Selectboard Meeting Notes – War and Water

brattleboro sb may 5 2020

The Brattleboro Selectboard held their regular virtual meeting Tuesday night to discuss war monuments, COVID-19, the Town financial outlook, a new water treatment plant, a new pump station, a new purchase of property, and an overview of additional planned Utility Fund expenses.

The new water treatment plant is estimated, currently, to cost about $11 million.

Comments | 5

  • Preliminaries

    Chair Tim Wessel says hi. He had no expanded remarks but sees wonderful examples of strengths and kindness in the community. I thank everyone for their patience.

    Town Manager Elwell – the vandalism on the Veterans Memorial and some context… the main thing I want to convey that there is some action being done after research by the students and historical society. It should have been known earlier. They were working

    Liz – explain?

    Elwell – there is a group of students at BAMS that have done research with Joe Rivers (on board of BHS) and he has worked with them professionally to use source documents to confirm that the civil war monument on the Common is incomplete. It references a certain number and a number of them that died, but not all that served from Brattleboro. It was thought at first that all left off had been men of color. The fuller story is more. The students have confirmed that there are omissions, and the omission of people of color was both racism and claims. There were white men that served, or served on behalf of others, that went unrecognized. The point to underscore… two things. One is that the omission is a matter of fact and the details are still being researched before corrective action is taken. Everyone will come before selectboard, and I hope it is a chance for us to rally around the understanding that history isn’t always as presented to us. It will take more time. I had an update just as COVID was starting and I regret I didn’t give an update at that time. I didn’t, and some individual made a choice to protest and call attention to this, but was degrading to veterans and others. We health quickly and cleaned the monument. It’s not the right monument. The obelisk needs correction, but the other war monument was defaced. Hope this is a blip and behind us, and the community can come together, learn, and grow in this recognition in a way we find together.

    Daniel – are we 100% certain that the more recent monument is complete?

    Elwell – I have greater confidence but we’ll double check as well. The one thing that is clear going forward is that from a historic preservation point of view, to not to attempt to rewrite what happened in the 1880’s, but point out the 2020 corrective message. The plaque on the obelisk will not be changed… that’s what they decided to do and what they did, and we’ll do what we do right next to it so people can understand what happened.

    Tim – for me, I can get emotional about the issue. I had a brother died in service to this country, so it hits close to home. Vandalism against a monument shouldn’t;t have to do with the debate about correcting past monuments and updating them. It can be an emotional moment for people and I hope everyone can take a deep breath, and be kind. It was tough for some people. Other selectboard members?

    Liz – I wanted to mention that during this crisis many nonprofits and private people have stepped up to help, and I want to thank them so people are aware of these initiatives. I have a list… brattleboro area mutual aid was formed for mutual aid and have point people in neighborhoods to help one another. Call To Action podcast series with Peter Case and BCTV. Groundworks have connections with all key stakeholders and have housed people at hotels and provide support for them ongoing. The State legislative team have online meetings every Saturday. They are available to help, as are senators. The school and food banks are providing meals for people in need. SEVCA has done an amazing job. Worker child care. BDCC business resiliency program. United Way. The Windham Regional Commission has a great list.

    Daniel – the Brattleboro Town website has many links to these things on the homepage. I wanted to flag up the historical societies audio podcast series. They are on soundcloud. There is a really rich bunch of recordings made in collaboration with students from the middle school. They are really really great. All sorts of Brattleboro topics.

    Ian – I’d add Vermont Legal Aid to Liz’s list. Very helpful resource.

    Tim – I’d point out the American Legion buddy check and let people know if you need help or a phone call. They’ll call others, too, who could use a hand with something and don’t want to admit it. I like their system at Post 5.

    Brandie – as we know, there have been some restrictions lifted and some are venturing more outdoors and gardening centers… I am going to be looking to stores that encourage social distancing, and will be looming for places where employees and customers are wearing masks. I saw a good example today of everyone wearing masks – that’s the kind of place I will frequent. Even if you don’t believe in the mask system, what is your reputational worth in the community. I’ll be looking for responsibility.

