Meeting Minutes : Water and Sewer Commission

Water and Sewer Commission Members Present:  David Markowski, Chair, Allen Hitchcock, John Lapre, Hope Rantanen, and Helen McKinlay. Others present:  Mark Youngstrom (Otter Creek Engineering), Jim Morale, Tom Carrara, Chuck Charbonneau, Robin Rowe, David Rowe (6:35 PM), John Haverstock, and Kelly Giard, Recording Secretary.  David Markowski, Chairman called the meeting to order at 6:30 PM.

The agenda for the meeting was to receive information regarding the Pittsford and Florence Water System Improvement project from Mark Youngstrom from Otter Creek Engineering.

Mark Youngstrom presented the project status and schedule, project funding, easement requirements and the Bond vote information for review.

Mr. Youngstrom stated that the contract has been signed for the project work to proceed.  Orthophotography has been completed for the base mapping.  Some of the photography was obtained from VTRANS for use in this portion of the project due to the snow cover; the ground control survey is completed; the base mapping is in process and is expected to be completed within 2 – 3 weeks; Bruce Babcock has been contacted for assistance in locating various sections that may not be visible on the maps; design, plans, specifications and contract documenting will occur in March and April; permitting with various agencies will occur in April and May; the bid period will proceed in June. Providing there is no problem with funding, construction should occur from July to December.  In the event that there is a delay, some portions of the construction may happen in 2010.

Project Funding:

Mr. Youngstrom explained funding options in great detail.  The Stimulus Funding is being “capped” at $2,000,000 per project.  Mr. Youngstrom explained the limitations that have been set forth on the stimulus funding and the length of the grants. There is also an option to apply for a supplemental stimulus loan, which covers “efficiency” projects.  Mr. Youngstrom explained that the efficiency grant could cover items such as water main replacement due to leakage or water meters, motor drives for the motors in Florence, energy efficient heat in the Florence pump station, just to list a few.  The total for the Supplemental Stimulus Grant (efficiency loan) is $410,000.  The remaining $4,020,000 would be funded through grants, loans or stimulus funding.  In the event of a loan, the interest rates could be between 0 – 3%.

Mr. Youngstrom explained the process of the Priority List designation and indicated that the State looks at a variety of items within the application to determine the priority.

There is a Priority List Hearing on Friday, March 20, 2009, 1:00 – 4:00 PM, Summit Training Center, Osgood Building, Waterbury State Office Complex to determine the project priorities statewide.  David Markowski, Allen Hitchcock, and Peg Flory have expressed interest in attending the hearing.  The Priority List will be released at the conclusion of the meeting on March 20.  The application deadline is March 13.

In the event there is no stimulus funding available, Rural Development grants may be available and the Town could qualify for up to 45% of the project costs with the rest being obtained from a variety of sources.

There was discussion regarding the longevity of the loan repayment.  Rural Development loans may be repaid over 40 years for water projects and 30 years for sewer projects.  The State repayment term is a maximum of 20 years.

Rural Development wants to have an interest in the project, thus keeping the interest rates lower.  The stimulus is a better deal.  There was discussion regarding the main sources of the loans and repayment plans.

One funding-friendly point in the project is that Pittsford will be consolidating the Florence and Pittsford water systems. D. Markowski stated that the “downfall” of combining the 2 systems was that the water main that goes from the bottom of Plains Road to Kendall Hill was originally included in the Route 7 project.  There was discussion as to the involvement of VTRANS in this portion of the project for funding.  The original impression was that the Town was responsible for the materials and VTRANS was responsible for the labor in that portion of the project.  M. Youngstrom agreed to research this with VTRANS.


The preliminary engineering had anticipated going through open land for the systems’ interconnection by using a ‘straight line’.  There was discussion that it may be more beneficial to go over Kendall Hill Road and back to the Florence station.  The Kendall Hill route is about 1-1/2 times longer, but, would benefit more customers.  Mr. Youngstrom presented maps for review and discussion of the 2 routes.  Mr. Youngstrom explained the various pipe sizes involved in the proposed project.  The Florence source will serve as a back-up in the event of any failure in the Chittenden springs.

Dr. Knight from UVM has been contacted and will be doing some archeological studies on the areas that will be disturbed through the proposed project.

The Florence water tank can be dismantled and sold because it is undersized and in poor condition.  The Pittsford system is in need of a back-up source and has a very old pipe system that could cause a major loss in water in the event of break.

D. Markowski explained that the project could have long-term effects for the Town through economic development, fire protection, and a secure water system (it has been 4 times since the 1920’s that the Sand Springs have dried up).

A. Hitchcock indicated that the aqueducts are vulnerable to damage.  Mr. Youngstrom explained that during the tough economic times, folks recognize the utilities as being necessary to keep the future of the community in mind.

J. Lapre questioned whether the Florence water supply would be adequate in the event that something required the Pittsford system to be down and the Florence system become primary.  Mr. Youngstrom explained that the Florence pump station would require an upgrade.

J. Haverstock inquired what the additional fee would be to utilize the Kendall Hill route.  Mr. Youngstrom indicated that the increase would be roughly $200,000.  However, he said he would provide more accurate amounts to J. Haverstock.

Members of the Water & Sewer Commission agreed that the Kendall Hill route would be the most beneficial.

Bond Vote:

Mr. Youngstrom indicated that the State wants to see a bond vote planned to receive funding.

