November 13, 2006
Present: Ed Melanson, Chairman; Ellen Friedman, Member; Dan Winslow, Member; Vida Holmes, Member
Absent: Harvey Nasuti, Vice Chairman
Ed Melanson called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. at the Town Hall in Room 124.
Open Public Forum:
Mr. Melanson recognized Amy Brady and Jane Hawkins co-leaders of Girl Scout Troop #4751 who were in attendance with members of their troop. The troop members presented the Board with a proposal for an “Adopt a Hydrant Program” in the Town of Norfolk which would be implemented by the Girl Scouts explaining that it would be similar to Eagle Scout Projects which have been performed with the help of the Department of Public Works in the past. The members of the troop went on to explain that the program would involve soliciting citizens to adopt a hydrant in close proximity to their residence with the help of the local newspaper, town website and local cable access channel; the adoption commitment would involve a nominal fee from each adoptee and they would be responsible for marking their designated
hydrant and keeping the hydrant area clear of snow and brush year round. Ms. Brady explained that the program was in the early stages of development and wanted to bring the idea to the Board for their thoughts before moving forward.
The Board agreed that this appeared to be a great idea; Mr. Melanson suggested the Girl Scouts discuss the proposal with the Norfolk Fire Chief for his input and also suggested that they return to a Board of Public Works meeting in the near future with the Fire Chief for further discussions on implementing the program.
Approval of Prior Meeting Minutes:
Mr. Winslow made a motion to accept the meeting minutes of October 30, 2006 Ms. Holmes seconded, and it was so voted.
Mr. Melanson had a couple of items to discuss as a Board before moving forward with the progress report on the Water Rate Study.
Water Abatement to Freeman Centennial: Mr. Vito clarified for the Board that a partial abatement for water usage was issued to the Freeman Centennial Concession Stand account, noting that the bill included water usage for the concession stand and field irrigation. The department is looking into installing a second meter to separate the concession stand from the irrigation to better track usage for billing purposes. The water usage for irrigation would be paid through user fees.
Water Bacteria Notice: Mr. Melanson expressed concern that the Board did not receive prior notice with regard to the public notice that was posted. He continued by noting that he and the Board would like to be kept in the communication loop as the Department completes the process for resolving issues of this nature. Mr. Vito assured that Board that they would be kept more completely informed in the future.
Mr. Melanson continued with the Report from the Director of Public Works:
Report from WhiteWater, Inc.: Mr. Vito began with a review of the operations reports submitted by Russell Tierney of WhiteWater, Inc. updating the Board on water issues associated with the Weeber Tank, Sharon Avenue (Pondville) Tank, Spruce Road Well, Gold Street Well and explained the need for emergency chlorination of the system which would continue through Friday; Mr. Tierney’s report also included an update of various ongoing subdivision projects and the Route 115 Water Main Extension Project.
Master Plan Sub-Committee Meeting: Mr. Vito informed the Board that the Master Plan Sub-Committee would like to schedule time at their meeting of December 11, 2006 for about 45 minutes. The Board agreed to schedule them in at 7:15 pm.
Mr. Vito also informed the Board that it would be necessary for him to leave the Board of Public Works meeting to attend the Board of Selectmen’s meeting for approximately 30 minutes to discuss the of the Stormwater Phase II Program.
Manual for Snow & Ice Removal 2006-2007: The Manuals were distributed to Board members for reference and review. Mr. Vito noted that Streets and sidewalks are plowed and treated according to their priority. We begin with the “Main” streets, “Side” streets, Municipal Parking Areas, Schools and we help out with snow removal from the church parking lots. Mr. Vito continued by informing the Board that King Philip Regional and Subdivision developers are billed for these services. Mr. Winslow suggested and the Board agreed to have Mr. Vito inquire whether the churches would be amiable to accommodate residents in the event of a snow emergency in exchange for Town’s assistance with their snow removal operations, noting that the Board would like
confirmation from the churches in writing. Mr. Vito would check into this request and report back to the Board.
Mr. Melanson continued with Board Business:
Water Rate Study:
Mr. Melanson recognized Mr. Omer Dumais of Tighe & Bond, whom had been invited to the meeting to update the Board on the Water Rate Study Progress. The Board was also presented with the contract document for these services which had been reviewed and approved by Town Counsel. The Board members proceeded to sign the document and instructed Mr. Vito to have them forwarded where necessary.
Mr. Dumais began by distributing a sample water rate model to the Board members and Mr. Vito for review. The information was presented in worksheet format but was not 100% complete. The discussion began with the water billing tier structure and the possibility of billing on a per capita basis implementing rate relief for low water users. Mr. Dumais informed the Board that most towns bill for water as we currently do.
The Board noted that they were interested in expanding the tier structure into five blocks the base rate would remain stable while additional rates would be driven by usage offering rate relief to lower water users. The Board also discussed implementing some type of rebate program; another issue discussed was fire protection which benefits all town residents but is funded solely by the water users. This would require further discussion to develop a mechanism to establish a fee for non-water users; quarterly billing was discussed; water conservation programs to establish benefits and rebates; metering irrigation systems with annual inspections; review connection fees and hydrant usage fees.
An open discussion continued with possible uses for the Retained Earning account: New well construction within 4-5 years; rate relief to allow a reduced rate for water users in blocks 1 & 2; system improvements associated with water quality issues - looping the water main on at Maple Street and Old Mill Road; review the possibility of refunding the $50.00 Basic Fee.
The discussion concluded with a request from the Board that Mr. Dumais attend the meeting scheduled for December 19, 2006 at 7:00 pm but in the mean time a working session would be scheduled for November 30, 2006 at the DPW Facility for 9:00 am with Ellen Friedman, Mr. Vito and Mr. Dumais to develop a tiered billing system and information gathering for what ever information Tighe & Bond is lacking to move forward with completing the water rate study.
The Board thanked Mr. Dumais for input and the information he presented to them this evening.
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.