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Suncook Valley Regional Town Assn. Minutes 04/13/2011
Suncook Valley Regional Town Association
Meeting Minutes

Meeting Date:  April 13, 2011
Minutes Prepared By:  Bruce Dyke
In Attendance:  
        Don Harty – Town of Epsom - Selectman
Fred Hast – Town of Pittsfield – Selectman
Bruce Dyke – Chichester Town Organization Committee
        David Jodoin – Town of Pembroke – Town Administrator
        David Kerr – Town of Barnstead – Selectman
        Mike Paveglio – Town of Chichester - Selectman
        Gordon Preston – Town of Barnstead
Location:  Epsom Public Library
Minutes Approved: TBA

1.      The meeting was called to order at 7:00pm by Bruce Dyke

2.      The draft minutes of the February 16, 2011 meeting were reviewed and comments/changes were solicited.  A motion was made by Gordon Preston to accept the minutes as presented and seconded by David Jodoin.  The minutes were approved without further discussion by a unanimous vote.

3.      Bruce introduced Ted Donahue, a consultant with TD Comm Group and Derek Bekar of Glacial Energy.  Ted and Derek provided the group with a presentation regarding the electricity market and the resulting options that came with deregulation of that industry several years ago.   Since electric utility customers now have a choice of electricity suppliers (i.e. Glacial Energy) vs. the companies that handle the transmission of the electricity  (i.e. Unitil or PSNH) there are options for obtaining better rates.  Derek indicated that the SVRTA towns have a combined annual electricity usage in excess of 1.5 million kilowatt hours and therefore would be able to realize estimated savings of up to 8% on energy charges.  

     Glacial would be able to offer two contract options with one being a “capped” one-year contract or a “fixed adder” month-to-month arrangement.  He believed the capped contract option would keep per Kw charges under 9.2 cents whereas the fixed-adder option could have spike during peak months (typically January and August).  Derek also indicated that Glacial’s billing is very straight-forward compared to typical utility bills and they offer multiple payment options including check, EFT and wire.

    Bruce is going to try to obtain Northwood’s electric usage and provide to Derek so he can provide the group with an analysis of what their rates with Glacial would have been over the past 12 months as well as project estimated rates for the coming year.  In addition, Bruce will contact BCEP and David J. will contact the Town of Allenstown to see how their experience with Glacial has been to this point.  
     In the meantime, each SVRTA member will start discussions with their respective Board of Selectmen regarding the potential for switching over to Glacial and which contract option would be preferred.

4.      David Kerr and Gordon Preston updated the group on Barnstead’s ongoing discussions with the Belknap County Sheriff’s office regarding potential outsourcing of police coverage.  At this point, the town has received an initial proposal from the Sheriff that reflects a potential $100K reduction in expense for 7x24 coverage in the town.  However, many details still need to be worked out.  The town has formed a study committee in which Gordon Preston is involved.  Further updates will be provided as the process continues.

5.      Each town represented at the meeting gave a brief overview of results for their 2011 Town Meetings:

-       Barnstead:  An operating budget that reflected an increase of less than 1 percent passed.  Another attempt to fill a Town Administrator position failed.  Capital purchases for a new dump truck and ambulance were approved.  

-       Pembroke:  The town budget was approved which included 2% COLAs and up to a 2% merit salary increase for town employees (DPW staff were covered as part of their collective bargaining agreement).  Other major items included approval of a $1.4M bond for water line reconstruction and sidewalk/paving work along Broadway and several side streets.

-       Epsom:  The proposed budget was approved, which represented a 2 percent increase over the default budget option.  The purchase of a new fire truck was also approved, but an attempt to add another police officer position failed.

-       Chichester:  The proposed operating budget which was down slightly passed without any change.  One major road paving warrant (funded by Capital Reserve) also passed.

-       Pittsfield:  The proposed operating budget, which was flat, was passed.

6.      The next meeting will be held on June 15, 2011 at 7pm, at the Pittsfield Town Hall.

7.      A motion was made to adjourn the meeting by Gordon Preston and seconded by Don Harty and passed unanimously by the group.  The meeting adjourned at 8:50pm.  

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