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Selectmen agree to research regulation change to aid Water Dept.


TOWNSEND — Water Superintendent Paul Rafuse stood before the Board of Selectmen (BOS) Tuesday to discuss changing a bylaw that would facilitate his position in the field.

Rafuse needed the selectmen’s signatures on a work order change for $7,392 on work that was done in September while his department was making improvements to a main installed on Warren and Shirley roads.

“I need your signatures on anything over $5,000. If I can’t do the work until I get pre-approval, it can sometimes affect the job,” Rafuse said.

Collins suggested a bylaw change that would allow Rafuse to do work order changes without having to schedule appointments for selectmen’s signatures.

“I would like to be excluded from the $5,000 cap. I’m not trying to get around anything, I’m just trying to streamline the process,” Rafuse said.

Rafuse’s department works off water receipts, not tax dollars.

Chairman Daniel Murphy agreed with a change that would alleviate this process so Rafuse could make changes to orders without approval of the board.

“We want the process to be flexible and easy to use. I would like to sit with you and the commissioners and maybe we can research this and try to tailor the bylaw to you,” he said.

The selectmen signed the change order and asked town administrator Gregory Barnes to get a legal opinion on the bylaw change from town counsel.

Rafuse also asked the selectmen to approve a contract of $17,990 with JJS Universal for installation of vinyl siding and some structural repair to the Water Department office building at 540 Main Street.

“Is the procurement process done and followed all the way through?” Collins asked.

All sealed bids were looked at, said Rafuse, and the best one was chosen.

“It was sealed bids as it is a public building,” he said. The board signed the request.

In other business, the selectmen received word that the town got a credit of $251.94 from Village Forge Inc. for work on the library stairs.

Collins said the engineer first submitted a change of work order for an additional $14,000, but library trustees caught a math error, and brought it to his attention.

“The trustees went over the change order and discovered the error, and we want to thank them very much. This is definitely good news,” he said.

One factor that also contributed to the credit “is (that) they did not put on new rails, they decided to stick with the old rails that were there so that made a money difference as well,” Barnes said.