Meeting Minutes : Water & Sewer Commission Minutes – 1/19/21

Members Present – Baird Morgan Ernie Clerihew, Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Clarence Greeno (via Zoom), and Helen McKinlay (via Zoom). Others present: John Kiernan, John Haverstock – Town Manager and Kelly Giard – Recording Secretary.
The meeting was called to order at 6:30 PM by Vice Chairman Pelkey.

Adoption of Agenda:

J. Haverstock stated that there was no need for Executive Session.
J. Haverstock stated that there was no need to amend the agenda. Motion by T. Pelkey and seconded by E. Clerihew to adopt the agenda as presented. Motion passed 5 – 0.


The minutes of the December 15, 2020 meeting were signed, with no corrections.

Town Manager’s Report:

J. Haverstock reported the following:

  • The request for subordination from Adam Parker has been approved for his refinancing.
  • Fran Martindale has purchased the property at 90 Chateau Way. There were issues out there with the water line. There was a shutoff due to frozen waterlines, meters and a recent fire, prompting the water to be shut off again. The water will be turned on when the weather warms up in spring or summer.
  • The Hitchcock’s report beaver activity in the area of the water pipelines. This happened in the past and a trapper was contacted to irradicate the issue.
  • The new truck for the Water & Sewer Department is on order and is expected to be delivered in July.
  • Town Meeting will be hosted virtually with all business being conducted by Australian ballot on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. There will be an informational hearing held via Zoom and dial-in options on Monday, March 1, 2021, at 6:30 pm.
  • The State of Vermont is handling COVID funding for utility customers that are delinquent due to the pandemic. Currently, there have been 3 customers who sited pandemic-related hardship. There is a possibility of more funding coming for these situations.
  • The excavation in the area of Kamuda’s did not uncover any leak. This concern will be monitored and repaired in better weather.

Public Comment:
None presented at this time.

None presented at this time.


Update on Depot Hill Road Sewer Project Status:
J. Haverstock reported that Craig Jewett from Otter Creek Engineering is providing weekly updates on the Depot Hill Pump Station project. There have been some minor change orders thus far. The project is slated to be nearly complete by the end of January with the clean-up work to occur in the spring. John Kiernan, also from Otter Creek Engineering, stated that there will be some testing within the next week. The project at the Wastewater Treatment Facility will be going to bid to small electrical contractors once the final information is received from Aeromod.

Discussion of Sewer Rates:
J. Haverstock reported that he met with John Kiernan regarding the rate options. Mr. Kiernan presented the Commissioners with a memo that included rate increase options. Mr. Kiernan spoke with Linda Drummond, who indicated that the billing is consistently in the area of $140,000 per billing cycle. Mr. Kiernan stated that the current allocation is 6,000 gallons per unit, per billing cycle. However, there are 32 customers that use less than the 6,000 allocation. There was discussion concerning the possibility of increasing the allocation or billing of differing usage amounts. Mr. Kiernan presented and reviewed comparison tables. Mr. Kiernan stated that he did review other systems to compare the debt load vs the number of customers.

J. Haverstock indicated that the effective date of the increase would be the next fiscal year (July 1, 2021) and communication to the consumers will be key. Mr. Kiernan stated that he will research other scenarios, including increasing the base allocation and tiered usage billing. This will be discussed at a future meeting. J. Haverstock stated that the rates have not been increased in approximately 6 years.


Review Utility Bill Abatement Request:
J. Haverstock reported that Bruce Poirier, a resident of Elm Street has submitted a request for the partial abatement of his utility bill due to a spike in his metered sewer charge. Mr. Poirier stated that he did an outside landscaping project for a wedding at this property and used water to support this work and his sewer bill increased as a result. Mr. Poirier presented pictures of the project for review. There was discussion that this project was for improvements for the wedding as opposed to an agricultural usage. Motion by B. Morgan and seconded by E. Clerihew to deny the request. Motion passed 5 – 0.

The Water & Sewer Commission adjourned at 7:35 PM

The next regular meeting of the Water and Sewer Commission will be held on February 16, 2021.
Respectfully Submitted,

Kelly Giard
Recording Secretary

Clarence Greeno, Chairman

Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Vice Chairman

Helen McKinlay

Ernie Clerihew

Baird Morgan