January 8, 2007
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 7:00 at the Town Hall in Room 214.
Open Public Forum:
With no one from the public in attendance, Mr. Melanson deferred to the next item on the agenda.
Mr. Melanson continued with the Report from the Director of Public Works:
Leachate Ponds: Mr. Vito informed the Board that due to precipitation, the Department has run out of funds for pumping of the leachate ponds, and will be requesting a reserve fund transfer through the Board of Selectmen for Town Meeting. Mr. Vito stated that there will be a cost/benefit analysis in the Capital portion of the budget, with regard to the building of a roof for the Leachate ponds.
Spruce Well: Mr. Vito informed the Board that Spruce Well will be back on-line this week. Well is up to about 65% capacity. Will bring supplemental Gold Street well to Spring Town Meeting
Meter Replacement Program:
Mr. Vito informed the Board that the Department had spoken to Irby to confirm that it is a system that works off of cell lines, similar to GIS system, and is therefore not something the Department would wish to pursue at this time. KP system (Mass Installations, Inc.) seems to be the most cost-effective system; Sensus system is very expensive. Both systems will be compatible with any meter we install. Mr. Vito further stated that scheduling and installing 2,000 meters, all-inclusive with necessary electronics, is included in the KP bid. Mr. Vito also stated that the commercial meters, about 25 accounts will be done in-house.
Solid Waste Foreman is looking into benefits of Town doing it vs. MCI inmates.
Ms. Friedman questioned why documents reflect no payment on some betterments. Mr. Vito explained that the 2002 date shown referred to the date the estimate was filed, but the finals were just filed.
Mr. Melanson continued with Board Business:
Tom LeCourt, Tighe & Bond:
Have set up quarterly billing scenarios; current rates vs. suggested tiered rates vs. slightly different tiered rates. All three of these scenarios showed a deficit. Final scenario showed what rates would be necessary to break even. Tighe & Bond wants to discuss possible additional revenue sources. Need quantities such as number of new connections per year; need to understand investment income. Discussion continued with regard to retained earnings, and filtering back rebates over a period of time, including rebates for conservation using low-flow devices, rebating $250,000.00 by per capita basis ($250K/2K users=$125/cutomer/year), rebating households who can demonstrate under 65 gals/day per person, subsidizing rates for all (even new) users, rebating just those who paid in previous year.
Mr. Vito cautioned against rebating too much since the Retained Earnings account has not been used for Capital projects over the last few years, and so may currently be more inflated than it will normally be in the future. There are tanks to fix, loops to install, may have to install new pipe, rebuild a pump station, etc.
Discussion continued with regard to the percent changes between the 4 different tiers. The proposed $4.75, $5.49, $7.99, $10.50 involves steps of 15.6%, 45%, 31%. Steps of 20%, 30% and 40% were suggested, equaling rates of $4.75, $5.70, $7.41, $10.38.
Mr. LeCourt left at this time, to return next Tuesday, 1/16/07, with a slide presentation.
Mr. Melanson turned to the Open Public Forum portion of the meeting, and with no questions being raised from the audience, Mr. Winslow addressed 2 questions to the DPW Director: what is our budgeted amount for snow & ice removal, and what is budgeted amount for DPW Superintendent? Snow & Ice is $123,647.00 have spent $44,000, or 1/3 of budget (includes vehicle maintenance preparing for event). DPW Superintendent is $48,405, with a $22,493 balance. Mr. Winslow proposed an 8-week summer program for high school & college kids for Town beautification. Ms. Holmes suggested some of this should be done in-house. Mr. Vito informed the Board that litter pick-up is done on an annual basis using the MCI work release program, and notes were taken regarding asking highway crew to
pick up rocks on culvert on Myrtle Street. Mr. Winslow asked Mr. Vito about past programs using high school/college kids, and could we pay minimum wage? Mr. Vito reminded the Board that we lost a full-time staffer last year, and may lose another one this year; program might not be in the budget. Mr. Melanson estimated $45,000 for a full-time, 8 week program utilizing 12-14 kids at minimum wage. Mr. Melanson recognized the problems inherent in funding this program while cutting positions for necessary infrastructure maintenance, but also stated that he agreed with the idea of presenting the option to Town meeting. Mr. Vito agreed to discuss this option with the Town Administrator.
At 9:50 p.m. being no further business Mr. Melanson made a motion to adjourn the meeting; Mr. Winslow seconded, and it was so voted.