Board requests special Town Meeting to fix High Street
GREENVILLE — The Select Board is asking the state for a special Town Meeting to raise an additional $87,000 required to complete the slope stabilization on High Street and to reopen the road.
The street has been closed since 2010 when a mudslide caused the road to cave in. During Town Meeting in March, the voters approved acceptance of nearly $1.5 million in state and federal funds to make the repairs necessary to reopen the road. But the funding has fallen short of the mark, and with the deadlines for the grants set to expire at the end of December, the town must ask for additional funds to complete the project this year.
During a Select Board meeting Wednesday, the board voted to apply though the N.H. Superior Court for an emergency Town Meeting. After filing, it could take up to a month for the court to make a ruling on whether an emergency meeting is required, Town Administrator Kelley Collins told the board Wednesday.
Originally, the board had planned to ask for $87,000 — 25 percent of the cost to fix High Street, with the remaining 75 percent to be covered by FEMA — as well as funds to include stabilization for the rest of the street in hopes of preventing future collapses.
But while FEMA has agreed to pay for 75 percent of the cost to complete the planned work, the stabilization of the rest of the slope wasn’t in the original scope of the project, and the federal agency declined the town’s request for funds to complete the project all at once, explained Collins on Wednesday.
While the town had originally approved the acceptance of funds to fix High Street, it would not have affected the tax rate for the upcoming year. Collins noted that while, if approved, the $87,000 would affect the tax rate, the town would have enough in the undesignated fund balance to offset the cost at the end of the year, if the Select Board decides to make the transfer.
The cost of a separate engineering and bidding process to complete slope stabilization would be more expensive in the short term, Collins said. If the town applies through FEMA for the funds next year, the federal agency would cover up to 75 percent of the cost of the rest of the stabilization. Currently, the additional work is priced at $297,000. Collins said that with the separate engineering and contingency, the cost was estimated to be closer to $340,000.
Collins told the board that FEMA representatives had indicated chances were good that continuing High Street stabilization would be a good candidate for the program.
The board agreed to ask only for the $87,000 to get High Street back open, and address the rest of the road at a later date.
The Select Board is scheduled to meet next on May 22 at 5:30 p.m. in the Town Hall meeting room.
Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or firstname.lastname@example.org. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.