At this week’s Berlin Mayor and Council meeting a contract with EA Engineering received a significant extension, a “paper road” was closed near Stephen Decatur Park and a report was given regarding a leak under Williams Street.
Stormwater Contract Increase
An additional $45,000 was added to the town’s contract with EA Engineering this week as Berlin looks to begin major stormwater projects within the next few months.
“Looking at our activities coming up for the remainder of the fiscal year we think this is a reasonable estimate of where they’ll be spending their time and how much money we’ll need going forward,” said Town Administrator Laura Allen.
Allen added that Berlin has been pleased with the job that’s been done since 2010 by EA and reported the firm maintains a solid relationship with town staff. The $45,000 will go toward the on-call contract that the town has with the firm, allowing Berlin to use their services on a case-by-case basis.
Mayor Gee Williams noted that the town is beginning to spend more on the services than in years past but that doing so was normal given Berlin’s recent commitment to solving its stormwater problem. The contract could be further expanded in years to come and Williams asked EA Engineering representative Darl Kolar if any estimate has been made yet about future costs.
“Will you have some good feel for how much should be budgeted next year?” asked the mayor.
A rough number isn’t clear yet, replied Kolar, but should be available soon.
“We’ll know a lot better what effort may be needed in the next couple of months with a lot of grant activity that we’re hoping to be submitting for,” he said.
Kolar does anticipate next year being a “big year” in terms of a major overhaul to Berlin’s stormwater infrastructure. So far most of the stormwater work has been number crunching and planning. Councilwoman Paula Lynch asked Kolar when the town could expect to see some shovels actually in the dirt.
“I would like to be able to do Flower Street and/or Williams Street early next spring,” Kolar told the council.
Abandoned Street Closed
Attorney Joe Moore requested the council close Commodore Street and to convey property to his clients who live next to the site.
“If you all would close Commodore Street, which is 30 feet in width, then actually what would happen would be my clients, who are the adjacent property owners to the south, would get 15 feet and the town would actually get 15 additional feet without anybody claiming it to add to the usage of [Stephen Decatur Park],” Moore said.
For all intents and purposes, Commodore Street is already non-existent, explained Moore. It had been planned to run parallel to Burley Street but never came to fruition as intended.
“It’s a no-brainer that Commodore Street doesn’t have any public purpose as a street,” he told the council. “That goes without saying.”
Moore’s request would also include the conveyance of 10 feet of property to his clients as well as the extension of their property line by 15 feet to the middle of Commodore Street. Beyond that, Moore sought a guarantee that the council would not add a new road to the location.
“The most important thing that we want to do is to have the town not agree to put a street from Burley Street across our lots 5 and 18 to get anywhere,” he said.
Parks Commission member Patricia Dufendach cautioned the council about closing the road as it provides a common route for walkers entering Stephen Decatur Park.
“I do want to remind you that these public streets, these paper roads, they don’t seem like much but people walk on them every day,” she said.
Williams agreed but felt that closing the road wouldn’t shut that path for walkers.
The council voted unanimously to close the street and convey the property as per Moore’s request.
Leak Impacts Water Pressure
A water leak has sprung up under the freshly renovated Williams Street
“It’s coming up on Williams Street right where they just finished paving. And we’re waiting for a specialist to come in, and pin-point the exact location because, as most of you know, there’s 18 inches of concrete underneath the asphalt and we’d hate to dig up that road after it has looked so nice,” said Jane Kreiter, director of water resources.
The town hopes the leak will only be a minor issue such as a cracked service line. Anything more extensive could necessitate road work.
“We want to limit the amount of disturbance on Williams Street because it just looks so beautiful now,” said Kreiter.
The leak hasn’t caused too much trouble so far but has required the town to limit water along the line, reducing water pressure.
“People were calling saying that they were out of water but it was just that the pressure had reduced substantially,” Kreiter said.