China special meeting needed to settle final fiscal bills

by Mary Grow

China selectmen held a special meeting Friday, June 29, to deal with final bills as the fiscal year ended and to review and accept bids on two major culvert projects.

The bids were for new culverts to let Hunter Brook pass under Bog Brook Road and Pleasant View Ridge Road. Selectmen had six bids for Bog Brook Road and five for Pleasant View Ridge.

Prices for Bog Brook Road went from $111,217.50 from Ranger Contracting of Winslow to $380,000; selectmen unanimously chose Ranger Contracting. For the Pleasant View Ridge work, bids went from $153,000 from Nitram Excavation of Benton to $395,000; selectmen again unanimously chose the low bidder, Nitram Excavation.

At the March town business meeting, voters appropriated up to $150,000 for the Bog Brook Road culvert, approving a special article for major road work. The Pleasant View Ridge Road culvert is to come from the regular road appropriation plus a state grant of almost $100,000, with a local match that former Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux said in the spring would probably not exceed 15 percent.

The only other major business June 29 was review and preliminary approval of a revised memorandum of understanding with China’s fire departments and rescue service, dealing primarily with the stipends for volunteers that voters at the March town business meeting approved for a second year.

Revisions are intended to make it absolutely clear that the payments are for services rendered; they are not wages and the volunteers are not town employees. New Town Manager Dennis Heath said the revised agreement, discussed with fire and rescue chiefs and drafted with legal advice, is consistent with state law, the Fair Labor Standards Act and Internal Revenue Service rules.

Selectmen proposed minor changes to the draft memorandum, which Heath said he planned to review again with the fire and rescue chiefs.

As of June 29, selectmen planned to meet again Monday evening, July 9. One potential agenda item is review of bids for the new bridge at the head of China Lake’s east basin.


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