Council votes on airport renovations, town partnerships

Robertson Airport during a recent Wings and Wheels event.

By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

The town council approved several agreements—from airport renovations to partnerships for building inspections, recycling, and road repair—at a special meeting of the council on Thursday, Aug. 1.

A grant worth $169,200 has been awarded by the Federal Aviation Administration to be used for the redesigning of the Robertson Airport taxiway. Town Manager Robert Lee explained that the town had previously executed repairs on the runway and a portion of the apron.

The project has an estimated total cost of $188,000. Currently, the town plans to design the repaving of the taxiway this year, and to get construction funds to be used during the construction to take place next year.

Lee said the town expects a federal government reimbursement of approximately 90%, as well as some funding from the state of Connecticut, leaving the town’s expected share of the cost in the area of 5%.

Councilor Deborah Tompkins asked the town manager if the aviation commission was still discussing lengthening the runway and taxiway at Robertson Airport, making it easier for jets to come in. Lee said that kind of work would be an issue because of the impact on the wetlands, unless the runway was extended in the opposite direction—going north over Northwest Drive. But, said Lee, there are no plans to extend the runway and that project is not “really on their radar screen any time soon, it may never be.”

Plainville will once again share building inspection services with the City of Bristol, in a one-year contract to extend through June 30, 2020.

Lee said that during the previous year’s memorandum of understanding, the process worked out fairly well. Thus year, Plainville anticipates saving somewhere in the range of $25,000 to $30,000, about the cost of a full time salary. There was a slight increase in cost, from about $36 an hour to $40 an hour, due to miscalculations in last year’s contract. But, Lee said, Plainville is still in line with the budgeted amount.

Plainville building inspector, Foster Zucchi, still works about two days each week in the department. Additional building inspections will be handled by the City of Bristol building inspectors. Plainville residents hoping to schedule an inspection should continue to contact the Plainville Building Department, (860)-793-0221 ext. 212.

Beginning Monday, Sept. 29, and concluding on June 30, 2021, the Town of Plainville and Murphy Road Recycling LLC., will enter into an agreement with the Bristol Resource Recovery Facility Operating Committee, to manage the recycling changes that have recently occurred.

Lee explained that rather than receiving a credit of about $9 per ton of recyclables, the town is currently paying Murphy Road about $80 per ton to remove recyclables. That cost, he said, is in line with what other towns and cities are paying to have recyclables removed.

Plainville officials had previously contacted Willimantic Waste out of Windham, Connecticut, who charges in the range of $60 per ton. Willimantic Waste expressed that they are essentially full client-wise and would not consider working with the town at this time. However, Lee explained, the additional charges to have Willimantic Waste commute to Plainville would drive their prices in-line with Murphy Road, eliminating any possible savings.

Councilor Ty Cox asked if there was any way to predict how much the market would fluctuate, and Lee said it’s really tough to predict. Because of that, “there is an out in the contract that allows for if the recyclables go up more than 25% in any short period of time.”

The council approved awarding a bid to U-Seal USA, of Newington in an amount not to exceed $50,000 for roadway crack resealing. This project would be funded using money that is designated from the state under the State Town and Road Account. Lee explained that these funds are typically used for buying salt or other winter roadway materials, as well as some miscellaneous roadwork.

All four items received unanimous approval by the town council. The next scheduled meeting of the Plainville Town Council is set for Monday, Aug. 19, at 7 p.m., in the town municipal building.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@BristolObserver.com.