Draft Minutes of the April 20, 2017 Special Water Authority Meeting

Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority

Groton Public Library

52 Newtown Rd, Groton, CT 06340

 

 

1.  Call to Order

Chairman Monahan called the meeting to order at approximately 6:05 p.m. 

 

Present

Authority:  Chairman Edward Monahan, Vice-Chairman Harry Watson, Treasurer Paul Eccard, Peter Balestracci and Barbara Lee Franciosi. 

 

Authority Staff:  General Manager Cansler

 

2.  Discussion of Emergency Interconections and other DPH Initiatives

Attachment:  Letter of Intent from Groton Utilities to DPH, dated April 18, 2017.

General Manager Cansler handed out copies of the latest version of a Letter of Intent that Groton Utilities sent to DPH regarding emergency interconnections with several utilities, to include SCWA.  Mr. Cansler noted that the letter discussed possible future regional consolidation planning, in conjunction with the emergency interconnections.  Mr. Cansler stated that DPH intended to issue a draft Consent Agreement over the next few weeks asking SCWA and other utilities to develop a long-term regional plan regarding future consolidation opportunities. 

 

Chairman Monahan stated that although some opportunities may exist, consolidation was not always in the best interests of the residents.  He said for instance, it would be difficult for Ledyard WPCA to consolidate with Groton Utilities because the taxpayers of Ledyard are still paying for the water transmission mains along Route 117, including many residents of Ledyard who do not receive any benefit from the new mains. 

 

Mr. Eccard asked if we should respond to the Letter of Intent, or wait until we see the draft Consent Agreement.  He suggested that since the Letter was not addressed to SCWA, maybe it was not appropriate to respond, however since SCWA was discussed throughout the letter, we certainly had every right to state our concerns regarding the content of the letter. 

 

General Manager Cansler said that in his discussions with Lori Mathieu, Chief of the DPH Drinking Water section, he had reiterated that SCWA was dependent on its entire current customer base to remain economically viable.  He also pointed out to DPH that we have pump stations spread throughout three Towns, several of which were not anywhere close to other utilities.  Mr. Cansler also mentioned that Ms. Mathieu wanted to attend the next Authority meeting, scheduled for May 8, 2017, to discuss our concerns.  He recommended that the Authority wait until we see the draft Consent Agreement, and hear Ms. Mathieu’s thoughts, before responding formally. 

 

Chairman Monahan said the Authority needs to make sure that we have criteria in the Consent Agreement that protects SCWA and our customers.  Specifically, he stated SCWA has a responsibility to not only remain economically viable, but also to ensure our customers are not saddled with high fees or poor service, as a result of potential consolidation.  He asked what, if anything, the Authority should do regarding the Letter of Intent.  Several members stated that we should, as a minimum, get our legal counsel involved. 

 

Mr. Eccard made a motion to authorize the Chairman and General Manager to take any emergency steps, and/or communications required, to protect the Authority and our customers, and to ensure that SCWA continues to meet our legislated responsibilities.  His motion, seconded by Mr. Balestracci, was approved by a unanimous vote of all members present. 

 

3.  Adjourn

On motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Mr. Watson, the Authority adjourned the Special Meeting at approximately 6:42 p.m. 

                                                  Joseph C. Cansler                                                                                                                                   Secretary