March 12, 2007
Present: Ed Melanson, Chairman; Ellen Friedman, Member; Dan Winslow, Member
Absent: Harvey Nasuti, Vice Chairman; Vida Holmes, Member
Ed Melanson called the meeting to order at 7:05 at the Town Hall in Room 214.
Open Public Forum:
Mr. Melanson recognized representatives from Boy Scout Pack 80. The boys introduced themselves, and stated that they were attending in order to earn a merit badge for Citizenship in the Community. Mr. Winslow gave the Boy Scouts a brief description of how meetings of town Boards and Committees are held, why they are always recorded, etc. Mr. Vito noted that he will be meeting with the Boy Scouts later in the week to further discuss some aspects of the meeting.
Tighe & Bond Update:
Mr. Melanson continued with the next item on the agenda, follow up and future planning with Tighe & Bond. Mr. Dumais noted that the last master plan detailing future direction of the Water Department was done in 1992. Mr. Vito stated that he is in discussions with the Master Plan Committee; a preliminary plan is to be presented at Town Meeting, with a completion goal set for October, 2006.
Mr. Winslow inquired of Mr. Dumais what other towns do with regard to institutional users’ high water consumption. Mr. Dumais stated that some towns just leave it as is, so bigger users end up paying more; other communities have established commercial rates.
Mr. Melanson & Mr. Vito discussed reviewing the list of deliverables. Prior to finalizing the contract, Mr. Vito would review the Contract Agreement against the services performed by Tighe & Bond, then report back to the Board. Tighe & Bond felt that deliverables with regard to the interim rates have been fulfilled, but more information is needed on both sides to decide where to go from this point, as far as future planning. Mr. Melanson stated that his understanding is that we should be able to use the model provided by Tighe & Bond for future planning, and therefore the project is complete. Mr. Winslow stated that since we are a little under budget, perhaps there is opportunity for more work by Tighe & Bond in order not to go through a whole new appropriation process in the future. Specifically, 1) to have the consulting engineer communicate with the Master Plan Committee to ensure expert opinions are considered; 2) to determine what an appropriate Retained Earnings amount is;
3) Water Division revenue accounting – ways to decrease cost/increase pace of revenue collection in order to optimize time/value benefit of money, i.e. lock boxes, monthly/quarterly billing, etc.
Mr. Dumais stated that more time than anticipated was spent on trying to get a handle on current revenues, since the DPW needs to rely on Finance for this information; Mr. Dumais suggested that it might be beneficial for the DPW to have more first-hand responsibility for these items. Mr. Winslow suggested that perhaps the balance of the budget for the Rate Study could be put toward a “Best Practices Memorandum” by Tighe & Bond, outlining such recommendations.
Mr. Vito raised the question of how to move from interim rate to set rate.
Sewer planning in the Town was discussed briefly and it was agreed that discussion concerning sewer planning was premature and should be tabled for a later date.
Mr. Dumais was instructed to put together a Best Practices Memorandum, not-to-exceed the balance of the original budgeted amount for the Rate Study.
Before continuing with the Report from the Director of Public Works, Mr. Winslow made a motion to approve the Federated Church’s request to conduct an Easter Sunrise Service at the Norfolk Cemetery on Sunday, April 8, 2006, from approximately 6:00 A.M. to approximately 7:00 A.M. Mr. Melanson seconded, and it was so voted.
Mr. Melanson continued with the Report from the Director of Public Works:
Meter Replacement Program:
AMR System: Meter reader proposals that were reviewed entailed more than first though. First we were looking at fixed network systems, operated with Truck mount unit. The next system we looked at was a wireless system (AMR), where information could be collected at the office via computer. First glance, AMR seemed much more expensive, so we bid both. After bidding, AMRs came in at anywhere from $23,000-$147,000 for AMR. Mr. Vito noted one very low bid from Irby, who had altered the bid document, and was rejected. Mr. Vito did call Irby and discerned that their systems does operate on a cell tower, for which we would pay a lease for their server every year, ultimately costing more money in the long-run; this system is also more appropriate for multiple utility concerns. Mr.
Vito stated that 2 AMR companies had warranted a closer look: Putnam Pipe with a “Sensus” system and Mass Installations with a “KP” system. Some of our criteria are that it is a system we can easily maintain - that runs on our own FCC frequency. Repeaters for the Sensus systems are $30-40,000 each; KP system repeaters are $6-7,000 each. KP system will adapt to all meters. Mr. Melanson clarified that the KP price can be calculated on a per-meter basis. Mr. Winslow made a motion to award the AMR bid to Mass Installations for a cost not to exceed $480,503.00. Mr. Melanson seconded, and it was so voted.
