China selectmen revisit fire pond issue

by Mary Grow

At their June 25 meeting China selectmen revived the Neck Road fire pond they killed at their June 11 meeting, when they voted to fill it in. New Town Manager Dennis Heath presented cost estimates – not bids, he emphasized – for three options: filling the pond, re-configuring it with sloped sides and digging a new properly designed pond farther from Neck Road.

The existing pond was dug last fall with steep sides that Heath said are caving in. It is close enough to Neck Road to make selectmen worry about damaging the side of the road. Estimated cost of filling it is $14,400, including material and labor. Re-configuring it would cost about as much just for material and would create a pond too small to be useful, Heath said.

The proposed new pond would be farther from the road, 12 feet deep in the deepest part, with sloping sides and a capacity of 240,000 gallons. Estimated costs, from three people, ranged from $14,400 downward.

Selectmen voted unanimously to authorize Heath to get necessary legal documents prepared and signed by the landowners involved and town officials, and to reallocate $6,000 intended for guardrail to work on the new pond.

In other business, selectmen paid numerous almost-year-end bills and scheduled a special meeting for 4 p.m. Friday, June 29, primarily to pay any more bills that come in as the fiscal year ends June 30.

Tax Increment Finance (TIF) Committee member Tom Michaud reported that the subcommittee he heads expects bids on the new bridge at the head of China Lake’s east basin at the end of the week. After the bridge work, scheduled for late September and October of this year, plans for phase two, a walkway along the shore, are indefinite and plans to improve the boat landing are blocked by lack of parking.

Selectmen have approached resident Susan Bailey about selling her small lot on the north side of the causeway where boat-landing users now park. Bailey told them she will sell her entire property, the small lot plus a larger one across Lakeview Drive, but not the small piece separately.

Selectmen unanimously directed Heath or departing Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux or both to tell Bailey the town is still interested in acquiring her land. Voters have approved spending up to $10,000 from TIF funds for the causeway lot, but have not been asked about the larger property.

Board members voted unanimously to buy a new one-ton pick-up truck with a V plow for $36,990, to be taken from the capital equipment reserve fund. They decided not to trade in the town’s 2012 pick-up, figuring it will still be useful.

As selectmen reviewed the many committee and other appointments that they need to make for the new fiscal year, the town managers said Animal Control Officer Peter E. Nerber plans to resign unless he can get an assistant, since his son, Peter A. Nerber, no longer works with him. Heath said he is looking for someone to help the senior Nerber.

The China town office will be closed Saturday, June 30, in preparation for the 5 p.m. reception in the portable building for retiring Town Manager L’Heureux. The office will also be closed Wednesday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day.

According to the town website, the next regular selectmen’s meeting, after the June 29 special meeting, is scheduled for Monday evening, July 9.


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