Members Present –Baird Morgan, Clarence Greeno , Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Ernie Clerihew, and Helen McKinlay. Others present: Allie Nolan, Brenna Kimball, Frank Hudson, John Haverstock – Town Manager and Kelly Giard – Recording Secretary.
Chairman Greeno called the meeting to order at 6:30 PM.
Adoption of Agenda:
J. Haverstock stated that there was a possible need for Executive Session for legal to possibly discuss abatement requests. Motion by B. Morgan and seconded by T. Pelkey to enter into Executive Session for legal if necessary. Motion passed unanimously 5 – 0.
J. Haverstock reported that there was no need to amend the agenda. Motion by B. Morgan and seconded by E. Clerihew to adopt the agenda as posted. Motion passed unanimously 5 – 0.
The minutes of the June 18, 2019 meeting were signed, with no changes.
Town Manager’s Report:
J. Haverstock stated the following Town Manager’s Report:
- There will be an additional testing added to the routine testing of the water system. This is a national response to the PFA concerns that arose in Bennington. Bruce Babcock and Shawn Hendee will be trained on this testing procedure.
- Bruce Babcock has returned from Medical Leave.
- The Town Manager was at the water sources recently with the new County Forester, Kyle Mason. While in the area, there was an introduction with Dave Parker. Emails have since been exchanged with neighbor Simeon Bruner.
- Jack Shedd retired on August 2, 2019 and was honored at a recent Staff Meeting. Mr. Shedd may be doing some consulting for Otter Valley Union High School. However that is between Mr. Shedd and Otter Valley.
None presented at this time.
Update on the Possible Acquisition of Land Around Town Reservoirs:
J. Haverstock reported that Bob Tinker is doing the survey of the property surrounding two reservoirs and it will be forwarded once complete.
Update on Route 7, Segment 1 Conflicts:
J. Haverstock reported that he has met with Rep Shaw and Representatives from VTrans regarding the relocation of water lines and infrastructure on Route 7 south. While VTrans insists that the Town must bear the cost of “de-conflicts,” Rep Shaw stated that this work was to be included in the project as not a bid item (NABI), meaning that the current cost estimate will not be exceeded. There was further discussion on this and there are no other options for the Town at this point.
Update on Depot Hill Road Sewer Project Status:
John Kiernan, engineer from Otter Creek Engineering, sent a report indicating that everything is looking good and there is a possibility of going to bid in September and allowing the contractors to decide whether they would like to have the construction date for the project in the Fall of 2019 or Spring of 2020. The loans are in place for the Preliminary Engineering Loan, Design Engineering Loan and Construction Engineering Loan.
WATER AND SEWER:
Update on Route 7, Segment 2 Design:
J. Haverstock reported that VTrans has indicated that they want to lock down the design plans for the 2028 construction. VTrans is looking for 60% design plans from the Town regarding utility relocation work before the end of the year.
Update on Recruitment for Water/Wastewater Operator Employee:
J. Haverstock stated that there is a September 20, 2019 deadline for applications. There are currently 5 applications submitted. The plan is to hold interviews in October and to hire before the holiday season to allow for a training and transition period.
Update on Re-Programming of Six Water Meters and Related Utility Bills:
J. Haverstock explained that six water meters with incorrect programming (wrong decimal point) were installed. Five customers are paying their utility bills and one is requesting an abatement. There has been an offer from E J Prescott, the supplier, of $900 to compensate the Town. There was discussion regarding the fairest way to distribute this settlement. Motion by B. Morgan and seconded by E. Clerihew to issue “inconvenience” refunds/credits to the affected customers. Motion passed unanimously 5 – 0.
Update on Utility Billings for First Half of 2019:
Allie Nolan and her sister Brenna Kimball were present to discuss their utility bill. Ms. Kimball stated that they had inherited a home at 129 Elm Street. The most recent bill was in the amount of $1204 and was only occupied for 2 months of the billing cycle as the property is currently for sale. Ms. Kimball stated that her past bills were for $528, $491 and $459 and the property was fully occupied. Ms. Kimball stated that she spoke with Linda Drummond and performed the recommended tests looking for leaks and these tests showed no leaks. Shawn Hendee also checked the meter. Ms. Kimball stated that she has so far paid $528, the amount of her last bill. J. Haverstock inquired if anyone was checking the house. B. Morgan stated that he did see Ms. Kimball and her family check the home daily. C. Greeno inquired if it was possible to test the meter. J. Haverstock explained that this can be done, however this option is costly. E. Clerihew inquired how many gallons per day were used. J. Haverstock stated that this billing cycle average was 244 and the last bill was 71.4 gallons per day average. B. Morgan recommended obtaining another reading. Ms. Kimball stated that the realtors who are showing the property do turn the faucets on and off to show the house to prospective buyers. J. Haverstock will instruct Bruce Babcock and Shawn Hendee to conduct another reading. J. Haverstock will investigate the cost for testing of the meter and will stop the interest and penalty on the account until this is resolved. This topic was tabled until the information is received.
Ms. Nolan and Ms. Kimball exited at 6:49 PM.
Frank Hudson, who owns a rental property on Furnace Road was present to discuss the utility bill at that location. Mr. Hudson stated that the tenant vacated the property one month into the billing cycle and the water charge was $853. Mr. Hudson stated that he visited the property with Shawn Hendee and has scheduled a plumber to inspect the system. Mr. Hudson stated that he would advise the Town regarding findings following the plumbing system inspection. This topic was tabled until the information is received.
Mr. Hudson exited at 6:53 PM.
J. Haverstock stated that the numbers for the most recent utility billing are in line with revenue budget expectations, with the Sewer Fund generating for this period $139,247 against $140,000 budgeted.
The Water & Sewer Commission adjourned at 7:14 PM.
The next regular meeting of the Water and Sewer Commission will be held on September 17, 2019.
Clarence Greeno, Chairman
Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Vice Chairman