Meters: Discussion continued regarding a letter received from the vendor who had been preliminarily awarded the meter bid, although no contract had yet been signed. The letter is being forwarded to Town Counsel. After preliminary award, as we continued to purchased these Sensus meters at the original price, not the new price which would be contracted, it became apparent that many meters were malfunctioning. The DPW did some in-house testing and found one out of every 5 meters to be failing. Mr. Melanson suggested that we stop buying Sensus meters. It was decided to table discussion of the meter bid until the next meeting, March 26, 2007.
Route 115 Water Main Extension:
Last year, Town Meeting authorized consolidating already committed but unspent funds, to fund the Rte. 115 TIP Project. Project estimates came in under the total figure of $361,000. Between the Town Meeting and project implementation, we got approval from Boston to redesign the cross-section of the 115 project, from 34’ to 30’, impacting design and bituminous concrete estimates. Also, change in design resulted in more numerous police details than anticipated. In summary, overages were in details, engineering, pavement and unforeseen change orders (unanticipated rock excavation, hydrant repairs, etc.). Mr. Melanson noted that the project came in about 45% higher than anticipated. Mr. Vito explained that even though this water-related potion of the project did go over about
$125,000.00, the overall cost for the Route 115 TIP project decreased about $1.5 million. Mr. Vito stated that by postponing some high-cost items in this year’s budget, the DPW can make $45,000 available to help cover the total overage of about $95,000.00. $50,000 needs to be made up through an article at Town Meeting. It was decided that even though the Board’s philosophy is to spread costs incurred for improvements over the life of the improvement, this is a relatively small-dollar items that might be better suited for payment from Retained Earnings.
Discussion continued by addressing the remaining articles individually:
Chapter 90 funding: no discussion. Tranfers, expenses for water dept: no discussion. To accept grants for water: no discussion. Mr. Vito stated that some of the above could be consolidated now that there is one DPW, covering both highway and water. Carlson Circle: no discussion. Old Populatic Sewer funds to finance Road Program: Ms. Friedman requested assurance that once transferred, the funds would be used only for Road Program. Mr. Vito assured the Board that the Road Program fund is a separate account, and once funds are transferred into it, Town Meeting is necessary to transfer them back out. DPW Facility: 100’ x 45’
expansion of the garage bay, which will be insulated and have a sprinkler system, but won’t be heated to 68 degrees. The cost for garage expansion includes a truck-wash system which will recycle wash water from all department vehicles. Wash water is currently stored in a tight tank which is pumped out periodically. Mr. Winslow suggested breaking this project down into a design & engineering phase, and a construction phase, spread over 2 budget periods. Mr. Melanson suggested a needs assessment study. Mr. Vito will come back with an estimate for design & engineering for building expansion, to include the garage space as well as the necessary office space. Gold Street Well: Mr. Melanson stated that he is uncomfortable with language limiting funding mechanisms. The term “. . . borrow or . . .” should be added. The preference is to borrow, and spread cost for users over the life of the
well and mechanisms. Maple Street: change wording to include borrowing. GIS overlay map: no discussion. Weeber tank cleaning: brief discussion. Sherwood Ave & David Road water main: The Board requested that the article be reworded to simply accept the road, with no mention of betterment. Mr. Vito will discuss this with the Planning Board. Water meter replacement: Mr. Melanson made a motion to submit warrant articles for Annual Town Meeting, 2007, pursuant to our discussion with the edits as discussed, Mr. Winslow seconded, and discussion continued with regard to the wording of the Sherwood Ave/David Road article, and it was decided to hold it until the next Town Meeting. Mr. Winslow seconded, and it was so voted.
Transfer Station Newsletter: It was restated that the DPW should add a line to the effect that we continue to investigate recycling of plastics #3 - #7. Mr. Winslow made a motion that the cost for a Transfer Station decal increase $5.00 for all households’ first decal, with no increase in the bag sticker price. Mr. Melanson seconded, and it was so voted.
Inspection Supervisor position: Mr. Melanson stated that he understood from Planning Board that they were not on board with helping to fund this position. Mr. Melanson further stated that he would like to see something in writing from Tom Poppey of the Panning Board.
It was decided that the next meeting, on March 26, would be reserved for one resident issue (flooding at Noon Hill Ave & Seekonk Street), budget discussion, and executive session for purposes of discussing the Inspector position.
At 9:35 p.m. being no further business Mr. Winslow made a motion to adjourn the meeting; Mr. Melanson seconded, and it was so voted.