March 26, 2007
Present: Ed Melanson, Chairman; Harvey Nasuti, Vice Chairman; Ellen Friedman, Member
Absent: Vida Holmes, Member; Dan Winslow, Member
Ed Melanson called the meeting to order at 7:05 at the Town Hall in Room 214.
Open Public Forum:
Mr. Melanson recognized a representative from Stiles Company who inquired why Norfolk chose to have a fixed network meter reading (AMR) program. Mr. Melanson stated that the Board had determined that there is a cost savings associated with having an automated system, in that it eliminates our having to manually read meters, and it allows us to read meters more often providing more cash flow to the town. Mr. Melanson further stated that an AMR allows us to monitor and track water consumption, which will help with water conservation programs in the future, as well as to alert us in the event of a water emergency, such as a broken pipe in the home of someone who has gone away for a period of time. The representative stated that she felt that a drive-by system would be less costly. Mr. Melanson informed the
representative that the bid process had proven otherwise. Mr. Melanson further stated that the Board had done due diligence in researching this over a couple of years. With no further discussion ensuing, Mr. Melanson closed the Open Public Forum, and moved on to the next agenda item.
54 Noon Hill Road:
Mr. Melanson recognized residents of 54 Noon Hill Avenue, Mr. & Ms. Figueroa, who presented pictures and a timeline of flooding issues. Mr. Figueroa thanked the Board, and opened by stating that the DPW and Fire Department have been very responsive to each flooding incident. Mr. Figueroa stated the flooding problems began in 2005, with water runoff coming in to their front yard, where there well is located. The Figueroas stated that new housing put in at that time may be at the cause. Mr. Vito stated that the Town had been looking into small street flooding in that area, and investigating locations to install catch basins. Mr. Vito stated that at the time of the first major event at 54 Noon Hill Road, there was town-wide flooding, handled in conjunction with Massachusetts Emergency
Management Agency (MEMA). At that time, two wells (54 Noon Hill Ave, and one on Main Street) were tested for contamination. Mr. Vito met with the Board of Health to discuss procedures in handling contamination of private wells, and determined that it was a Board of Health issue. Mr. Vito stated that due to recognition of run-off issues on Seekonk Street, drainage systems had been installed this past spring/summer, and that Seekonk Street is scheduled for paving in FY’08; grading of the road, in addition to installing a berm and gutters should alleviate run-off. The residents expressed concern that there was not a drainage structure in the lower area of Seekonk Street, and Mr. Vito stated that the DPW will revisit the issue. The Board thanked the Figueroas for attending.
Mr. Melanson continued with the next agenda item, review and approve previous meeting minutes. Mr. Melanson made a motion to approve all meeting minutes submitted for November 13, 2006; November 27, 2006; December 11, 2006; December 19, 2006; January 8, 2007; January 16, 2007; January 29, 2007; February 12, 2007 and March 12, 2007, Ms. Friedman seconded, and it was so voted.
Mr. Melanson continued with the next agenda item.
Report from the DPW Director
Flushing Program: Plan to begin April 29; will be putting on cable station, newspaper, signs in town. Mr. Vito noted that some of the problems last time were gate-related, and since we had already flushed the whole system in October of last year, we should not have to flush for as long a period as we did last time. Mr. Nasuti noted that we had recently performed maintenance on both wells, and therefore should not have any loss of water problems. Ms. Friedman suggested sending out notice of flushing along with the water bills. The recording secretary, Karen Mitnick, will discuss with billing company.
Old Populatic – sewer project has $67,000 in it; would like to transfer to Road Program
Chapter 90 – generic article
Water Division – generic article to transfer funds into operating budget
Water Division – generic article for federal grants and reimbursements
Carlson Road - correction to accept 40-45’ additional
Building Expansion – article to fund design & bid (estimated $110,000); Mr. Vito will discuss funding with Bond Counsel; will also discuss at Town Meeting.
Sherwood & David Roads – Mr. Vito will meet with Planning Board on April 5th and with landowners and Town Administrator during the week of April 19. Lots are being sold and the roads are substandard. Intent is to go forward as a betterment 100% funded by the landowners
Sewer study for B-1 District – Mr. Vito stated that part of the reason the Master Plan is not progressing as planned is due to lack of infrastructure in town center, i.e. drainage & sewer. Mr. Melanson noted that expanding water treatment from MCI Norfolk is an alternative to building a new facility. Mr. Vito stated that the State is at 100% capacity now and would need to be expanded; would we want to enter into agreement with the State and possibly fund the expansion; the piping & infrastructure we would need to get to them might not be a cost-effective alternative. Mr. Melanson stated that collaborating with State would allow for building a pumping station, not a treatment facility, and would alleviate costs for chemicals, permitting; compliance issues. Mr. Vito stated
that sewer and water plans should help to stimulate the business community, bringing it up to 60-80% lot coverage. It was suggested that an RFP be prepared to search for engineers specializing in sewer planning.
Water Debt Schedule: The Board reviewed the spreadsheet outlining 10, 15 and 20 year schedules for 3 items.
Meter Bid: Discussion on the meter bid was deferred until executive session, as it was a legal issue.
Budget: Water - Mr. Melanson questioned that with 104 hours/week in-house labor time (including overtime), why the increase in Contract Services. Mr. Vito reminded the Board that only one full-time, licensed employee, and one part-time meter reader were employed in the Water Division through December of 2006, and funds were transferred over from a funded Water Division position to Contract Services. In January, the part-time meter reader was hired as a full-time Apprentice Operator and is working on licenses, and a Grounds employee was transferred to split time between Solid Waste and Water.
Department Support/Indirect Costs – The Board was informed that this covered services rendered to us by other departments such as Town Clerk, Treasurer/Collector, etc.
Vehicle Maintenance – Mr. Melanson questioned 8% of Head Mechanic’s time charged to Water; Mr. Vito informed the Board that the Vehicle Maintenance line in the Water Department covers supplies & materials, not labor. In addition, the Vehicle Maintenance Division maintains the pump stations, as well as the vehicles.
DPW Superintendent Update: Mr. Nasuti requested an update on the status of this position, as he had been absent from several meetings. Mr. Melanson responded that we are still looking for the right person to step into the role and be in-house trained, and suggested that we re-evaluate and re-open the position.
Rate Study: Mr. Nasuti was also brought up to date on the status of the Rate Study, and was informed by Mr. Vito that there is currently a revised scope being reviewed.
Budget: Mr. Vito pointed out that a different approach was taken with regard to “inherited” accounts, such as fuel, lighting, etc. Mr. Melanson and Mr. Nasuti congratulated Mr. Vito on his ability to “do more with less” these last couple of years.
At 8:50 P.M. Mr. Melanson made a motion for the Board to go into Executive Session for the purpose of discussing the meter bid, union negotiations and personnel issues, and it was the intention of the Board not to return to regular session and to adjourn the meeting from there. Mr. Nasuti seconded. A roll call vote was taken. Ed Melanson, aye; Harvey Nasuti, aye; Ellen Friedman, aye, and i