Town of Pittsford, Vermont

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 January 8, 2008


Water and Sewer Commission Members Present - David Markowski, Hope Rantanen, Helen McKinlay, Allen Hitchcock, John Lapre. Others Present - Bruce Paynter, Kathleen Ramsay and Kelly Giard - Recording Secretary.


David Markowski called the meeting to order at 6:30 PM.




The minutes of the December 29, 2007 meeting were reviewed and signed by members present with no corrections.


Town Manager's Report


K. Ramsay reported that she attended a meeting total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) of phosphorus in Lake Champlain.  Although the Agency of Natural Resources is recommending that there be no change from the current phosphorus discharge limitations on wastewater treatment facilities, the Legislature is considering measures to reduce the amount of phosphorus loading to Lake Champlain, particularly by reducing the amount of phosphorus discharged by wastewater treatment facilities.  A limitation on the amount of phosphorus discharged from the Pittsford Wastewater Treatment facility would necessitate costly improvements to the facility.


Due to the potential financial impacts of reducing phosphorous limits on all municipalities with wastewater treatment facilities, the Vermont League of Cities and Towns is preparing a draft of a letter to circulate to municipalities to consider sending to their Legislators. Ramsay will tailor the letter for consideration by the Water and Sewer Commission.


K. Ramsay noted that Bruce Babcock is investigating a possible water leak on Route 7 North near the Pine Woods Road intersection.  There was a water leak in a service line there last year, and the owners of the home with the now repaired service line are sensitive to the issue of water leaks.


Public Comment


None presented at this time.


 FY '09 Budget


K. Ramsay presented an updated version of the budgets for the Pittsford Water Department, Florence Water Department and the Wastewater Treatment Facility, which included Fiscal Year 2008 revenues and expenditures through December 31, 2007.

A. Hitchcock inquired why the Pittsford Water Budget for FY2008 is about 64% expended 50% of the way through the fiscal year as of December 31, 2007.  K. Ramsay explained that this was due to an unanticipated expense for the installation of the stairway at the water tank to comply with state and federal safety requirements.  A. Hitchcock noted that the sewer budget is also more than 50% expended half way through the fiscal year. K. Ramsay replied that this is due to a combination of factors including increased sludge hauling and disposal costs; unbudgeted legal fees for wastewater treatment facility litigation, and unbudgeted safety compliance expenses.


For FY2009, K. Ramsay stated that most of the increases in the budgets are due to inflation, and the actual cost of operating the facilities (particularly the wastewater treatment fund which has operated at a deficit for the last two years).  There are no changes in staffing or service levels reflected in the budgets. The wastewater treatment facility has 1.75 full time equivalent employees (Bob Berardo and Jack Shedd, with assistance from Bruce Babcock as needed) and the Pittsford and Florence Water Department has one full time equivalent employee (Bruce Babcock), with back-up from Bob Berardo and Jack Shedd. Ramsay noted that the Pittsford wastewater facility staff also operates Otter Valley’s wastewater treatment facility.


As proposed, the Pittsford Water and Sewer expense budgets will require increased revenues.  To minimize the impact on user rates to the greatest extent possible, while noting that rates have not been increased for at least 8 years, the Commission asked Ramsay to compare Pittsford’s utility revenue with other municipalities and report back to the Board at its February 12 meeting.  Revenue items to be included are:


          User Rates;

          Application Fees;

          Allocation Fees;

          Connection Fees;

          Fire Protection/Hydrant Fees included in the General Fund Tax Rate;

          Other General Fund Support of the water and sewer funds, particularly for capital investments;

          Package Discount Rates, as an incentive for having both water and sewer service; and

          Innovative Funding sources, such as fundraisers.


For the wastewater treatment facility, D. Markowski recommended that the comparison include municipalities that have had an upgrade within the last 10 years.


A. Hitchcock asked K. Ramsay to project any future projects for 15 years as the basis for the development of a capital improvement plan.


The Water and Sewer Commission will recommend the proposed expenditure budgets to the Select Board at its January 16 meeting for inclusion in the Town report, with a water and sewer rate recommendation to follow in mid March based on the findings of the rate comparison work requested by the Commission.




