HARVARD — If Town Administrator Tim Bragan’s report to selectmen last week was lengthier than usual, it was also informative, with updates on projects in progress.
DPW Director Rich Nota received bids for storm water drainage work at Bare Hill Pond, Bragan said. With the low bidder’s contract on the table, he asked the board to approve it.
Bragan said the town’s share is “about half” the total cost of the project and that thanks to grant reimbursement, no added funding “above the normal budget” is needed this year.
Part of a $300,000 grant-funded initiative over several years, the Pond Committee has enough in reserves to pay for the work this year, with added Community Preservation funding plus the annual amount the town kicks in. For now at least, “it’s totally covered,” he said.
The Muncipal Building/Town Hall Committee is working out details for a special permit application, Bragan told the board. The permit and a zoning variance are required to move forward with the $6 million Town Hall renovation project.
Approaching the tasks one at a time, a topographical survey is first on the to-do list.
The cost for GPR to do the survey is $2,600, plus a 10 percent mark-up charged by LLB, the architects, for a total of $2,860.
Bragan asked the board to authorize Chairman Lucy Wallace to sign the current contract, which Town Counsel Mark Lanza has reviewed and revised, he said.
Given that other items on the remedial roster will bring the total to $12,600, including mark-up, the question the board wrestled with was whether documents should be reviewed and signed one at a time, as they come in, or if they should give blanket authorization for Wallace to sign them all.
The billing process didn’t seem relevant to Bill Johnson, “Why not just authorize the chair to commit for the whole amount, however they go about it?” he asked.
“You can,” Wallace said.
But Ron Ricci said he wasn’t comfortable with LLB’s 10-percent stake.
“That’s the contract we signed,” Tim Clark said.
Johnson wondered why the board couldn’t contract with GPR for these services and skip the middleman. “Can’t we do it without them?” he asked. “Are we legally bound and unable to do that?”
Wallace said it’s a matter of GPR and LLB working together throughout the project.
Johnson and Ricci wanted to know if the 10-percent surcharge was for work LLB actually does or if the firm gets that money just to pass along the payment to GPR.
Clark explained that the surcharge is for added work that goes beyond the scope of the original contract with LLB. “The owner (town) was supposed to supply this information and provide needed permits, but we didn’t,” he said.
Now, LLB and GPR are being asked to do the work.
The answer seemed to satisfy Johnson, but not Ricci, who said no when the vote to amend the scope of services was taken. The other four selectmen voted yes. The motion passed. A second motion to authorize Wallace to sign up to $12,600 worth of contracts, including the mark-up, also passed.