UTILITIES COMMISSION MEETING
JUNE 4, 2018
Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m. In attendance were Council members David Foster, Linda C. Kuiper, Rev. Ellsworth Tolliver and Mauritz Stetson, Bob Sipes (Utilities Director), Jennifer Mulligan (Town Clerk) and guests.
Mayor Cerino asked if there were any additions or corrections to the Utilities Commission meeting minutes of May 7, 2018. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the minutes of May 7, 2018 as submitted, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that operating funds on hand is $1,827,961.40 with designated capital funds set aside for capital projects at $786,000.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to pay the bills. Mr. Stetson moved to pay bills as submitted, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Mr. Sipes stated that the large item in the bills was for the tires on the backhoe which had worn past the tread.
Mr. Sipes stated that he purchased a new locater to help with finding the water and sewer lines in Town, which was an upgrade to what he was currently using.
Mr. Sipes stated that he had a bid opening for the mapping of the water system and was still in the process of reviewing the bids. He said that there were 3 bids that came in under $50,000.00 which included software and mapping based on a 3 year period. He said that one bid came in at $33,000.00 for the mapping but it did not include the software, which was $7,000.00 for the perpetual license and $3,000.00 for the annual term license. Mr. Sipes stated that broken down over 3 years, it would cost $13,400.00 on average per year.
Mayor Cerino asked if once the mapping was complete, the Town would be permitted to make edits if there was installation or removal of lines. Mr. Sipes stated that the system could edit noting that errors on existing mapping could also be remedied.
Mr. Sipes stated that it was taking longer to review the bids because not all of the companies had answered the bid it the way he requested. He said that the request was for a stand-alone mapping system on a local computer without additional access by other means as there was no need to have this mapping accessible via the internet; it was meant for in-house use only. Mr. Sipes stated that he saw it as a security issue and he did not need or want the general public to know where everything in the water system was located.
Mr. Sipes asked if the Council wished to move forward on a 3 year basis or put forth between $40,000.00 and $70,000.00 to have the mapping done all at once. He said he thought the total project would take approximately 6 months.
Mayor Cerino asked if Mr. Sipes intended to use capital funds for the project. Mr. Sipes stated that he already ordered 2 new vehicles out of the capital funds this year, but they have not been delivered. He suggested using the money in the current budget capital funds to pay for the mapping and cover the automobiles in the capital items for FY2019.
Mayor Cerino stated that if the entire project would only take 6 months, Mr. Sipes should just have it done all at once rather than 3 years. Mr. Foster agreed. Mr. Stetson stated that the work should be done and commended Mr. Sipes for wanting to have the mapping system in place. Mr. Sipes stated that he would like to have the work done at one time for consistency of work. He said that a finished project rather was better than different teams from a company coming back over a 3 year period and perhaps not understanding what was done the year prior.
Mr. Sipes stated that he did was not sure which firm met all the requirements of the RFP yet, but would like to award the bid before July 1. Mayor Cerino asked that Mr. Sipes send the Council an email when he finished reviewing the bids for a consensus on the firm that should be awarded the contract.
Mr. Foster asked if there would be training provided on the system as part of the investment. Mr. Sipes stated that he included staff training in the RFP, with a consultant on site after the mapping was finished.
Mr. Sipes stated that he did have some responses to the water tower RFP for maintenance of the towers but to date only one company has actually come to evaluate the conditions.
Ms. Mulligan stated that Mr. Ingersoll introduced Ordinance 03-2018 Waters and Sewers Ordinance Revision at the last Mayor and Council meeting and it could be adopted this evening. She said that this increased water and sewer fees from $32.00 per quarter to 35.00 per quarter, bringing a bill to $70.00 (up to 10,000 gallons). Ms. Kuiper stated that this increase did not include the $15.00 Bay Fee, which was collected by the Town under a mandate from the State of Maryland. No other fees were increased.
Ms. Mulligan stated that this was the first increase to water and sewer fees since 2014. Mr. Sipes stated that he would defy any municipality to come within 25% of Chestertown’s water and sewer rates as he thought they were the lowest rates in the State of Maryland in total overall costs. Mr. Sipes added that the State of Maryland does impose the quarterly Bay Fee but Chestertown does receive $30,000.00 from that fund from the State of Maryland to offset costs of chemicals each year.
Mr. Foster asked if there was any way Mr. Sipes could be certain that when roads are repaired they would not have to dig them up for repairs of water and sewer. Mr. Sipes stated that there were hot spots in Town that developed in different areas from laterals but there was no way to anticipate them. Mr. Sipes stated that the Town could not afford to replace utilities under the street before paving was done. He said that if a road was in poor condition it can exacerbate a problem for the utilities.
Mr. Stetson moved to adopt Ordinance 03-2018 Waters and Sewers Ordinance Revision, was seconded by Mr. Foster and carried unanimously.
There being no further business, Mr. Foster moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:55 p.m. was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor