Serving the Community since 1903

Minutes of Littleton Water and Light Meetings

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.

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Regular Meeting Oct 5, 2020

The regularly scheduled business meeting of the Littleton Water and Light (LWL) Board of Commissioners (BOC) began at 1:00 p.m. on October 5, 2020 in the LWL conference room. Present were Commissioner Schuyler Sweet, Commissioner Ralph Ross, Commissioner Peter Cooper, Director of Finance and Human Resources Lori Hogan and Superintendent Thomas Considine.

MINUTES REVIEW:

The minutes of the September 21, 2020 regularly scheduled Commissioners meeting were reviewed. Commissioner Cooper made a motion to accept the minutes as corrected, seconded by Commissioner Ross.

The vote was in favor of the motion 3-0-0

APPOINTMENTS:

Mr. Nicholas Nelson, representing Nelson Automotive, discussed the water service line to the garage that apparently is leaking and that he needs to make repairs. Mr. Nelson stated that he excavated where LWL indicated and nothing was found therefore he is questioning if there is a leak or is the water main picking up a system vibration. He was also informed and does not agree that he owns the water service line to the main under the town road.

Commissioner Ross stated that he would recuse himself from this discussion due to a perceived conflict of interest involving his business relationship with the property owner.

Mr. Considine stated that LWL technicians first discovered the probable leak following a recent backflow device certification test and immediately notified the owners that an audible noise was noticed emanating from the water service line. LWL isolated the service from the system at the corporation valve on the water main and the noise disappeared, confirming that there is a leak on the service line. The owner was present and acknowledged that change in tone when the line was isolated. The leak is between the corporation valve and the meter and appears to be up close to the building if not below the concrete slab inside. As the water service line was installed sometime in the 1940s (garage was built in 1946 according to Mr. Nelson) it is galvanized steel and can be challenging to repair when disturbed. As the backflow device for the garage often fails due to rust it is expected that the galvanized steel water supply service line is significantly deteriorated and near the end of its useful life.

LWL recommended that the service line be replaced from the water main to the meter though LWL field personnel are working with the owners to resolve.

Mr. Nelson confirmed that when they conducted the initial exploratory excavation, the service line was found severely deteriorated and the water line lie near the existing clay sewer service line.

The BOC reviewed LWL policy (one presented to Mr. Nelson) which stated “a service line that does not have a curb stop on the customers property. The customer is responsible for maintenance of this line from the water main to the property.” On residential property LWL provides a small stipend to help defer expense to the customer which historically covers the materials cost for a new tap.

Mr. Nelson stated that he agrees that the water service line should be replaced and asked the BOC to consider an exception to policy. The alleged leak appears to be minor and is not causing any issues currently. Business is down and has been significantly affected by the covid-19 pandemic and this is his busy time of season for tire sales. He would like to request that the service line repair/upgrade be delayed until the spring of 2021 so that he can budget for the expenses and 2) that LWL take responsible for replacing the service line under the town road to reduce the owners expense.

Commissioners advised Mr. Nelson that the BOC needed to discuss his request in greater detail as it is an exception to policy and that they would reach out to Mr. Nelson and informing him of their decision.

Mr. Nelson thanked the BOC for their time and exited the meeting at about 1:20 p.m.

Following some additional discussion, Commissioner Cooper made a motion to allow an exception to LWL policy regarding immediate repairs and that Nelson Automotive is expected to repair the leaking service line by June 1, 2021. No exception to LWL policy is granted regarding a change in maintenance responsibility, it remains the responsibility of the property owner/customer in accordance with LWL water ordinances as cited previously. Seconded by Commissioner Sweet.

The vote was in favor of the motion 2-0-1, with Commissioner Ross in abstention.

DIRECTOR OF FINANCE & HUMAN RESOURCES REPORT:

1. Mrs. Hogan advised the BOC that several cost savings initiatives are being reviewed and will be implemented that have the potential of reducing some of LWL’s operating expenses with a quick Return on Investment (ROI). ADP payroll is now paperless (immediate weekly savings), SCADA telephone landlines are being terminated and replaced with a wireless alternative (ROI about 6 months/site) and the lease buy-out of handheld LED “Robo” work light will be purchased (ROI about 24 months).

2. A few LWL employees are carrying large unused leave (vacation time) balances as the coronavirus restrictions have impacted LWL employee vacation planning. By policy, LWL employees can roll 40-hours of earned time into the following year that needs to be used by the end of March. Personal time is not eligible to be rolled over and must be used in the calendar year earned.

Following some discussion and realizing that 2020 has been an odd year due to the many covid-19 restriction in place regionally, and not wanting to penalize employees for their work diligence and loyalty. The BOC agreed not take away LWL employees earn time over the 40-hours rollover and offer them the option to either roll the time forward or buy back the hours more than the 40-hours rollover.

Commissioner Ross made a motion to allow eligible LWL employees a one (1) time option (2020-2021) to either rollover more than 40-hours of vacation time toward 2021 without restriction or to sell the time that is over the 40-hour rollover back to LWL. As this is a budget issue the applicable employees must let LWL know their preference by December 15, 2020. Seconded by Commissioner Cooper.

The vote was in favor of the motion 3-0-0

SUPERINTENDENT/ GENERAL MANAGERS REPORT:

1. There was another water leak on Redington Street on Saturday,
October 3, 2020 at about 8:30 a.m. near the Apthorp Common backstop. The leak was quickly isolated by LWL personnel and a 48-inch section of the 12-inch water main was replaced. Prior to the event the water system appeared to be in a steady state flow condition when a surge in flow cause a 300 GPM variant in system pressure. It is speculated that an automated type solenoid control valve open and closing rapidly inducing a water hammer in the system.

2. The project to remove the dam and restore the South Branch of the Gale River will be completed this week. Punch list items and the final pay requests are being prepared. An additional project construction progress meeting will most likely be convened on or about October 21, 2020 that will include the major private funding partners to close out the project.

GENERAL/OTHER BUSINESS:

1. The BOC reviewed a preliminary proposal submitted by Northern Transmission LLC date September 26, 2020 to interconnect a battery storage system at the former Hitchiner facility near the old loading dock. Following some discussion, the BOC decided that the proponent of the project should address the BOC directly as to the pros and cons of the project and how LWL customers would benefit.

2. Mrs. Hogan discussed audit checks in balance with the BOC. Though the A/P check register are generally reviewed by the BOC Mrs. Hogan suggested that the BOC officially designate a member of the board to this task. This would provide an official level of oversight over management that would be looked on favorably by an auditor and public. Typically, all A/P invoices are being coded to the appropriate general ledger item, approved by Tom, queued for payment, paid and review by the Commissioner(s).

Following some additional discussion Commissioner Cooper nominated Commissioner Ross (without exception) to provide official A/P oversight on behalf of the LWL BOC. Seconded by Commissioner Sweet.

The vote was in favor of the motion 2-0-1, with Commissioner Ross in abstention.

MEETING ADJOURNMENT:

There being no further business to come before the board Commissioner Cooper made a motion to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Commissioner Ross.

The vote was in favor of the motion 3-0-0.

Meeting adjourned at 2:35 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.


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