Wastewater Subcommittee Meeting Minutes 4.21.22



April 21, 2022

Members Present:  Steve McClafferty, Matt Bykowski, Dan Harvey, Cynthia Browning, Andrew Rodriguez, Jamie Paustian

Members Absent:  Andy Curtis

Also Present: Nick Zaiac

Call to Order at 7:00 PM by Chairperson Harvey

Motion to approve the minutes Member Bykowski, seconded by Member Browning. Approved unanimously.

The board proceeded to begin discussion about drafting the Request for Qualifications (RFQ). The Town Administrator, responding to a question by Member Browning, explained that this process of an RFQ, noting how it divorces the decision from the specifics of cost, and allows the solicitor to decide based on the qualifications of the firm. The RFQ contains specific criteria to rank the respondents.

Members Bykowski and Rodriguez further explained how this process allows for towns to get an apples to apples comparison of those seeking to do engineering work. The Town Administrator noted that a successful RFQ must generate at least 3 firms responding to follow federal guidelines.

The Town Administrator proceeded to share the model RFQ document. Finding the document fairly boilerplate, the group proceeded to look at some examples of RFQ documents produced by other towns to apply to the same program the town is seeking funding from. These included the towns of Londonderry, Norwich, Fairfax, and Burlington.

Member Bykowski noted that successful RFQs often have explicit schedules as seen in the Burlington document.

The group discussed who would review responses to the RFQ, and acknowledged that it would be the most appropriate group to review the options and forward its recommendations for final approval by the Select Board.

Members discussed the process criteria for selection and the need to be specific with the with criteria, and actually use this criteria to decide on the order of preference of the firm.

The Town Administrator noted that the approximate target budget for this work, as explained by the state, is approximately $100,000.

Members proceeded to begin discussion of the actual scoping of what will be included in the RFQ. The Town Administrator noted that state staff encouraged the town to be slightly more comprehensive with the engineering proposal, noting that the relevant programs are expected to take the form of fully forgivable loans in the 2022 budget year, suggesting a baseline proposal of areas ranked 1-4 (East Arlington, Buck Hill/School, Central Arlington North, and Central Arlington South). Members considered the merits of both a broader and narrower scope than this. Member Rodriguez noted that a wastewater solution would be necessary to support restaurant development and healthcare center expansion in central Arlington, agreeing that this proposed scope would be viable within the budget.

Member Browning expressed concerns about the economic and policy components of wastewater developments. Others, including Member Rodriguez and the Town Administrator, noted that this is outside the typical expertise of engineers. The group agreed that this would be appropriate for a secondary, separate study to address infrastructure economic matters. Members likewise agreed that this is matter that would be appropriate for this group to work on.

The group moved to discussing the timeline. The group agreed 8/31 would be an appropriate response deadline, to be discussed at the meeting the next day, due some time in the afternoon. Members considered whether there should be a question period in the RFQ. The group agreed that there should be questions should be to the board by 8/1. There was discussion of the release date, which was set for 6/27 to hit engineer’s inboxes before the holiday, having been approved by the Select Board on or no later than its 6/20 meeting.

The group discussed the remainder of the timeline for drafting. The next meeting of this group in which it will review a draft document prepared by the Town Administrator is planned for 5/5. The document will be finalized by this group 5/19. The Select Board could vote the matter either on 6/4 or 6/20, noting that the approval vote is likely if this group votes in consensus on the final draft.

On a question by Member Rodriguez, the Town Administrator noted that this procurement process will also need to follow practices of federal procurement in anticipation of federal money being involved at some point, and that this will need to be clear in the RFQ.

The group went further on the timeline. The group set the date for the ranking of the respondents on 9/1. The date of response by the town was set for 9/8 with interview invitations. There was discussion about interviews, and whether they would be appropriate, noting that if these happen 3 would need to go through the process. The nature and timing of interviews will be decided later in the drafting process.

After this process, there would be a couple weeks for contract negotiations, approximately 1 month to be confirmed later in the drafting process. The group agreed there should be some preference in the RFQ for firms with experience in Vermont, noting the difference between large and small firms with regard to municipal projects.

Motion to adjourn at 8:13 by Member Browning, seconded by Member Bykowski.

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