    Daniel – I agree. I’m comfortable in some places. I had to go out today more, and was comfy in some places and not in others. We don’t have so much about liberty in the UK, it’s a bit cultural. I want the community to be safe, and it may be an inconvenience or might seem silly but safety is what I want.

    Tim – I advocate – you can’t keep a mask on a two year old. There’s humor there, but I was at the store was getting uncomfortably close, and that fed into my fear about people wearing masks not thinking they need to keep the distance. It isn’t a substitute for distance. 6 feet or more, and a mask. It makes everyone feel more comfortable.

    Public Participation

    Tom Costello – thanks for the opportunity to speak to you, and thanks for serving us all so well. I’m commander of Post 5 American Legion, grateful for service to town. Many years ago I was taught public service in Brattleboro is above that in other parts of the state, and it is today. In 2015, we had an event with seminars and an an in-depth discussion of our civil war. We’re also familiar with those that died more recently. We had an event called HONOR for men who died in Vietnam. The foundation for that event was students at Brattleboro High School. One thing we got was a flag, from Blake, 1970. WE support the inquiry to identify any individuals who served an died and are not presently accounted for on the monuments. This inquiry is made by our students carry forward with work they did before. We’d be honored to participate in the search to identify all our men, and leave no men behind. These are our brothers and our heart aches for those without proper recognition. If any african american brothers have not been recognized, veterans will be in the front rank recognizing them. We look forward to working with you. With malice toward none and charity to all.. Abe Lincoln. In that spirit we dedicate ourselves to this mission.

    Tim – we’ll work with Post 5 and others who want to help.

    Stephanie Bonin , DBA – a quick update of our kids walkie talkies… oh wait. The one to one project. Sort of like the buddy check – we got a 12 week grant to reach out to every business in the district – all 100 – retail businesses and make sure they haven’t missed any assistance if they want to stay in the community. We’ve reached 72 businesses, 12 have been able to get PPP funds, 16 got grants, and we’re pairing people with similar interests or challenges. We want a more cohesive connected network downtown. We have had incredible dialogue on our private facebook page. People helping each other out. The community isn’t getting the relief they need. People are cheering for unemployment. The idea of how we reopen… it is trickier than closing was. I’d love for us to have clear direction to community members about public expectations, and that will be really tough. What comes from the state isn’t always clear. It will be easiest if we can point to an order from the governor or town. Helpful for all to have clear expectations.

    Tim – thanks.

    Brandie – if we can have a sign,’ no shoes, no shirt no service,’ we should have one for wearing masks…

    Elwell – patrick lost his connection to the meeting and wondered if we did. He should get back in. The state isn’t requiring masks, but any store, or in a position to have the public in their space, can require that everyone is wearing a mask. The town has implemented that, and people only come in if they have a mask. We have extra masks.

    Brandie – we need shop owners on board with employees wearing masks. Some have ’em, some don’t. We should help shop owners enforce the same thing.

    Stephanie – there are so many points – signing credit card slips with a shred pen. I’m a believer for one for all and all for one. It will take a lot to win people’s trust back, and whatever we can do…it would be wonderful to be consistent around Brattleboro.

    Tim – it’s creating culture of respect. Brattleboro won’t pass an edict to require masks.. we don’t have that power. People need their own personal ways to act to others not respecting what they need. You have your work cut out for you, Stephanie. Things will open slowly? A challenge to figure that all out.

    Liz – when shops open, there will still be online and curbside services?

    Stephanie – all the discussion is pivoting to survive. No one has the answer yet. No one can tell you what it will look like, but we’re seeing some places open up more.

    Elwell – Patrick has rejoined us.

    Tim – thanks Stephanie…

  • COVID -19 Update + Budget Implications

    Elwell – because my updates in prior meetings have been thorough, I’ll focus on things that have changed. Yesterday, in the offices, administrative services have opened a bit. Doors are still locked and will be so for weeks. Going too quickly will be a mistake. Offices are staffed with one person each day now. Wear masks, gloves, social distance… what is different this week is that if the public needs to come in to the municipal center for town business, you are able to do that. We ask that people do as much business remotely as possible. We want to limit face to face interaction. In town government, we are requiring that if something can’t be done remotely, they can be met at the door by a town employee, get escorted to the correct office (with mask, hand sanitizer, and surfaces wiped down.) Usually one person per office, but if more, they will also follow protective measures of masks and hand sanitizer. It is a slow reopening and it will probably last for weeks. May 15 isn’t a magic date for freeing things up, but will be a time of some additional movement, but the constraints of masks and social distancing and hand washing. It will stay in place for a long time. The next phase will be to bring in more employees to the offices, but we’re not in a hurry to do that. We have a lot of capacity for working remotely and get the vast majority of town services provided. We’ll be in this status for a long time. And then, more limited services. A third phase beyond that will be when we open the doors. As has been true throughout, emergency services continue to be provided. Field services are ramping up, but there are protocols to follow.

    Tim – I spoke with Starr about the library. They are starting to check out and returning, but is there a different level of comfort with new protocols at the Municipal Center?

    Elwell – we’re humans. Some people are feeling bolder and annoyed, some think this isn’t enough. WE talk about those things and learn from others. We have on order Plexiglas barriers for offices. That will be standard. There are things we are doing beyond masks and sanitizer and wiping down services. Everyone was helpful, and people spoke up about concerns. Everyone received training – VOSHA best practices – but that was brief and we wanted town employees could learn more and be more interactive about our procedures. The Fire Dept recorded a train video with Dept Heads about what to do, and some lightness to it. We’re going to get through this, even while learning to do things safely. Glad you mentioned the library. They and the Rec dept are a bit different. The community gathers. Library has curbside pickup and has ramped up that small bit. In the Rec DEpt, the types of activities are interactive groups, but as soon as it is safe the Rec DEpt will be offering things again. Likely weeks away.

    Ian – I used the Library curbside pickup and it was super easy.

    Elwell – all book returns should go to the big blue box near Municipal Center, so the materials can be cleaned properly. We’ve also installed a black metal lockbox and a wooden light pole and the easternmost one is for dropping of tax payments or utility payments. Safer for bill payers and staff.

    Liz – and the building is locked anyway.

    Elwell – if you have a question, then it may require being face to face, but could be done by phone or email so use those means, but if you need to interact at a counter, the same safety procedures apply, but for payments, do it electronically or in the parking lot. We’re trying to push people away who don’t have to be in the building – this is the time for tax bills and many would normally come in, so we’re firmly politely asking they don’t come in.

    Daniel – with payments online, there is an additional fee?

    Elwell – if paid by credit card, yes, the card processor charges a fee. Banks can make payments directly, or you can have direct debit. Or pay by check. May 15th is the deadline day.

    Liz – if in the box, you don’t need a stamp.

    Tim – I always pay at the counter, so this is hard for me. I don’t know why.

    Daniel – maybe they could drop their payment and drop a note to say hi to town staff.

    Elwell – a financial update. This was a written update for the selectboard in their background materials. To be clear, everything comes with a big star next to it. Revenues in solid waste, for example, are always a month behind for bag sales. There will be a final tally of revenues by late or middle August. WE have estimated the additional expenditures we know we will incur and we think we’ll end the fiscal year about half a million below what was expected. Likewise, there is the extra tax revenue and we’ve estimated other revenues and we think revenues will come in half a million under the budget amount. There are some huge assumptions, and why we are uncomfortable with our margin of error. In addition to the assumptions there is also so many pieces to this. There is rounding involved with many line items, and it leaves us anxious that decisions might be made about this. If this first estimate remains accurate, and we’ll review this each meeting, it means we’ll end the year without a surplus or deficit. Or just a small amount. The difficulty is that we have no margin… anything worse than we expect will be a situation that will cause a deficit. It would be undesirable, but it may be beyond our control.

