Utilities Commission Meeting – September 5, 2017

UTILITIES COMMISSION MEETING

SEPTEMBER 5, 2017

Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Council members Liz Gross, Linda C. Kuiper, Samuel T. Shoge and Mauritz Stetson, Bob Sipes (Utilities Manager), Jennifer Mulligan (Town Clerk), and guests.

Mayor Cerino asked if there were any additions or corrections to the Utilities Commission meeting minutes of August 7, 2017. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the minutes as presented, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.

Mayor Cerino stated that operating funds on hand is $1,071,761.78 and an additional $623,400.00 was set aside in capital funds for a total of $1,695,161.78.

Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to pay the bills.  Ms. Gross moved to pay the bills as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.

Mr. Sipes stated that the overhaul on the chemscan unit at the waste water treatment plant was complete and working again.

Mr. Sipes stated that information was given to each of the Councilmembers regarding a leak on Calvert Street. Mr. Sipes stated that he credited the sewer portion of the bill but he did not have the authority to credit water usage.  He said that this was a major leak and the homeowners were requesting a credit based upon a hardship.

Mr. Sipes stated that the homeowner was aware of the leak under the house but due to the expense of the repair the owner allowed it to continue. He said he did not think they had a grasp on the how fast water usage could accumulate.  Mr. Sipes stated that he could not turn the water off with someone living in the house.

Mr. Stetson asked how long the leak continued after the homeowners were made aware of the problem. Mr. Sipes stated that he thought that approximately 7 months passed before the repair was made.  Ms. Gross stated that their bill still appeared to be running high after the repair.  Mr. Sipes stated that the repair took place on March 31st and a meter reading was taken before that date so it showed in the June billing.  The leak was causing 4,000 gallons of wasted water each day.

Mr. Sipes stated that this leak was not accessible and some of the plumbers who came to look at it did not want to do the repair because it was difficult. The plumbers who would do the work wanted to charge thousands of dollars.

Mr. Sipes stated that the usage is almost back to normal since the repair has been made. He said that for this property a normal bill is slightly over the minimum usage charge.

Mr. Stetson suggested a payment schedule for the homeowner, noting that he did not think that waiving the entire bill was appropriate. Mr. Shoge stated that it was clear there was a significant leak and suggested waiving some of the bill and to average out the normal usage and use that figure for the quarters involving the leak.  Ms. Gross stated that the she agreed a good compromise was averaging out this property owner’s typical usage and working out a payment schedule.  Mr. Sipes stated that the homeowner has already paid over $1,300.00 on this bill when the property went to tax sale.

Ms. Gross moved to authorize Mr. Sipes to work out a payment plan reviewing the history of the account averaging bills for the last 3 years (before the leak) and working with the homeowner on a payment plan due before the end of FY2018, forgiving the unusually high usage given the homeowners efforts to repair, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.  

There being no further business, Mr. Stetson moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:47 p.m. was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.

Submitted by:                                                 Approved by:

Jennifer Mulligan                                            Chris Cerino

Town Clerk                                                     Mayor

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