Members of the Montpelier Village Council convened in regular session to a busy agenda on the evening of October 27.
Council heard the first readings of Ordinance 2177 and 2178 pertaining to the raising of electrical and sewer rates in the village. Ordinance 2177 allows for the sewer rates to be adjusted on January 1 and July 1, 2015. Ordinance 2178 allows for a revision of the electrical rates immediately upon the passage of the measure. Both measures are advancing under standard rules of reading. Unless considered an emergency action, there will be two more public readings of each measure before a final vote.
Councilor Dan Clum elaborated on the need for an electrical rate adjustment, saying, “What our rate consultant has brought to our attention, that a lot of people may not be paying attention to, is that our power cost adjustment has been over three cents for a long, long time. We’re pretty much guaranteed that it’s not going to go below three cents. So, rather than have this huge power cost adjustment every month, our rate consultant said that it would probably be to our benefit to just take some of that three cents and put it into our rate. We know that electricity’s not going to go down.”
Prior to entering the legislative section of the agenda, Mayor Steve Yagelski asked village residents to refrain from raking leaves into the gutter. He said that raking them to the terrace is sufficient for the vacuum trucks to pick them up, noting that once in the gutter, they befoul the storm sewer system.
Council then turned their attention to the legislative section of the agenda, and the first six items, all construction change orders, set the tone for most of the remainder of the section. The first was for $10,984.38, and allowed for catch basins at the intersection of Columbia and Lawrence Streets to be relocated as part of the underground utilities pertaining to Phase IV of the Combined Sewer Output Project.
The next three change orders totaled $26,147.82, and drew the ire of the Counselors. All three change orders were submitted by FET Construction Services as part of the Airport Substation Expansion Project, and commentary about what appeared to be design team errors was quick to follow. Upon review of the first change order for $17,004.04 for rebar, Councilor Dan Willis asked, “This was an unexpected thing?” Counselor Clum said, “I think that we need to take a really good, hard look at our design team for future work. Errors of omissions are one thing,” “…but,” interjected Counselor Nathan Thompson; “…how do you forget rebar?” A very disgruntled Council approved the three change orders for FET.
Council approved a change order of $1,143.36 for Power Line Supply, who agreed to furnish a part originally to be supplied by Brownstown Electric Supply. Council was presented with a change order from Brownstown for a decrease of $204.00 for the part for which they say that they mistakenly bid too low. Council is looking into the bid process to see if a binding contract was in place for the original price, with potential action to follow.
Prior to adjournment, Council agreed to the transfer of $15,000 to the Police Pension Fund, and also agreed to amendments made to the Montpelier Fire Department Rules and Regulations manual. These changes included the addition of probationary period language under reinstatement under Section VII, and clarified language in the Length of Service Award Program under Section XI.