and yelled, “Do you think I would lie?”
Mr. Wotton said he would have no problem reimbursing the whole bill if Mr. Budryk had just waited the hour for the town to show up because if Mr. Budryk waited, the sewer employees would have been able to see the roots for themselves.
Mr. Budryk quickly retreated out of the room stating he would be going to a judge.
In another matter the board discussed Gary Lavalette’s presence at Fort Phoenix. Mr. Lavalette is a volunteer caretaker at the fort.
Mr. Wotton explained that Mr. Lavalette was at Fort Phoenix last week and took his truck up near the cannons to pick up trash, and a police officer told Mr. Lavalette that he could not be there with his truck.
Mr. Lavalette wanted permission to be there with his truck to pick up trash and take care of the fort.
Mr. Hobson said, “I can appreciate what he is doing.”
He said there should be certain hours he should be allowed there with his truck.
Both Kathy Sturtevant and Mr. Wotton commended Mr. Lavalette for doing a good job at the fort, and said if he did not do it no one would.
Mr. Ristuccia suggested that they give Mr. Lavalette permission for the next six months and then he must come back and renew.
Mr. Wotton made a motion to give Mr. Lavalette a letter to allow him access to the fort from sunrise to sunset for working with his truck.
Ms. Sturtevant seconded; all agreed except for Mr. Hobson, who made a motion for Mr. Lavalette to be allowed from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., which was not seconded.
“If something happens I’m going to say ‘I told you so.’” said Mr. Hobson.
Mr. Ristuccia said, “Let’s take the risk for a few months.”
The topic of Fort Phoenix continued with the issues concerning the new video game Pokemon Go. Mr. Ristuccia said he had received a lot of complaints from people who live near the Fort who say players have been parking in front of their houses and walking on their lawns.
Mr. Furtado said he has also received emails about the parking, as well as the noise coming from the fort late at night and people drinking and smoking pot.
Mr. Furtado said that they have started picking up trash more often, tripled the number of trash barrels, and have a strong police presence, but there has still been thousands of dollars in damage to the cannons.
Mr. Furtado also stated that the Selectboard was having a meeting at the same time as the BPW meeting, so they would wait to see what the Selectboard decided.
Mr. Hobson questioned why the Selectboard was making the decisions and not the BPW.
“The Selectboard owns the parks and we maintain them,” said Mr. Furtado.
“A lot of people didn’t even know about the Fort,” said Mr. Hobson. “It’s amazing when I go down there. They are starting to enjoy the place now.”
“I just don’t think it is necessary at night,” said Mr. Furtado.
“The meeting with the Selectboard tonight will make a decision,” said Mr. Ristuccia.
Before the meeting was adjourned Mr. Hobson brought up Ms. Sturtevant’s previous request for a re-vote of her request to participate in meetings remotely.
Mr. Hobson asked when they would be voting on it, but because board member Jarrod Lussier was not at the meeting, the vote would have to wait.
The next meeting will be on 8/29.
Click to download the 8/18/16 issue: 08-18-16 RogersBell