HARTFORD — Selectmen voted Thursday night for the Ricker Hill Road project to proceed as planned despite a possible conflict of interest with the bidding.

The reclaiming will begin Tuesday, Road Commissioner Jeremy Johnson said. 

Selectman Zoe Cowett said she had received phone calls questioning Johnson’s bid on the project. A clause in the road ordinance says a bid committee shall be made up of one selectman, the road commissioner and the chairman of the road committee. The wording eliminates the road commissioner from bidding on a road project due to a potential conflict of interest.

However, a bid committee has yet to be formed.

Selectman Jack Plumley said he was seeking legal advice on the assignment of the road commissioner to the bidding committee. Plumley said road commissioners have to make a living as well and this clause in the ordinance would prohibit them from bidding. Johnson is one of the bidders on the Ricker Hill project. Plumley said that project has been planned long before the ordinance was adopted in June and was grandfathered.

In other business, the board voted to have the code enforcement officer follow up on all tree harvesting near brooks and their tributaries. Plumley said that harvesting within the last year had been too close to Sparrow Brook and the bridge had been taken out before cutting was finished. He said trucks had driven through the brook. Plumley said he thought the state forester had not been diligent enough in enforcing the rules.

The railroad bed trail was under discussion again concerning the sink holes near the bridge. Selectmen’s Chairman Lee Holman said that the Recreation Committee was not under town control, but in the same category as social services and could act on what it wanted.

Plumley said the committee needed to consider the boardwalk at the beach before getting gravel for the trail. He said maybe some of the ditching material from Ricker Hill Road could be used on the railroad bed.

Holman pointed out that Plumley had not wanted to spend any money on the railroad bed trail and this would no doubt cost the town if Johnson brought in fill. Discussion was postponed until Holman could talk to Johnson.

The board discussed having Judy Hamilton take photos of the town for the joint calendar with Canton. Proceeds will be used for the dam on Lake Anasagunticook. Anyone with black and white photos of Hartford is invited to bring them to the office. They do no want digital photos.

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