The Board meets on the first and third Monday of each month. Meetings begin at 1:00 p.m. and are held in the department conference room at 65 Lafayette Ave, Littleton. Board meetings are open to the public and time is allotted for public comments at each meeting.
The regularly scheduled Board of Commissioners (BOC) meeting began at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, November 19, 2012 in the Littleton Water and Light Department (LWL) conference room. Present were Commissioner Ralph Ross, Commissioner Eddy Moore, Commissioner Perry Goodell and Superintendent Thomas Considine.
The minutes of November 5, 2012 regularly scheduled Commissioners meeting were reviewed. Commissioner Ross made a motion to accept the minutes as presented, seconded by Commissioner Moore.
The vote was in favor of the motion 2-0-0. Commissioner Goodell abstained from voting as he was not present at the November 5, 2012 meeting.
Mrs. Irene Lambert asked the BOC to consider granting a water use abatement for excess water consumption at her 23 Jackson Street rental property. Mrs. Lambert proceeded to brief the BOC in regard to the circumstances of he event and that they found a tenantís toilet leaking and the downstairs washing machine was leaking as well.
Mrs. Lambert stated that she did not take notice though the LWL invoices were clearly annotated until she received the townís sewer bill as the invoice had almost doubled from the previous quarter. She approached the town offices to discuss the amount of the invoice and they directed her to come to the LWL. When LWL management denied her request for abatement because the issues were not addressed in a timely manner, she decided to appeal that decision to the BOC and plead her case.
The BOC discussed the particular circumstances with Mrs. Lambert. Commissioner Goodell stated that the department did all it could do in this situation in an attempt to make the owners aware that something was happening and that it was ignored until a sewer bill was received. Commissioner Ross stated the water sections operating margin is very slim and leaks need to be addressed quickly; regrettably yours were not addressed for several consecutive months and then only when you received your semi-annually sewer invoice.
The BOC agreed that if the event(s) had been resolved in a timely manner they may have been more amenable to granting the abatement. As the problems went on for several months and the department invoices were annotated in an attempt to notify the owner they could not justify or grant the abatement request.
SUPERINTENDENT/ MANAGERS REPORT:
1. The new water storage tank was filled over the past several days. Natgun Corporation assisted by LWL personnel will conduct the required bacteriological and tank leakage test on Tuesday, November 20, 2012. Providing both test pass the tank could be placed in service on Wednesday. As this is Thanksgiving week the department plans to wait until after the holiday weekend to place the tank in service. The decommissioning the old impoundment reservoir could start as soon as the first week of December weather permitting.
2. The expected delivery of the new bucket truck is the week of November 26th barring any unexpected additional delays. The BOC expressed some displeasure in that the truck is already at least two (2) months overdue which does not reflect well on the dealerís contract quotation. Any future transactions with this particular dealer may require stronger contractual language in regard to defining a realistic delivery date.
1. The BOC reviewed a draft of the departmentís operating and maintenance (O&M) budgets for 2013. With the exception of the increases associated with the collective bargaining agreement (wages and on call allotment for carrying the pager), health insurance cost continue to rise. Power supply expenses which represent the large single budget line item should track along at 2012 levels as the department projected loads are hedged at about 95% under contract.
Superintendent Considine stated that the department informed the Town that the hydrant lease fee and water rates would most like be increasing in 2013. The hydrant fee is projected to go up to $70 per hydrant per year and water rates could potentially rise ten (10) percent though it will depend on first quarter sales in 2013.
The BOC reviewed and discussed a spreadsheet that compares other municipal hydrant lease fee for communities that provide fire suppression capabilities within NH. Monthly lease fees vary across the State of NH and large communities charge monthly for sprinkler connections to water systems as well. The fees range from a low of $ 3.75 plus an availability fee to $140 without the availability fee. LWL charges are currently set $5.33 per month without any other fees, which is well below other communities of similar system size. The higher fees reflect the cost of provide fire suppression capabilities which are typically about 20-25% of system expenses in most systems. The department can replace two to three hydrants a year with the revenues collected through hydrants leases.
The BOC agreed to discuss budget in greater detail at a future meeting once they had time to further review the budget projection more thoroughly.
Superintendent Considine stated that the capital expenditures are still being developed.
2. The department discovered and suspects that a theft of electrical service has been taking place at a residential home in Littleton. The existing electric service inside this home is very old and the meters were placed inside and have always been an issue for the department in regard to monthly meter reading. It appears that someone connected a load from a sub-panel to the supply side of the meter, which resulted in this portion of the customerís load not being measured through the meter. The owner of the residence was directed to disconnect the illegal connection immediately and to move the electric meters outside the building within the week. The department will disconnect this customer if this action is not accomplished by the customer by the date specified.
The NH Public Utility Commission administrative rules allow immediate disconnection of a customer service when a theft of service situation is found and to allow the utility to access other damages at its discretion.
Superintendent Considine requested the BOC to establish a punitive penalty similar to that established in the water ordinance. This would provide the BOC a means (similar to the water ordnance) to levy a $500 fine in addition to disconnecting the service. The BOC agreed that similar language should be drafted that cover both services provided in cases where a customer has intentionally tried to deceive the department and circumvent the meters.
Commissioner Goodell made a motion to adjourn the meeting, seconded by
The vote was in favor of the motion 3-0-0.
Meeting adjourned at 2:25 p.m.
The regularly scheduled Commissionerís meeting is held twice monthly on the first and third Monday, at 1:00 p.m., in the Departmentís conference room.