The Board meets on the first and third Monday of each month. Meetings begin at 1:00 p.m. and are held in the department conference room at 65 Lafayette Ave, Littleton. Board meetings are open to the public and time is allotted for public comments at each meeting.
The regularly scheduled Board of Commissioners (BOC) meeting began at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, May 07, 2018 in the Littleton Water and Light (LWL) conference room. Present were Commissioner Ralph Ross, Commissioner Peter Cooper, Commissioner Schuyler Sweet, Financial Director Cheryl Wilkins, Administrative Assistant Sharon Hampson and Superintendent Thomas Considine
The minutes of the April 16, 2018 regularly scheduled Commissioners meeting were reviewed. Commissioner Cooper made a motion to accept the minutes as presented, seconded by Commissioner Ross.
The vote was in favor of the motion 2-0-1.
Board of Commissioner Office Reorganization (2018-2019):
Commissioner Cooper nominated Commissioner Ross as President, seconded by Commissioner Sweet. Commissioner Cooper nominated himself as Secretary, seconded by Commissioner Sweet. Commissioner Ross nominated Superintendent Considine as Treasurer, seconded by Commissioner Sweet.
The vote was in favor of the nominations 3-0-0.
Brian Toney, owner of Toney’s mobile home park, asked the BOC to abate excessive water used over several months this past winter. A home in the park froze up unbeknownst to him and a pipe broke and was not found until notified by LWL of high water use. During this period, January through March water consumption was very high. When he received his sewer bill is when he took notice of what went on. Before he can discuss with the sewer department he was told to address it with the LWL. If he was made aware that the tenant was leaving he would have shut off preventing this issue. Any consideration for that period of time would go along way with him to rectify the unbilled sewer amount.
Commissioner Ross stated the water did not go in to the sewer. Superintendent stated that the situation meets our criteria for what LWL allows. Commissioner Ross barring negligence we abate. Commissioner Sweet asked if we abate minus the costs, sounds reasonable. Superintendent Considine stated Mr. Toney has paid everything, repaired the leak and addressed the situation immediately.
Commissioner Cooper moved to grant the abatement, seconded by Commissioner Sweet.
The vote was in favor of the motion 3-0-0.
SUPERINTENDENT/ GENERAL MANAGERS REPORT:
1. Superintendent Considine updated the BOC with the costs associated with the past couple of storms. In April 2,000 customers were without power. On call crews were dispatched for outages this past weekend although not as severe as the past storm between those two weather related incidents cost LWL $50,000 and repairs are not final.
2. Rodd Roofing should be finishing the roof at LWL this week; some additional work was required to repair sections of the roof edge that had deteriorated due to years of leaking.
3. The LWL letter of introduction to the Master Power Supply agreement was recently updated. This is used when new counterparties are expressing an interest in bidding on LWL wholesale power supply.
4. Dufresne Group Consulting Engineers are working on a plan to replace/relocate about 12,000 feet of transmission water main in Bethlehem. State funding and other funding sources are being looked at to fund the estimated $5 million project. A pre-application is due to the NHDES in June in consideration of trust fund monies.
5. Cushing & Sons well drillers are schedule to sink two (2) test
holes on Lafayette Avenue oxbow property. It is hopeful that proposed new well(s) will yield an additional 250 gallons of water to supplement Brickyard.
Commissioner Cooper asked if the new well is successful would LWL still replace transmission pipeline if something happens. Superintendent stated that Brickyard well does not provide the capacity need to sustain the town system over time, adding Lafayette would provide the required capacity to allow more time for repairs to put the Gale River source back in service.
Commissioner Ross stated we have been working on this for some time; there are two (2) things that make this project appealing are that the town owns the land behind LWL and the infrastructure is so close.
6. There are three (3) projects that LWL is currently working on are and nearing completion: a primary power supply to the new Cumberland Farm and Maplefields project on the Meadow, and a 1300’ line extension for a residential subdivision on Kardell Lane off the St. Johnsbury Road. A proposed primary line extension to the old Curran Property is being discussed at this time; this most likely will be an overhead line that will require significant tree removal and trimming.
7. Water department personnel are currently cleaning up small water main leaks that developed over last winter.
GENERAL/ OTHER BUSINESS:
1. The BOC was briefed by Andrew Dorsett, Town Manager with regard to the River District Revitalization project on Saranac Street. The bids came in higher than expected and he is requesting funds in the amount of $154,885 from LWL to help with lighting fixtures on the River District project.