    Elwell – the assumptions are that we expect a normal rate of property tax collection. Not 100% but a normal percent. We have tax abatements each year, but don’t know what to expect this year. For employees, unemployment insurance is starting to kick in, but business funds have been limited. Larger commercial properties are often owned by corporations. Escrow companies pay on behalf of some. The sum total is it is reasonable to expect we might end up a bit below our normal collection amount. Every percent is 150k in the Town budget. A small difference has a huge impact. We won’t know until a bit later as to how collections for May are going. At this point, we are right where we were last year. Right about normal. But we might end up short. Oops, turning off the camera to preserve bandwidth… weird talking to the black screen. Anyway, a small percentage can be a large dollar amount. We’ll see as the deadline goes. More on this in two weeks.

    Elwell – the four other assumptions – a conservative protective assumption. Don’t expect any more rooms and meals tax revenue. It’s obvious lodging and restaurants are not doing the business they were. Best to just assume there will be nothing for the 3rd quarter. We think we’ll get some from the Sales tax. MY camera is back. What we assumed for sales tax is that there is still a fair amount of commerce by non-lodging and restaurants. Some other businesses, and online sales have increased. It is possible that the greater than expected collection in the earlier part of the year will continue, but we forecast less. We expect some shortages in final two quarters, and above in 1st two, so it should balance out.

    Elwell – the last two are policy questions for the board. If we make a payment to Cow Power or carbon offsets, we assume we won’t do it this year because of the uncertainty. If you decide to make such a payment, that might be a tipping point and come from the unassigned fund balance. Likewise, if there are any general fund recovery or relief payments, that would be above and beyond the budget. WE anticipate there won’t be any such expenses, but if you decide there needs to be it would be additional costs. We are in communication with other communities and the state for a coordinated relied fund using program income funds. We would provide direct payments of grants or loans to businesses using federal funds. I still don’t see you but I can take questions.

    Ian – could you speak more about the abatement process in light of the current situation.

    Elwell – yeah, it is not a heavily used option in a normal year but might get more use this year. WE should turn to the Town Clerk.

    Hilary Francis – can you hear me? Thanks. Yes, everything is on the website. The abatement application form and the process… taxes, water charges, collection fees… when the board aggress that the request is reasonable and proper. There are five reasons to grant an abatement. Taxes of who have died insolvent, taxes of those who have moved from state, those unable to pay their taxes, or where there is an error, or upon property discussions. Those are the only reasons the board can grant an abatement. Submit an application, the board has 13 member quorum minimum. Hearings held twice a year, based on requests. We recommend people should remember that the person expecting the abatement must prove it – a balance sheet or list of assets and expenses. The board wants a deep dive to see if someone can pay or not. Under normal circumstances, choosing not to pay and to get penalties and interest while waiting for a hearing can make things worse if the board doesn’t grant the abatement. All of this is on the website under Town Clerk.

    Brandie – glad you explained the normal process. My question – is there anything in place that can lessen people’s stress when so many people are struggling. Abatement hearings should be understood that this is not a normal year. Have there been changes to lessen stress of this process?

    Elwell – the legislature has adopted some deadline changes, but it is difficult for municipalities. There is some global relief. The abatement process is no, there is no legislation has changed requirements for abatement. Not aware of any changes for applicants. The legislature did approve to extend the deadline for when payments are due, or waive the penalties and interest for late payments. There are pros and cons for each. For relieving stress on some people, it may seem like a no-brainer, but there are some implications we’ll need to discuss. Look at benefits and native impacts. The problem is the VLCT and some towns asked legislature for protection – whether or not we’ve collected, we have to pay 100% of the education property taxes. That’s more than half of what we collect. If we proceed with a forgiving system and waive penalties and pushes deadlines, then we will under collect substantially, and every 1% is $150k, and we’ll still owe the state. It puts towns in a difficult position. We’re likely to have to borrow, and that has a tax impact on what we can do in the community. We need to keep looking at it, but the way it has been adopted isn’t a very viable path forward.

    Brandie – we’re responsible for school taxes? What does that look like this year?

