HARTFORD — Selectmen heard opinions from two town officials Thursday night about policies and procedures for road projects.

The issues of soliciting bids for jobs costing more than $5,000 and whether to require that an engineer plan major reconstruction work have sparked heated debate among selectmen, Road Committee members and Road Commissioner Jeremy Johnson this summer.

The five-member Road Committee was appointed to develop a prioritized list of road projects and a schedule for completing them. Among projects scheduled for this summer is rebuilding and paving Gurney Hill Road.

Town policy requires that bids be solicited for jobs costing more than $5,000. Selectmen voted June 19 to get bids for the work, but rescinded that vote July 3.

On Thursday, Johnson told selectmen he preferred bids be solicited and contracts awarded according to the bidders’ expertise and equipment.

Code Enforcement Officer William Kennedy, who is a licensed engineer, presented the board with a letter Thursday, stating his opinion that the town would incur considerable costs if they insisted road work require a professional engineer.

“The engineer, after commission, would arrange a survey of the entire proposed right of way, followed by geotechnical studies that will expose all underground features, then provide a detailed design and specifications, which will itemize all work that needs to be in the contract,” he said in his letter. “Why do all this work? Because change orders due to unforeseen obstacles are incredibly expensive.

“It is my opinion that the 100-plus years of cumulative experience of local contractors and the elected road commissioner serve the town of Hartford well. The roads that they have undertaken to rebuild/repair have served the community well and those efforts have saved the town countless dollars. I believe that the town should continue to take advantage of those local assets.”

Harley Swanson, chairman of the Road Committee and a town road worker, said he thought the one-year plan on ditching and culvert work would be completed this fall.

Also Thursday, selectmen discussed the following:

*Planning Board permits by Thomas Mawhinney for a garage;

*the removal of a dead tree on Garden Drive by Morrill Nason to replace a deck;

*and a dwelling to be built by Jack Adams on Moses Young Road.


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