At the Annual Town Meeting in May, Bethany voters approved the purchase of a salt shed to be constructed behind the town garage as part of a bond initiative. Unlike the old garage facility where only enough salt for a few smaller storms could be stored at any given time, the construction of this building will allow the Department of Public Works to purchase and store a larger volume of salt in the summer when salt prices are very low instead of paying top dollar or going without in January and February when inventories are depleted. “We learned an expensive lesson in 2013 and 2014, “said DPW Director, Alan Green. “There was literally almost no supply of salt anywhere in the state. Any salt that was available was at a premium price. At one point, we had to borrow salt from Orange to get through a bad storm because we had used up our supply.” Since that experience, Mr. Green had been lobbying the Board of Finance to fund the construction of a larger facility and in the budget proposal for 2016-2017, the taxpayers approved an appropriation for $350,000 for “costs related to the construction of a road salt storage facility for the use of the Bethany Highway Department.” At that same meeting, Mr. Green explained that the building would be purchased from and constructed by Dome Corporation but the foundation work would be done by the Bethany Highway Department within his DPW budget.
The Department commenced excavation and began grading and compacting the ground to prepare for installation of the building. During the excavation, the Department discovered that instead of easily compacted dirt and gravel, it found dozens of old tree stumps and other buried material that was unsuitable for compaction, required the stumps and other materials to be removed and the replacement suitable materials to allow for safe and proper compaction. Due to the removal of the stumps and other materials, the depth of the foundation was increased, requiring the engineer to design the building to be placed on footings instead of directly on the surface. The unexpected footings and related work increased the cost of the foundation by about $80,000.