Bruce Paynter presented his application for a water capacity allocation of 210 gallons per day for an accessory apartment on his property at 2990 US Route 7.  J. Lapre, noting that he is working with Mr. Paynter to obtain state water supply and wastewater disposal permits, recused himself from the Commission for the consideration of this application.  


J. Lapre presented drawings of the proposed water and sewer connections and explained these to the Water and Sewer Commission.  Bruce Paynter added that he would possibly replace the sewer service line that extends under Route 7 when it is upgraded by the State.   J. Lapre explained that Mr. Paynter needs water and sewer allocation letters from the Town to the State apply to the state for water supply and wastewater permits.   


D. Markowski stated that he has spoken with Bruce Babcock regarding the water and sewer hook-ups on this property.  Mr. Babcock stated that there would be no issue with the water connection; however, the sewer is a 4" line and could be a clay line, which might not be adequate to service two service connections - one from the primary residence and one from the accessory apartment.  Mr. Paynter stated that he has worked on the line and it was ferrous.   


D. Markowski asked if the Town had a water capacity allocation fee (an annual fee based on the number of gallons reserved for an applicant), like it does for sewer capacity allocations.  K. Ramsay stated that this was not a past practice.   A. Hitchcock stated that he feels that there should be the same fee for the water capacity allocation as the sewer capacity allocation. 


Mr. Paynter inquired if the State or the Town had jurisdiction over the design of the water and sewer connections.  D. Markowski explained that the Town has the jurisdiction whether the allocation is available.  J. Lapre commented on allocation letters. 

D. Markowski stated that some of Bruce Babcock's concerns could involve a health issue, as Mr. Babcock is the Health Officer in the town.


Motion by A. Hitchcock and seconded by H. Rantanen to allocate 210 gallons per day in water capacity for an accessory apartment at 2990 US Route 7 for Bruce Paynter. The motion passed unanimously, with J. Lapre recused.


D. Markowski advised Mr. Paynter that the application now needs to be submitted to the State.   


Mr. Paynter exited at 7:36 PM.


Review of Request for Proposals for Preliminary Engineering for Water System Upgrades: 


D. Markowski explained the Request for Proposal process.  In reviewing the request for proposals, A. Hitchcock asked Ramsay to clarify the expectations with regard to analysis of the sewer collection system, particularly the consideration of providing sewer service to densely populated areas adjacent to the Village, and the requirement that engineers consult not only the existing Town Plan, but contact the Planning Commission to discuss anticipated changes in the Town Plan which is currently being updated by the Commission.


D. Markowski said that 6 firms will be invited to respond to the RFP, and of those submitting proposals, 2-3 will be invited to submit proposals.  H. Rantanen asked if 4 weeks was enough time for firms to respond to the RFP.  K. Ramsay said she would check with Tom Clark of Rural Community Assistance Program, who has 40 years’ experience with the request for proposal process, and is serving as the Town’s advisor.


The Water and Sewer Commission recommended that K. Ramsay present the RFP to the engineering firms. 




J. Lapre inquired the connection fees to the sewer system with regards to the Paynter application.  A. Hitchcock stated that the connection fees should be reviewed.  J. Lapre inquired about the uncommitted reserve capacity of the Wastewater treatment facility.  There was discussion regarding the capacity and infiltration issues. D. Markowski stated that Bruce Babcock stated that the sealing at Elm Street helped the infiltration.


A. Hitchcock inquired if there were meters available for junctions to measure flow.  J. Lapre stated that there are electronic meters available, however, they are very costly and unreliable.  J. Lapre inquired if the manholes had been inspected for the infiltration issue.  D. Markowski explained that the infiltration could happen at the manhole.  A. Hitchcock stated that he has spoken with Bruce Babcock regarding some manholes and felt that this would be a good thing to discuss again.


A. Hitchcock noted that the Town launched an initiative several years ago to require the disconnection of basement sump pumps. 


Other Business


None presented at this time.


Executive Session


None at this time.




Motion by A. Hitchcock and seconded by H. McKinlay to adjourn.  Passed unanimously.


Meeting adjourned at 8:02 PM


Respectfully Submitted


Kelly Giard, Recording Secretary

David Markowski, Chair

Allen Hitchcock, Vice Chair

John Lapre

Helen McKinley

Hope Rantanen



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