BPU opts to deny meter request

EAST LIVERPOOL – With one vote, just one, the Board of Public Utilities Thursday voted not to grant an exception to policy on reading meters at a rental property.

With board President Mary Tambellini absent, and member Sara Davis abstaining, only member Fred Rayl remained to vote on the issue, which has been languishing before the board since last fall. With Tambellini absent from the last several meetings, no action had been taken.

Thursday, Law Director Charles Payne offered an opinion sought by Rayl about the issue, saying that, since only a majority vote is needed and since two members constitute a quorum of the three-member board, one person voting would constitute a majority even with Davis abstaining.

At issue is a request by businessman Al Fricano, who installed five separate meters at a rental property he owns but asked the board to make an exception to its policy that each meter must have its own curb box, instead asking to have each meter read separately with five separate bills sent to him that he would, in turn, assess his tenants for their usage.

Rayl said that, while he believes Fricano would honor the agreement, it would lead to others wanting the same exception and “not everyone would be as honorable” as Fricano.

He also said this could lead to complications in the future, so Rayl voted against Fricano’s request.

During the meeting, utilities Director Bob Disch reported that a contract has been awarded by the city’s board of control to Entertech for $692,800 to do electrical upgrades at the water plant. Entertech was the low bidder for the project, which carried an engineer’s estimate of $800,000.

The board also heard from water Superintendent Tim Clark and Disch about a desire to replace windows in the water plant and to paint the upflow clarifier, both of which would require accepting bids.

No action was taken on those projects.

Clark told the board about a resident who has been having trouble with dirty water and recommended thought be given to letting her tie into a line on Center Street so hers is no longer the last home at the end of the line.

Clark said he has tried everything he can think of over more than a year in an attempt to remedy the problem, to no avail.

Disch also reported water plant operator Tom White will retire at the end of the month with 25 years of service, saying he will be missed.