Water Commissioners Meeting Minutes 7.19.21



Commissioners  in Attendance:   Dan Harvey, Matthew Bykowski, Cynthia Browning,  Todd Wilkins

Commissioners Absent: Glenn Sherman

Also in  Attendance: AWD Chief Operator- Burr Snow, Town Administrator- Nick Zaiac, and Janet Barry on phone.

The meeting was called to order by Mr. Harvey at 7:00PM

Minutes of the Meeting on April 26, 2021:  Mr. Wilkins made a motion to accept as presented, the minutes of the meeting of April 26, 2021. Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed unanimously.

Old Business: South Road Update: Chief Operator Burr Snow, the Water Board Commissioners and Town Administrator Nick Zaiac discussed the Otter Creek Engineering proposal for a preliminary study concerning the South Road booster pump system and the chlorine contact time for the five households on South Road. Mr. Snow explained the State had recently done a sanitary survey of the whole water system, and he would like to wait for their feedback, which should be available soon, before deciding on the Otter Creek proposal. It was discussed that they could have a special, warned, Water Board meeting when they are ready to make their decision about the Otter Creek proposal. It was discussed that the best plan is to amend the Otter Creek proposal to explicitly incorporate the Town’s goals, and utilize Otter Creek’s expertise to have the best information about the chlorine contact time and potential of building wells, and eliminating the booster station.

Rate Adjustment Decision:  Mr. Zaiac supplied the Commissioners and Mr. Snow with a Memorandum on Water Rates that he created with different options for a rate increase. He said rates need to be sustainable to properly run the system, as well has create surplus for the future.  It was discussed that there has not been a rate increase since 2007, and it was discussed the desire to do gradual increases over time that would not overburden the rate payers.   Mr. Wilkins made a motion to increase the Arlington Water Department water bills $10 per quarter, effective with the October 2021 billing cycle. Mr. Bykowski seconded. Motion passed unanimously. It was discussed that postcards to rate payers will be sent out before the next billing cycle, and will include the fact that rates have not been raised since 2007. Mr. Zaiac said he will also post the rate increase on the Town’s website as well.

New Business: Review of Aged Receivables: The Water Commissioners, Mr. Zaiac, and Mr. Snow reviewed the Aged Receivables. Mr. Zaiac said some people had missed payments but had called to inform him of the situation, and most people have been doing well with their payment plans that were in place. He also said letters will go out to those currently over the balance threshold of $500, and he thanked the Commissioners for lowering the threshold, which has helped customers to be made aware of any past due balances sooner, when they are more manageable. He said one or two customers have not responded to previous notifications and will be addressed to the extent of the law.

ARPA Update: Mr. Zaiac said that two thirds of the American Rescue Plan funds are tied up in courts, and representatives and senators are in the process of getting the details ironed out. Arlington is still expected to have its full county share. Mr. Zaiac said Sunderland will be contacted because they have limited options on how they can spend their share of the funds, and will be asked to consider contributing to Arlington Water Department projects that would impact Sunderland.

Red Mountain Spring Pump House:  Mr. Zaiac said Mr. Snow has requested an 8×8 expansion of the Red Mountain Spring Pump House, to be enlarged to 16×8. Due to the proximity to streams, it will be a lengthy permit process. The entire project should be no more than $10,000, possibly between $7,000-$9,000 total. He said the funds are currently in the bank, saved from the bank note interest that was waived by the bank during the pandemic. Mr. Zaiac said he would like to bid the project while it is still in the ZBA and Planning Commission phase, to be able to have the job completed before winter, hopefully in October. He said the Commissioners can approve a construction contract later. Mr. Bykowski made a motion to approve pursuing a permit for the 8×8 expansion of the Red Mountain Spring Pump House expansion, and to solicit contractor bids for said project. Mr. Wilkins seconded. Motion passed unanimously.

WD ISO Component Flow Testing: Mr. Zaiac provided a memo to the Commissioners and Mr. Snow about the need to have annual flushing, inspection and flow testing of Town hydrants, that could increase the Town’s ISO rating by 4 points, thereby possibly benefiting homeowner’s insurance costs.  He said they have not been current for at least five years, and the previous Chief Operator may have done annual hydrant testing but it is unclear if the results were ever submitted for inclusion in the ISO score. Mr. Zaiac said a manual can be purchased with details of the procedures, and they may be able to observe another town when they perform their tests, to aide in training.

Executive Session:  None

Other Business: Mr. Snow said he is waiting on contractor figures for the Russell Street hydrant job, and it was discussed that the Yellow Barn water project has been completed.

Mr. Bykowski made a motion to adjourn. Ms. Browning seconded. Motion passed. Meeting adjourned at 7:59PM.

The next regularly scheduled Water Department Meeting will be October 18, 2021.

Minutes taken by Janet Barry

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