This report was presented by Essex Town Administrator Brendhan Zubricki at this week’s Board of Selectmen meeting on January 11th.
As the Board is aware, the Town Administrator (TA) is planning to coordinate the migration of the Town’s email system to the Microsoft platform after the Annual Town Meeting in the spring. To that end, the TA has begun discussion of the matter with the consultant that the Town of Hamilton recently used for this service. Hamilton had a situation identical to Essex, which involved a third-party e-mail service being accessed by both webmail and by the Microsoft Outlook e-mail client. Mr. Zubricki had an initial call with the consultant on January 5, 2021 and, in the next few weeks we will have a follow-up call with a network engineer, who will be able to help the vendor price the project for us.
Chairman Pereen and the TA participated in a construction meeting on January 7. Our contractor is presently continuing with a focus on interior work. Verizon installed the necessary copper phone lines for the elevator and fire alarm system during the week of January 4, 2021. Comcast will install a service line for Internet on January 11, using that same communications pole. After we have Internet connectivity, we will begin working with the Regional Dispatch Center and with our VOIP phone provider on next steps in each of those areas. We will also begin to work out routing with our computer consultant (with respect to services provided over our fiber link from Town Hall) and with personnel from the Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS), which provides the police department with access to a variety of state-provided information. The two chiefs and Mr. Zubricki had a preliminary conversation with personnel from the Regional DispatchCenter on January 6, 2021. Our fiber optic contractor plans to install the fiber spur to the building in mid-February, after the server room is 100% completed and cleaned (since dust would cause problems).
Bids for furnishings for the new public safety building were due on January 4. Nine potential bidders had requested bid packages and two potential bidders attended the mandatory field measurement site visit. We received a total of two bids, with the lowest bidder (American Office Furniture) coming in $5,137 lower than the next lowest bidder, at $88,700. American Office Furniture provides “like-new” furniture by purchasing high-quality, pre-used items and
completely restoring them. The other bidder, Staples, did not attend the mandatory site visit and provided lower grade, laminated furniture, which is not within the Town’s quality specifications (moot point since the Staples bid was not the lowest anyway). The contract requires the furniture to be delivered and set up during the week of March 15.
Mr. Zubricki completed the subject checklists for the Senior Center and for the TownHall/Library during the week of January 4, 2021. The exercise is aimed at identifying any safety hazards in a building each quarter and other Town buildings are reviewed by other staff. The TA did not find any new hazards but did note how the Senior Center elevator recently passed the State inspection process and how we have addressed a leak in Town Hall related to snowmelt during a December storm.
Over the New Year’s holiday weekend, the Town Hall fire alarm system began to emit a trouble code for a malfunctioning carbon monoxide detector. Our monitoring company contacted Mr. Zubricki, along with the Fire Chief, about the trouble and, after the Chief checked the building, we agreed that we could have a service technician wait until January 4th to visit the building. A technician arrived on January 4th and he was able to understand and correct the problem. We received another trouble message later in the week, for a different detector. As it turns out, all CO detectors expire after five years of operation. A second technician came and replaced all units, to avoid future messages.
The TA has developed a preliminary draft of the Annual Town Meeting Warrant based on the Board’s guidance over the past several meetings.
The TA has submitted to the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) the monthly grant report for the month of December, 2020. This CZM grant provides funding to study the potential future elevation of the roadbed on the Southern Avenue end of Apple Street, to avoid flooding during tidal storm surges. Over the past month, our contracted engineering firm has started to delve into the feasibility of several scenarios, including raising the roadbed several feet above the last known flood elevation (which itself was already feet above the roadbed).
Boston University personnel assisted with the submittal of the subject report during the week of December 28, 2020. The study is looking at coastal sediment transport along Castle Neck Island and into and throughout Essex Bay. Presently, the team is working on finishing up some computer modeling, among other tasks.