2009-02-19 / Front Page

New water treatment plant will begin testing in March

By Sam Bari

Public Works Director Steve Goslee said at Monday's Water and Sewer portion of the Town Council meeting that the new water treatment plant on North Main Road will start testing some time in March and if all goes well, the facility will be in full use shortly thereafter.

Goslee also said that the painters have begun painting the interior of the structure and that the electricians have completed the transfer of the old building power and control to the new plant.

Additionally, he said that the standby generator has been load tested and is online, and that the plumbing contractor has completed installation of the heating system.

Traffic committee The council discussed the possibility of discharging or revamping the traffic committee. Traffic committee member Robert Bowen said that the committee met "maybe five or six times last year." He also said that the meetings were not regularly scheduled and that the committee met when it was needed.

The council questioned the qualifi cations of some of the committee members to make decisions on matters that required the knowledge of town personnel who work on and with traffic control problems every day. After a lengthy debate, the council voted 3 to 0 to reconstitute the traffic commission to be made up of the town administrator, town planner, public works director, and the police chief.

Appointments The council approved the reappointments of Patrick Driscoll and Carol Lynn Trocki to the Conservation Commission. Jennifer Stearns Talancy's resignation was also accepted. Letters of interest to fill the vacated positions by Maureen Coleman and Paula Samos were also approved by a vote of 3 to 0.

Fort Getty boat ramp

The Jamestown Harbor Commission requested that the council approve the expenditure of $20,000 to dredge the Fort Getty boat ramp and pay dredging permits. The panel approved the expenditure with a vote of 3 to 0. The revenue was earmarked and available from harbor commission funds.

Legislative update

According to State Representative Deb Ruggiero (D-Jamestown, Middletown), Rhode Island will get $825 million to $1 billion dollars from the Federal Stimulus Package. Who will manage the money and how soon cities and towns will receive their funds is not yet known. When and how the local aid will be distributed is also an unknown factor.

Ruggiero said that she fully intends "to make a full court press for the $16 million dollars that Jamestown has requested for highway and waster water treatment."

She also said that she submitted legislation on behalf of the Town Council regarding the resolutions for the juvenile hearing board as well as the fire and EMS property tax abatement. "They should be heard in committee in the next week or so and are expected to pass out of committee," she said.

The new representative said she ran on a platform of environmental economics that put wind, solar, and biofuel at the forefront of economic development and to generate green collar jobs throughout the state. Ruggiero was named to serve on a joint commission of six state representatives and six state senators to look at economic development at the ports in Quonset as well as port of Providence.

Ambulance acquisition

The town council voted 3 to 0 to approve drafting a structured agreement with the Jamestown Emergency Management Service to share the responsibility of a lease/ purchase plan for a new ambulance. The decision was made after the council at its Feb. 17 meeting discussed various ways to purchase the vehicle with minimum risk to the town.

Town Administrator Bruce Keiser explained that the town owns all of its emergency vehicles. The front-line response unit is traditionally replaced every five years. JEMS has acquired its vehicles in the past by raising funds to subsidize town contributions.

Presently, the town has set aside $55,433 from its capital reserve for rescue vehicle replacement. JEMS has raised an additional $64,000 for a new ambulance, bringing the total current balance to $119,433.

Keiser reported that the executive committee has evaluated and test driven three new ambulances. The preferred vehicle is a new 2008 GMC demonstration model with a 5-year warranty that is available from Greenwood Emergency Vehicles of North Attleboro, Mass., the same dealer from which the fire department purchased its fire apparatus.

JEMS will conduct its annual fund-raising drive in March. The last several years have produced donations ranging from $35,000 to $40,000. Keiser recommended that the town enter into a lease/purchase agreement with Greenwood to purchase the vehicle. In case of a shortfall, the balance would be paid when funds are available.

Council member Robert Sutton suggested that the town enter into the lease/purchase agreement with JEMS so there was a structured agreement sharing the responsibility. The motion carried 3 to 0.

Council members William Kelly and Barbara Szepatowski were absent and did not vote.

Landfill closure

Keiser said that he and Town Engineer Michael Gray met with several north end residents to discuss their questions concerning the final draft of the landfill closure plan.

"Based on our discussion, we have agreed with a few minor changes prior to submission of the draft to the State Department of Environmental Management." A follow-up meeting with GZA, the firm contracted to conduct the closure will take place next week. The final plan will be on the town council agenda for its approval in early March, Keiser said.

Sutton suggested that the number of reports required by the state on the condition of the landfill were excessive. He said that the reports that come out four times a year cost more than $30,000, and the data hasn't changed in 15 years.

"We haven't used the landfill, nothing has been added to it, so there is no reason for it to change. I'm a well user, and since we've been declared a soul source aquifer, the reports should be the same all over, and I feel quite comfortable with it," Sutton said.

He suggested that the town address the state about reducing the required number of reports that in 30 years would cost the town a million dollars. Council President Julio DiGiando said that it was state law that the reports be filed but suggested that the town administrator look into the matter and see if it is possible for the frequency of the reports to be reduced.

Budget update

Keiser reported that the Federal Economic Stimulus package provides funding for state fiscal stabilization, public infrastructure, and special education. He said that one more of the funding streams may directly benefit Jamestown through avoided state cuts or added revenue. As more precise information emerges, Keiser said he will keep the town council informed about the implications for town projects, programs, and revenues.

Concrete pier

According to Keiser's report, Peppes Construction began work on the curbs and rails project at the beginning of February. Phase One of the projects is expected to last eight to ten weeks with completion no later than the first week of April.

Fort Wetherill

The council voted 3 to 0 for the town administrator to move forward on writing a draft regarding a request for proposals for the re-use of town property at Fort Wetherill.

Budget meeting

The first budget meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 3, at 6:30 p.m.

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