By Mary Chasse, Neighb News Correspondent
At its meeting on Monday 1/23/23 the Fairhaven Board of Public Works discussed the budgets for 2024, the progress with the new water meters, and the new water flushing project.
The board first met with Sewer Department Superintendent Rene Robillard about the 2024 budget for the Sewer Department. BPW Superintendent Vinnie Furtado explained that there is a significant increase in the salary and wages budget for the Sewer Department because the union still has not settled the new contract and they have to account for the employees getting retroactive pay for the time they have been working with no contract once the contract is settled.
Mr. Robillard explained that there was also an increase in the budget for tools, gas, diesel, supplies and chemicals due to inflation. Mr. Robillard said things just cost more.
He said there was also a $5000 increase for repairs to pump stations and increase in professional training because they have four new employees that require training. He noted that there was also an increase in contracted services for engineers and other outside help the department may need because they will be breaking ground on the new sewer plant next summer.
Mr. Furtado explained that the Sewer Department has three Capital Plan requests, including an inflow and infiltration system which is being mandated by the state. The department also needs design improvements for a few pump stations; and the department is asking for a four inch supportable pump.
The board also met with Highway Department Superintendent Joshua Crabb, who told the board that operating expenses, as well as tools, gas and diesel have increased due to inflation. He said their signs and lines budget has also increased because the materials cost more.
Mr. Crabb said there is also an increase in the budget for new compaction equipment, sidewalk repairs and street resurfacing.
Mr. Crabb explained that the street resurfacing budget is increased by $100,000 because he wants to try a new and better way of resurfacing called cold in place recycling, which is a type of reconstruction pavement overlay.
Mr. Crabb explained that if they try this technique on a few streets and it works it could save the town money when resurfacing streets in the future.
Mr. Furado told the board that the Highway Department had three requests for the Capital Plan. The first is for the budget for the annual roadwork to fix a few selected streets. The other two requests were to replace the backhoe and to pave a portion of the senior center parking lot.
The board then discussed the 2024 budget for the Parks Department. Mr. Furtado said there was an increase in salary, equipment repairs, and gas and diesel.
Mr. Crabb said they asked for a $3,000 increase for more mechanical blowers because they currently only have one.
Mr. Furtado said the Parks Department has three requests in the Capital Plan. The department is asking for $125,000 for a mini trash compactor truck for the parks and beaches. They are also asking for a portion of money for the bike path overlay because it is being paid for with Community Preservation Act funds, the winter assistance and hopefully the Capital Plan. Mr. Furtado said the last request is for $30,000 for lighting at Cushman Park.
The board then met with Water Department Superintendent Jeffery Furtado. He said there is a $15,000 increase in contracted services for hiring engineers and water flushing services. He also told the board that fuel and chemicals have increased due to inflation as well.
Jeffrey Furtado said for the Capital Plan the water department is asking for two water main replacements. He said that by 2024 the EPA is also asking for an outline of where all the lead and copper are in the town’s water system.
In another matter WD Superintendent Jeffrey Furtado updated the board on the new water meters. He said there are 425 unresponsive residents who have not made an appointment to have their water meters changed. Mr. Furtado said the letters have gone out.
Mr. Furtado told the board they will be advertising in the Fairhaven Neighborhood News before February 1 for residents to make an appointment to have their water meter changed. The department will then be making phone calls to all 425 residents and leave a tag on their doors notifying them that if they do not call to make an appointment within 24 hours their water will be shut off.
Mr. Furtado said the appointment does not have to be immediate; they can book the appointment for a month or two months out, but they need to call and make an appointment within 24 hours from receiving the door tag and phone call. Mr. Furtado said all new water meters will be installed by this summer.
Mr. Furtado also updated the board on the water flushing program. He said he met with the engineer and wants to start as soon as possible, as long as the weather permits. Hee is hoping for March 1.
In another matter the board discussed the BPW budget for 2024. Mr. Furtado said the only big change is that they are asking in the Capital Plan for an HVAC system for the whole BPW building.
The board also decided to change the winter hours for the Recycling Center because not many people come in the afternoons on Wednesdays. The hours are still the second and fourth Saturday of every month, but now will only be half days on Wednesdays.
Click here to download the 2/2/23 issue: 02-02-23 AcushnetSch
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