Commissioner Cooper asked if the light fixtures are similar to what is currently on Main Street, which Mr. Dorsett stated they are. Commissioner Cooper thought having nice fixtures on Saranac Street seemed unnecessary since there are houses, junk yards and abandoned buildings in area of that street. It just seems inappropriate for that stretch on Saranac Street. He feels placing a pole box, conduit in place but save the money by not putting poles, fixtures in that area. Andrew stated that the Town of Littleton can not amend this project at all. You will see reinvestment, some parcels have been purchased. There will be an 8’ wide bike path. We’re thinking about it for the next 5-10 years. It is a good economic investment. Commissioner Cooper asked if the scope of the project be altered. Andrew stated that any potential delay could jeopardize the project as the town of Littleton has already asked for an extension.
Superintendent Considine stated LWL has upgraded some of its water/ electric infrastructure and has spent $30,000 on water lines on Saranac Street side and still additional work is required under the project. He asked if all other funding alternative have been exhausted. Andrew stated it has and after all bids came in the project is still in need of a couple hundred thousand.
Superintendent Considine asked if a firm commitment was needed today and if the contingencies amount will be considered before sending LWL and invoice.
Commissioner Ross commented that he wished LWL was made aware of all this sooner (before you healed a gun to or head or project demise) and that LWL is being blamed for jeopardize the status of the entire project when the project was obviously underfunded to begin with. Andrew, we believe LWL has been involved in the process, but until the bids were received is the first time we have hard numbers to discuss.
Commissioner Ross stated this is nothing but cost shifting from tax payers to rate payers and that the rate or taxpayers have no participation in this discussion of subsidizing this project. Andrew said he does not see it as subsidizing but rather an investment.
Brien Ward – River District:
Discussed the changes the town has seen for redevelopment over the years where there is currently thirty-four less buildings in the area and a good decision was made when poles came off the main street and went behind the buildings. He urged the Commissioners to develop a comprehensive plan. He feels it is the best interest of the town to bury the infrastructure. He gave an example of Old Orchard Beach in Maine where the power lines were not buried. Suggested they take a look at what it is as to what it could have been. Hope you will consider.
Commissioner Ross stated it is so tight and very busy utility wise in the Mill Street area. Suggested that across the river is a more appealing and nicer path that is still along the river. Mr. Ward knows that this presents a challenge with the river district you have to plan to build in phases. As of this point sidewalk infrastructure will connect rails to trails. Historical basis in 1998 Carol Murray first monies available $250,000 for Main Street turned into a $3.8 million project. You phase it, piece at time to save taxpayer money when they come available.
Bruce Hadlock asked where that money came from and that there is nothing free.
Mr. Ward stated that everyone is entitle to their own opinion. That investing brings money back to community.
Bruce Hadlock stated the fact is LWL charter specifically brings two things to provide electric and water on our own funds that is how it is written. Read the charter because that is the responsibility of the BOC. 1949 charter amendment keeps the town manager away from stealing money out of LWL. That is a problem and the town manager should not be meddling in LWL affairs. The LWL reserves should not be used to supplement town projects and be maintained for storm trouble when it is needed and that money is quickly available. That is the reason why you operate that way; keep it in the event of an emergency. Mr. Hadlock also stated Schuyler Sweet does not even use LWL’s electricity.
Andrew stated I understand the need to have enough funds to take care of necessities. One thing that would be useful to us is some kind of engineer estimate so we can see break down of cost for the river district/Mill Street. Commissioner Cooper stated we did get a proposal for $35,000 that is still not funded.
Mr. Hadlock stated that outside people, with agendas almost made this place (LWL) go belly up; the town managers medaling in LWL affairs could results in the same if not handled properly. He does not believe Schuyler Sweet has the right to sit on both boards and is just looking for money to supplement town projects instead of going back to the people.
Commissioner Ross said that subsidizing and providing funds for the River District project it is not in the budget. That the department has big wish list items that further the departments mission, for example another feed for power coming in to town and relocating the water transmission main. LWL has a history of providing the lowest electric and water rates in the region and that in his opinion providing low rate is a good economic development incentive for everyone.
Andrew Dorsett asked if LWL would consider supporting the River District not to exceed a dollar figure and roll in the Lee Carrol’s study for Mill Street UG electric.
Commissioner Sweet commented that those are two (2) separate projects and that the River District discussion is the one being addressed.
Following some additional general discussion the BOC agreed that no decision would be made today and agreed to meet on Monday, May 14, 2018 to discuss this matter further.
2. Superintendent discussed there will be a meeting on June 15th with the forest service at the south branch dam regarding the removal of the dam and meeting with a rivers restoration engineering firm.
Commissioner Cooper made a motion to adjourn the meeting, seconded by
The vote was in favor of the motion 3-0-0.
Meeting adjourned at 2:45 p.m.
The regularly scheduled Commissioner’s meeting is held twice monthly on the first and third Monday, at 1:00 p.m., in the Department’s conference room.