Wednesday, January 14, 2009

$150,000 for the design of the rejected Mixville Pump Station

At last night's Council meeting (Jan 13 2009), the WPCA asked the Council for guidance. We were asked if we felt the WPCA should proceed with a $150,000 design of an upgraded Mixville Pump Station. Keep in mind, the voters just rejected the $1,000,000 construction of the upgraded Mixville Pump Station at referendum in November.

Sentiments were mixed. Here is a clip of Councilman Altieri speaking:

"Yes, I understand you didn't approve the project. But the planning money still could be spent."

Does anyone else hear echoes of the pool?

Anyway, I realize the project will need to be done at some point. But it seems to me that we should get the support of the voters before we just start shoving projects down voters' throats. And I also believe there's more than one way to skin a cat. And since lead time requirements are a critical factor to this project, I thought it might be useful to know if we could move forward with a smaller project.

I'm tired of this Council's mantra:

"Well, someone asked for the money. So we should just raise our hands and give it to them. No questions asked."

(strategic plan, Norton boiler, financial software, Lilac Drive Pump Station, PMS, 4.4% for three years)

Here's the discussion on breaking down the 3 to 4 months, $150,000 design project:

Chairman Hall liked the idea I broached. But who knows what WPCA will do. Nonetheless, I offered another idea for dealing with the pump station - performance contracting:

I'm a firm believer that people would be more receptive to an energy efficiency measure with a demonstrated savings... than a request for a million dollars to fix something that doesn't directly impact most people in town.

I'm not sure if either idea will get traction with the WPCA. And I know the project will eventually need to get done. But I figure the least I can do is offer some ideas, rather than the usual:

"Well, someone asked for the money. So we should just raise our hands and give it to them."

And for anyone who was conducting their own straw poll at home, I counted:

Altieri, Decaprio, Hall & Slocum in favor of spending the money

Dill, Ruocco & White taking heeding the boss' sentiments

I don't think Ecke or Sima spoke on the topic during the meeting... though I'm confident Jimmy doesn't want to spend money on a project that was just rejected by the voters.

Tim White


Anonymous said...

The voters spoke on this project. What isn't understood by the WPA at this point?

Out here in THE-REAL-WORLD when a technical aactivity group like PWD/WPA begins having this type of problem, major unauthorized cost over runs and attempting to continue projects which the OWNERS have C-A-N-C-E-L-L-E-D certain things can be tried.

Work Stand Downs with the stand down time spent on meaningful discussions of current significant problems like for instance why it should always be a 'NO-NO' to increase the cost of a project without prior written approval to do so.

Next maybe throw in some Benchmarking of good work practices in use by other PWD/WPA organizations around the region which seem to be able to operate without unapproved cost over runs and who also seem to understand just what a NO VOTE by town voters really means - - -

It's past time to look for how to improve the PWD/WPA work products maybe more so then it is time to worry about the integrity of the pump can at Mixville.

Anonymous said...

Altieri is saying, in other words,

"To hell with the voters. We know what we want; we're going to get it.

"We have money to spend; we're going to spend it."

Anonymous said...

Some council members should remember that the voters are also the taxpayers and they said they don't wan't to pay for this. Are these council people saying the hell with the voters and taxpayers?

As we have seen so many times in the past, the estimate is always low and they always come back and say that they can't finish it now because of some BS reason and that it will require more money.

Something is starting to smell real bad and it's not just the %$(&.

Anonymous said...

"Read our votes" please.

Anonymous said...

Matt Altieri has been elected, and re-elected, by comfortable margins, so obviously the majority of voters think he is doing a good job.

Anonymous said...

The project was rejected by the voters - no money should be spent on it, period!!

Anonymous said...

"Matt Altieri has been elected, and re-elected, by comfortable margins, so obviously the majority of voters think he is doing a good job."

Or ill informed.
Lets hope the public is informed this November about how much money he is trying to cost this town.

This may be a foolish question, but if they paid out the $150K for the desing this year and don't get the approval by the town for 3 or 4 years, isn't there a chance that those designs may no longer be up to date and we will have to pay again for an updated desing using the new technology that may be available at that time?
Just sounds more logical.

Anonymous said...

RE: "Matt Altieri has been elected, and re-elected ... so obviously the majority of voters think he is doing a good job."

That's changing because he ignores the will of the voters. The economic times have changed, and we can't afford to pay for his pet projects anymore.

Anonymous said...

No one cares in this town don't you get it? The majority of people came here for the school and when the kids graduate they leave-get it??

Anonymous said...

1125 seems to miss one important point. Until a few months ago it was relatively easy to sell your house in town. Welcome to the recession or is it depression. At this time and into the future selling a home in town for the balance of your mortgages will become harder and harder. This will stop folks from leaving town in order to quickly escape the town's ever escalating taxes and fees.

Anonymous said...

The vote to reject the Mixville pump station was not unanimous. Like many issues this was divided although a clear majority indidcated spending a million to upgrade the pump station "NOW" was not appropriate.

That vote was a clear signal not to build it now. The planning for it was authorized by council in the 2007 budget cycle. That money was not spent because the project went out to bid, delaying the execution of the final facities planning.

For those of us on a septic system we understand pumping the system is essential. Some of us may have even experienced the misfortune of having to replace one. I did and on an emergency basis. This was not fun and not inexpensive. I did not have a plan in place either but then again I only had one poop shoot. The town's system is more complicated with thousands of users and there must be plans.

The planning should go forward in my opinion. This is ordinary stuff it just happens to cost a lot of money. Sewage is a human byproduct period. It has to be processed whether we like it or not.

I see someone commented on one of Tim's latest posts regarding the broken vent and damaged boiler at the town pool. Their comment suggested the town had probably screwed up and not inspected the vent the day before the deep freeze set in. Well folks maybe we should ask the same question the day after the Mixville pump station fails and the town is forced to rent some bypass pumps, draw up some plans and rebuild it anyway. Whose head will it be then....the town manager, town councilors of your choosing or the voters?

Tim Slocum TC