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May 2021 Town Manager's Message

At the direction of the Commission, the Town has begun the process to expedite the conversion of overhead utilities to underground locations. These efforts require coordination and design efforts involving all of the Town’s utility providers with overhead lines, such as power, communications, and internet companies. Once the design phase has been completed and agreements with these companies are in place, the Town can move forward to ensure all feeder and lateral lines (laterals are connected directly to homes and businesses) are buried.

As of Spring 2021, the Town is in Phase 1 of the project, when designs by the utility providers are completed and the design coordination of all utilities, including water and sewer lines, are made. Once those plans have been created, residents will have an idea of where and what type of aboveground infrastructure, such as utility boxes, will be located. Phase 1 of the project includes payments for:

• Utility providers such as FPL, Atlantic Broadband, and AT&T to complete their design efforts;
• Design coordination efforts up to a 50% deign level by a qualified professional engineering firm;
• Project management and construction cost estimating.

Phase 1 of the project, which will provide the Town with a construction cost estimate and a level of design to know where above ground utility infrastructure will be located, is expected to cost about $425,000 of which $290,000 is for the design coordination effort.

When Phase 1 has been finalized, the undergrounding item will be presented to the Commission. The Commission will then decide if a ballot question will be placed for a vote of the residents to decide whether the Town should borrow the funds to complete the project. The “ball park” cost estimated during the November 2020 referendum was $16 to $18 million. The full project is expected to take three to four years. Additional discussion on this issue, including the authorization to expend $290,000 on the design coordination effort, will take place during the next Commission meeting. We share more about the project in the graphic below.

Andrew Hyatt, Town Manager