    Elwell – I can have it for the next meeting. I’d need to do some research. I left this out but when we asked the legislature to protect us against this situation, so you could use this tool to collect less taxes without needing to borrow to pay the state – we proposed that the state is getting resources and that they provide the backstop on the education property tax. That ended up on the cutting room floor. It will be very difficult for any municipalities to use these tools.

    Brandie – I’d like to explain to our community why we can’t do things financially and why our hands have been tied. I’d like to know how much we’ll owe for the school and where our hands our tied. And why we can’t do more.

    Tim – It is a problematic situation to consider any blanket move in these stressful times. Blanket changes can allow some people who can pay taxes to not pay them. We should rely on a well designed abatement process in my opinion.

    Elwell – this comes with a shout out to Emily Kornheiser noticing that the original municipal taxation bill that relief that Brattleboro needs because we don’t have an adopted budget yet. Legislators got an education about RTM. We need to collect taxes, but won’t have a RTM in time. The bill about municipal taxation, it didn’t have the provision for us to issue first quarter tax bills. We expect it to be adopted – any place that hasn’t has a annual town meeting will be allowed to have selectboard adopt a budget and approve a tax rate to be able to move into July and not shut down. We hope to have a RTM sometime in June, but maybe later, so we need this protection to keep government functioning. This will be the stopgap we need.

    Tim – yes, a story that happened in the background. We’ve had a lot of talk, but I haven’t oped up the phone line. We had a couple of callers. Kate O’Connor?

    Kate – you can hear me? Oh, exciting. I appreciate saying a few words. Go To Meeting isn’t my friend. The Chamber wants to let you know that all businesses are not closed. They are working differently, but safely doing business. From comfort of home or curbside. Support what is open now. Online sales are up. Online sales need to be online in Brattleboro. Make your first stop a Brattleboro business. Buy local. Support local. You can get it!

    Brandie – I do a lot of curbside and takeout to support Brattleboro businesses.

  • Water and Sewer Commissioners #1

    Water Treatment Plant Replacement Project

    Tim – a big item, coming down the pike for a while, that we are scared of talking about, but we’ll discuss it.

    Elwell – This discussion is likely to take a while. It is big essential and expensive. Could be an hour. Wanna have a break?


    Elwell – the expected useful life of the old plant was 20 years and would have been replaced by 2009. It isn’t neglected. We are recommending a replacement . The planning began in 2003. We did the sewage plant first, then the police fire project, but the time has come. We had been planning while doing the police fire project. Much work behind the scenes to improve our water operations. The sewage system was a large project. Here we are focusing on the water plant. When Steve is done, Chrissy Haskins will speak.

    Steve Barrett – we’re talking about the original water treatment plant for the time of Brattleboro. The history is that after we upgraded, we kept it up to date. It performed very well, it corrected our discolored water in town, and reduced boil water orders. In the 200’s we saw some problems with the structure. The CAD system at the time underdesigned the roof. Had to shovel each winter. We looked at upgrades a few times. In 2003 it was estimated to be a $5 million. In 2009 it was $7 million. We talk about it with the selectboard every year. Other projects took priority. Another attempt was 2018. And last year more money was put in for preliminary engineering. That’s here we sit today. A preliminary cost of $11 million. The engineers have been conservative. We are looking for a loan to do a final design. It is complex and will require engineers and an array of expertise to go along. In 2017 the board approved an asset management plan.

