OTISFIELD — The Board of Selectmen signed a contract with Ross Cudlitz for engineering services to review, evaluate and model the design of the Cobb Hill Road erosion project.

The $5,795 contract was reviewed and signed by the board at its meeting Wednesday night in the Community Hall on Route 121.

Cast-iron water pipes in the Town Office Annex farther south on Route 121 burst, forcing the board to meet at the hall. A year-old thermostat failed, leaving no heat in the Annex, Selectman Rick Micklon said.

The pipes will have to replaced but the leakage was minimal and there was no damage to the Annex, he said.

The contract with Cudlitz will get the town through Phase I, information gathering and analysis, and Phase II, computer modeling of the assessment for the project. The work is intended to keep sediment from flowing off the hill into Thompson Lake. Selectmen are looking to take the $5,795 from the road account.

Officials said work for the first two phases is intended to support and confirm hypothesizes that multiple culverts, more ditching, more plunge pools, properly sized riprap and private and public water diversions will be the solution to what is considered a large-scale erosion problem.

A third phase, to determine exactly what work would be accomplished and in what order, will require an additional $10,000.

“It doesn’t give us anything to go out to bid with,” Micklon said.

After hearing from the Otisfield Conservation Committee and town residents about the road’s condition, selectmen agreed to move forward with the project and hire Cudlitz, an engineer who has successfully worked with Otisfield before.

In other action, the board agreed to change a long-standing policy of not allowing former board members who resigned to be reappointed to that committee. On a 2-1 vote, with Selectman Len Adler voting against the measure, the board decided it would allow a case-by-case review of anyone who wished to be reappointed to a committee on which they previously held a seat.

Adler said he felt the move “opened the door” for someone with an “agenda” to get back on a board specifically for a self-interest issue.

Following the action, the board reappointed Pixie Williams to the Conservation Commission. Williams requested the reappointment in a letter to the board.

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