Avon's Town Council voted unanimously, in a joint meeting with the Board of Finance Wednesday, to authorize Town Manager Brandon Robertson to award the contract for pre-Halloween snowstorm emergency brush removal to Michael's Tree and Loader Service, of Memphis, TN.
The estimated total is $1,476,190, combining the estimated cost of $1,362,900, including a 5 percent contingency, to remove possibly 100,000 cubic yards of tree debris and an estimated $113,290 in compliance monitoring to ensure the job is being done correctly. The town will be charged for each cubic yard collected, roughly $12.98 per cubic yard, in each 60-yard truck. That is before the town files the expenses with Federal Emergency Management Agency to seek up to 75 percent reimbursement for disaster relief.
Steve Bartha, assistant to the town manager, said that the target start date is Monday.
As part of compliance monitoring, required by FEMA, the town will pay supervisers to follow the 10 or so tree service trucks to ensure they are only picking up eligible debris on public town roads in Avon and to confirm the truckloads of debris are at full capacity. Public Works Director Bruce Williams will supervise the process during the week, assisted primarily by members of the Avon Volunteer Fire Department, who will be paid hourly as temporary employees. Public works staff will help on the weekends, outside of their regular work hours.
The trucks will bring the debris to the former MH Rhodes site on Thompson Road to grind the brush into chips and mulch. The location, which is fairly removed from other buildings, was selected bearing in mind the noise of grinding tree debris.
Thompson Brook School is located down the road. Superintendent Gary Mala has been informed that there could be more traffic in the morning when the school buses are traveling because of the trucks circulating town roads during the brush removal process.
The council recommended Michael's as a contractor instead of the contractor the state is utilizing as part of its debris management program to clear the debris left on the curbside of properties on or abutting state-maintained roads like Routes 10, 44, 177 and 202 in Avon. The Board of Finance agreed and the council authorized Robertson to officially award the contract to Michael's, which was chosen as the lowest bidder over nine other bidding contractors. Avon saved an estimated $577,237 by not selecting state's contractor to clear the public town roads, as well, Bartha confirmed.
The brush removal process should take about 20 consecutive days, town officials confirmed, amounting to 50 truckload per day between 6:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.
The intense 87.5-hour week is necessary, Williams said, due to the impending snow as winter rapidly approaches.
Residents should move all debris to the curbside and will have until Nov. 21 to do so. Debris can not exceed 20 feet and cannot weigh in over 9,000 pounds
While the clean-up of private roads would not be eligible for FEMA reimbursement, Councilman William Shea II (D), who will continue to serve on the council until Christopher May (R) starts his term in January, was adamant that the council look into ways of helping residents living on private roads.
“I want to have a good, solid response for anyone who lives in Avon,” said Shea.
Competing bidder Ceres Environmental Services, Inc. was also in attendance at the special meeting in order to remind the council that FEMA has deemed it acceptable for towns to award bids to more than one contractor on a line item basis. Williams responded saying that town chose not to split the project up and instead focused on the bottom line, noting that Ceres would have charged $571,844 more than Michael's for the entire process.
As of noon Thursday there are 12 customers without power, .14 percent of town, according to the CL&P outage map.
“We know where they're at and there's very specific reasons this is happening, whether it's equipment that needs to be ordered or specialized expertise," Robertson said. "We can target communication to those areas. It should be fixed very quickly.”
Chairman Mark Zacchio (R) urged the council to make contact with these individuals.
“I want to make sure we're targeting these people who don't have power. Make sure they know what's going on, what to expect; if we have to get trucks out there and talk to them, so be it," Zacchio said. "I don't want another day to go by without getting to them. I don't want to forget about them.”