Mr. Youngstrom indicated that the archeological study is “free” through grants, however, if there are extremely sensitive areas, then the fees will be passed on to the Town.   D. Markowski indicated that the Route 7 portion has already occurred due to the pending Route 7 upgrade.  J. Haverstock inquired what types of information are being researched.  Mr. Youngstrom explained that some Native American, Revolutionary War, and War of 1812 items.

J. Haverstock explained that the residents have been notified of the projects scope and projected cost through postings in the Newsletter, utility bills, and substantial Town Meeting discussion.

Mr. Youngstrom recommended 2 public meetings be held.  Mr. Youngstrom also recommended meeting with the Fire Department (as it affects the hydrants and fire flows) and a separate meeting with OMYA to review their benefits and effects.  Jim Morale, an Omya employee, indicated that he would like to be an advocate for this project for the Town and will be willing to meet with others regarding this project.

D. Markowski indicated that there may be some agricultural impact on the project.  There was discussion regarding these impacts.

Dates were discussed and the decision was made that the Public Meetings would occur on April 28 and May 11, with the bond vote on May 12.   There is a 30-day “protest period” following the bond vote.  Mr. Youngstrom will be in contact with Paul Guilliani with this information.

J. Haverstock inquired about the meeting format.  Mr. Youngstrom stated that the project necessity, funding, state requirements, etc. will be discussed at an open forum style meeting, with Mr. Youngstrom doing most of the talking.

R. Rowe inquired what area will be affected in the project.  Mr. Youngstrom explained that the Route 7 south section is included and he is aware of the needs and State orders regarding the area.

Replacement of Mechanic and Pleasant Street Sewers:

Mr. Youngstrom recommended the submission of a Sewer Stimulus application regarding the sewer lines on these streets.  J. Haverstock explained the future imaging and testing to occur on the sewer systems.  There was discussion regarding the application and the Commission members agreed that there was “nothing to lose” by filing the application for stimulus funding.  J. Haverstock will sign the application upon completion from Mr. Youngstrom.


Mr. Youngstrom will adjust the proposal to Kendall Hill route prior to submitting the application.

J. Haverstock stated that during Town Meeting some questions were raised regarding who will be paying for the project.  There was discussion that all taxpayers pay a portion of the hydrant usage and the system users pay for the cost of capital improvements.  J. Haverstock inquired about the wording of the Bond Vote.  Mr. Youngstrom indicated that the whole town has a right to vote on the bond as there is not a separate water district, as in Brandon.

J. Haverstock inquired about the impact on OMYA.  Mr. Youngstrom indicated that OMYA would receive a benefit of having better fire protection in the area.  J. Lapre inquired about the mapping from OMYA to Route 7 via Kendall Hill. There was some discussion that this map may already exist and OMYA may have the maps in their possession.

T .Carrara inquired about the project on the South-end of Town. Mr. Youngstrom indicated that the project addresses a section of Pine Woods, Plains, Route 7 South, Mechanic Street, Pleasant Street, a section of Elm, a correction for fire protection on Windy Hill, Kendall Hill, and the Plains Road to Kendall Hill Road.  D. Markowski explained the Kendall Hill route for clarification.  T. Carrara inquired how many pumps would be needed.  Mt. Youngstrom indicated that only 1 pump will be necessary and D. Markowski explained that there are wells existing currently.  T. Carrara inquired if the systems would be chlorinated.  D. Markowski indicated that the systems are chlorinated and are currently permitted with the State.

R. Rowe inquired what area would be started first.  Mr. Youngstrom explained that the contractors sequence themselves, unless the Commission specifies in the proposal.  Mr. Youngstrom stated that due to timing of the project beginning, there is a possibility that 2/3 of the project could be completed in 2009 and the remainder in 2010.  R. Rowe inquired what would happen if funding becomes exhausted.  Mr. Youngstrom explained that this is not possible and if a contract is signed, it means there is adequate funding in place.

T. Carrara inquired if an elevation had been done regarding Corn Hill Estates.  There was discussion regarding this area and it is believed that the residents of this area are on their own water system with no impact on the Pittsford water system.

C. Charbonneau asked for clarification as to whether the rate payers would be required to pay for this project or if it would include all taxpayers of Pittsford and Florence.  D. Markowski explained the “Hydrant” section in the General Fund, which is paid into the Water Fund.  D. Markowski further explained that this decision would be made prior to the Informational Meetings.  All registered voters are allowed to vote on the bond, whether they are on the system or independent.  There was discussion regarding this and the numbers may be available at the first Informational Meeting on April 28, 2009.

There was discussion regarding the maintenance of the water system.  Pittsford is fortunate that there is a high quality and adequate flow of water and the flow is not being restricted from iron build-up.

D. Rowe inquired the size of the line that will be installed on Route 7 South.  Mr. Youngstrom indicated that the pipe would be 8″ pipe with hydrants placed every 500′.

D. Markowski expressed thanks to Mr. Youngstrom for undertaking of this project and  thanked Mr. Youngstrom for explaining the funding process

R. Rowe requested that the Route 7 South section be priority.


The meeting was adjourned at 8:07 PM.

The next meeting will be held on March 17, 2009.

Respectfully Submitted

Kelly Giard, Recording Secretary

David Markowski, Chair

Allen Hitchcock, Vice Chair

Hope Rantanen

Helen McKinlay

John Lapre