UTILITIES COMMISSION MEETING
FEBRUARY 6, 2023
Mayor Foster called the meeting to order at 6:00 pm. In attendance were Councilmembers Tim O’Brien, Tom Herz, Jose Medrano and Meghan Efland, W. S. Ingersoll (Town Manager) and Lynda Thomas, (Town Clerk) guests.
Mayor Foster asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes of the Utilities Commission meeting of January 3, 2023. Councilman O’Brien made a motion to approve the minutes of the Utilities Commission meeting of January 3, 2023, as presented. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.
Mayor Foster stated that the operating funds on hand were $2,543,797.09. He asked for a motion to pay the bills. Councilwoman Efland made a motion to pay the bills. The motion was seconded by Councilman Herz and passed unanimously.
Mayor Foster called on Mr. Bob Sipes for his Utilities Commission report.
Mr. Sipes reported that the Town received a letter from Susan Bull that referenced the proposed closeout sampling plan and is the Town’s environmental attorney, Michael Forlini is preparing a response that addresses the Town’s concerns.
Mr. Sipes reported that Kemp Scan fixed the PLC (program logic controller that operates the Biolac system and operates the air systems and chemical feeds) at the wastewater treatment plant.
Mr. Sipes reported that he has submitted the grant application for a possible funding opportunity with a State revolving fund that has a program in place for protecting water systems from emerging contaminants like PFAS.
Mr. Sipes noted that $275,000 was recently paid as the annual fee for the bonds that originally funded the BNR-ENR wastewater plant upgrade.
Mr. Sipes reported that he spoke with other municipalities concerning water and sewer maintenance. He noted that most municipalities only maintain the water and sewer lines up to the curb and the sewer lines must have a cleanout. The cleanout and water curb stop value is owned by the residence. If there is no cleanout, the town cannot and will not service the lines.
Mr. Sipes noted that only about 20 percent of houses in Chestertown have a cleanout and there has been a problem with homeowners altering, removing, or burying the cleanout. This becomes a major problem when there is a clog, and the cleanout cannot be located.
Mr. Sipes reported that Chestertown water and sewer rates are the lowest in the state. Chestertown charges $85.00 per quarter for 10,000 gallons, which is less than 50 percent lower than the next town that charges $200.00.
Mr. Sipes reported that he researched insurance programs to help homeowners when problems arise in their private water and sewer lines. The cost would be additional $145.00 a year which he felt was not cost effective to have since the pipes have at least a 20 to 30 years life span. A regular household will not experience many issues but a household of four (4), with children, will be calling a plumber more often as non-flushable items are frequently flushed down toilets.
Mr. Herz asked about the $39,000 grant. Mr. Sipes stated that the monies collected for the Bay Restoration Fund are paid out in grant monies to eligible facilities that meet ENR standards. These funds help offset about fifty (50) percent of the chemical costs for chemicals used at the plant.
Mr. Sipes reported that he has received the final architectural plans from Keystone to complete phase one of the project and the Town has made the final payment. He noted that he is still waiting for Keystone to provide a quote to handle the entire bidding process.
Mr. Sipes said that was all he had to report. Mayor Foster asked if there were any other questions for Mr. Sipes. There being no further business, Councilwoman Efland motioned to adjourn the meeting at 6:27 p.m. The motion was seconded by Councilman Herz and passed unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Lynda Thomas, Town Clerk David Foster, Mayor