    Chrissy, from Dufresne Group – working on this for quite a while. For us, since 1999. Various projects and estimates have been developed. Now we submitted a final report to the state, took all previous evaluations and added on for this report. I’ll do a high level summary. We looked at different types of treatment. We looked at other methods, such as membranes. We settled on sticking with the same method – mixed media filtration. It has the lowest risk to the water system. The operators know how to run it. A new method would be costly to change to. No reason to change. Some equipment is still in good condition. You bought stainless steel filters. Yours are in great condition and will be reused with minor refurbishment. Tank won’t require repairs and will be easy to switch over to a new plant. WE also looked at building locations. The existing one isn’t in great shape and was built wrong. You’ve gotten more out of it than others. It is too small for additional equipment. We looked at putting on an addition and rehabbing the existing, but decided on a new building due to code compliance issues with the old building. It’ll have additional space and be built to current codes. It can also streamline the process a bit. We have the best water treatment plant architect on our team. Very specialized requirements. he knows the existing building. He’s evaluating building types right now. 20 years from now, we want you to have a building you won’t have to replace. Just components inside. As for energy efficiency, the new building will be better. The technology will be newer – lights, HVAC, pumps, variable frequency drives, and insulation – today’s buildings require more insulation. And Efficiency Vermont will review the design for additional input. There will be a new SCADA system for the building – a plant controller to control pumps, filters, pump stations, and so on. You’ll have a full SCADA upgrade at all water pump stations, public works building, etc. That new system will improve operational efficiency and components. easier for operators to do monthly reports, and increased automation of the plant. We want a long term building and a plan for future water regulations – what might be coming along in regulations? They gave us some ideas and we’ll have excess space for potential future chemical feed systems, and provisions to connect active carbon feed. Also evaluated other types of treatment and regulations, but those were unnecessary. In terms of cost, it is about $11 million, including temporary utilities while under construction, a new larger building and maintenance area, refurbishing three eating filters and adding a new 4th filter. All chemical feeds and pumps and piping will be replaced – all new. New electrical and instrumentation and a full SCADA upgrade throughout the water system. The cost to add fluoride is included. It requires a vote by the town. The price is there if you are interested. There will modification of waste water – there will be an equalization basin and sewer main extension to remove process waste. Contingency is 25% which is typical at this stage. That about $1.9 million. As we work more, that will go down. The 11 million includes design and engineering. DWSRF planning loan iz 0% interest that would be wrapped into construction loan later. Once we get to construction., we’ll use their construction loan. 30 years with a 25 % subsidy (grant). The federal govt may issue stimulus funding, and could spur construction. State thinks this will happen. We may get a higher grant percentage for construction. The planning loan is for $480k – the final design fee, including our services and sub consultants (60% of the design fee), plus 8 permits… so, any questions?

    Elwell – one more fact – this loan and this effort will lead to the final design and cost estimate to go to construction, late this year and you can move forward at next year’s RTM, and they’lll decide if it goes forward.

    Liz – Two questions – comparing this large expense with a fire truck, you can’t buy a fire truck off the shelf. It needs to be tailor made. Is the same thing true here? Or are there cost savings with getting standard components.?

    Steve – the filters we purchase in 1989 are still being used. Common parts. The plant gets customized to our location, but components are standard.

    Chrissy -yes, components are off the shelf. They just need to be sized. We’ll optimize a few of your processes but the equipment will be off the shelf.

    Liz – in the application, current maintenance costs are $1.8-2 million. Will these go down with new facility?

    Chrissy – those estimates consider inflation. 3% a year. Post project, in 2023… operation costs will be about the same. There will be some maintenance savings. The lagoons won’t need to be maintained.

    Steve – that’s a huge savings each year. We’ll be adding a filter. 500 million gallons a year. The additional filter will help us during peak flows. We might be able to run them at a lower rate. We’re hopeful we’ll have some energy savings, and cost savings. Efficiency Vermont will help.

    Liz – a very important project!

    Tim – steve answered my question about the extra filter.

    Steve – it is a regulation as well. These costs – the selectboard has kept other costs down on other projects to help afford this. Much of this has been paid for all along without loans. Keeping the overall costs down.

    Ian – surprised that the technology has changed a lot but the filtration system is the same as the 80’s. If we weren’t replacing it and building one new, would we also consider it?

    Steve – this technology is still used. We spent a year testing the water with a temporary facility with different treatment processes at Sunset Lake before this plant was built. membrane filtration is fascinating, but would cost us more and we’d have to start over.

    Tim – the state will provide 25% of the funding?

    Chrissy – this year for construction projects it is a 25% subsidy. Timing will be critical. We’re hopeful we’ll be getting that.

    Elwell- and also possibly some from the federal stimulus, if that arrives. We’ll be shovel-ready when that arrives. It is meant to be affordable. The federal government pumps money toward these projects and meet regulatory requirements. It is always affordable, and in the sewer financing a portion had negative interest. W got revenue on a portion of the money we borrowed. Sometimes it is hard to understand, but that’s why engineers steer us to the right outcomes. This is an urgent need at a fortuitous moment, financing -wise.

    Tim – we’ve been fiscally prudent and have been building up some cash reserves for this?

    Elwell – we built up to a $5 million surplus. We knew it was going to be more than the cash we had available, and the borrowing programs are affordable and good tools. Last year we took a year off to figure out these costs, and expected some cash plus borrowing. We have a lot to go over with you in the next couple of meetings about water and were needs. We’ll get into more details. Tonight, we want to borrow the $480k to finish engineering, then decide later on the rest of the funding package.

    Approved! an application for funding from the State Revolving Loan Fund for final design engineering services at $480,000.

  • Water and Sewer Commissioners #2

    Signal Hill Pump Station Replacement Project

    Steve – Signal Hill is up off Guilford Street. It was a private development, put in the 1970s, then taken over by the town and we’ve owned it since 1970. We had a survey done by the state – this pump is deficient. Really outdated. Did preliminary engineering design. Needed to find a new location. Current property is tiny. A lot was available just above it that we feel would be well suited for today’s new pump station needs. So, first we ask to purchase that lot – $47,000, on Guilford Street.

    Steve – the second ask is for engineering for $51,000 to the Dufresne Group. This would be final design for the $300k pump station. It would come from the Utilities Capital Fund.

    Tim – is this the right firm?

    Steve – yes, Dufresne Group has a complete model of our water system and it saves us money. Many towns use a similar relationship with an engineering firm. It is beneficial to the Town.

    approved! and approved!

  • Water and Sewer Commissioners #3

    Overall Utilities Fund Capital Projects Update

    Elwell – briefly – we’ll look at projects and rates as time goes on. Tonight we’ll provide some background information on where we stand with various capital projects. This is a broad perspective update on where we stand on the capital side, before we do the operational costs.

    Steve – I’ll start and Dan will help. This is a summary. The Capital Plan – the water treatment facility and new pump station at signal hill, and the exit 1 utility upgrades – those are the bigger projects. Plus Hinsdale Bridge replacement. A lot of projects going on in Utilities, and some are ready to go, and if there is recovery money we’ll apply. Pleasant Valley waste line will take waste to the water treatment plant – $300k.

    Dan Tyler – Exit 1 is a federal project – hope to go out to bid in June. There’s funding and reimbursement of 50%. The two big water main project coincide with Vtrans projects – the redesign of Putney Rd has identified numerous sewer line changes. Greene International is doing the work. Hinsdale Bridge project has had much engineering dine – we need to relocate some of our mains. The cover at the Waste Water Treatment Plant is part of odor control and will put that out to bid soon. Funds have been set aside. Sewer mains and tightening… fixing and repairing manholes. Vehicles are part of our capital replacement plan. We’re shuffling it around a bit. Looking at hybrid cars for fleet. Will replace water meters, too. Tank resurfacing at Pleasant Valley will be going out to bid. Removing an aeration field from the the water treatment plan.

    Steve – that’s the quick summary, moving right along!

    Tim – you are doing a lot in your department. I appreciate the shuffling of vehicles to keep some things running longer. Like your electric vehicles?

    Steve – yes – hardly use any gas at all. And used lots of time for taking tests. We have tried bicycles, too. Haven’t purchased one yet. Employees were shy at first, then everyone wanted to try it out. A cargo bike, for seasonal help with hydrants. We’ll get two of them.

    Tim – great summary. So… a motion to adjourn?

    adjourned, as water and sewer commissioners, then as selectboard, to be purists!

    Liz – I see your adjourn and raise you one…

Leave a Reply