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									City of Rochester                                            Special City Council Meeting
                                                                            April 24, 2007

                       SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MEETING
                          TUESDAY, APRIL 24, 2007
                            COUNCIL CHAMBERS
                                  7:35 PM

MEMBERS PRESENT                                   OTHERS PRESENT
Councilor Grassie                                 City Manager John Scruton
Councilor Healey                                  Brian LeBrun, Finance Director
Councilor Keans                                   Henry Burks, UAB Committee
Councilor Lachapelle                              Melodie Esterberg, Director of
Councilor Lundborn                                Public Works
Councilor Stanley
Councilor Torr
Councilor Varney
Deputy Mayor Lauterborn

Councilor Lindsay
Councilor Stevens
Councilor Walker
Mayor Larochelle


       Deputy Mayor Lauterborn called the Special City Council Meeting to order
at 7:35 PM. Kelly Walters, City Clerk’s Office, took a silent roll call. A majorit y of
the Councilors were present. Mayor Larochelle along with Councilors Lindsay,
Stevens, and Walker had been excused. Councilors Stanley and Healey were
dismissed early.

1] UAB Presentation of Rates

      Henry Burks, Utility Advisory Board (UAB), gave a Water and Sewer Rate
Presentation. Mr. Burks said that the Committee recommended supporting
Option One for both the water and sewer rate increases. He stated that it would
be a gradual increase over a period of time. The new increase for the sewer rate
would be $5.17 per 100 cubic feet and the new water rate would increase to
$3.63 per 100 cubic feet, for FY 08. He explained all of the projected increases
through FY 13. He added that the UAB would recommend a water and sewer line
improvement/extension policy for the City of Rochester.

      Councilor Torr asked what the projected loss of water was per year for the
City. Commissioner Esterberg said that the Plant had been working to determine
what the actual figure was for the unaccountable water. A rough analysis had
been done in the past couple of days, and twenty percent was the closest

City of Rochester                                         Special City Council Meeting
                                                                         April 24, 2007

percentage for unaccountable water; it includes hydrant flushing, bleeding of
pipes, and leaks.

        Councilor Keans asked how the Commissioner arrived at rate increases
without knowing the actual loss of water through leaks, or without factoring in
other critical information. She asked if the UAB was informed of projected losses
or increase in energy uses. Mr. Burks explained that line items have been
submitted for both manpower and energy uses. He added that the Commissioner
has been fair and reasonable with those figures. The Water and Sewer Plants
need to have a certain number of people in order to operate the facilities

      Council discussed the various water leaks undetected throughout the City.
Commissioner Esterberg explained in detail the work completed on an ongoing
basis regarding leakage detection.

       Councilor Varney asked if any potential growth or projects for the Water
Plant had been factored into the budget. Mr. Burks said there was less than one
percent of a growth increase and that the future bonding projects were included
into the budget.

      Councilor Healey asked if the system upgrade was included in the budget.
Mr. Burks replied that it was included in with the Capitol Improvements Budget.

       Councilor Varney asked about the larger water and sewer customers and
any potential large impacts that a reduction of usage would cause for the sewer
rate. City Manager Scruton said that one particular customer uses about twenty-
five percent of the entire sewer budget. This customer, or other similar large user
customers, could research economic ways to use less water/sewer. If that
happens, it will affect the rates substantially. Commissioner Esterberg added that
when talking with that one large customer in particular and other customers, they
would prefer to absorb a slower increase in the rate as shown in the proposed
Option One rate increase. This would allow for a gradual increase to balance the

        Councilor Keans asked if there had been any kind of accountability set up
for when Lebanon, Maine, hooks up to the City of Rochester’s water lines. She
suggested having an incident report to assist in keeping records. Commissioner
Esterberg stated that this was one of the issues the City was challenged with in
order to account for water loss. She recollected that a prior City Manager had
started to look into the agreement between Lebanon and Rochester that dated
back to the 1940’s. An evaluation needs to be completed for an appropriate rate
increase. Councilor Torr suggested installing a master meter to account for the
water usage by Lebanon, Maine. Commissioner Esterberg said that this idea was
thought of in the past. However, this expense may not be worth the benefit to the
City of Rochester.

City of Rochester                                          Special City Council Meeting
                                                                          April 24, 2007

     Councilor Keans asked if the Commissioner was made aware of the rate
increase that Somersworth had recently levied on its customers. Could it be
purchased at a cheaper rate from us and sold for more? Commissioner
Esterberg said she was not aware of what the rate increase was, for
Somersworth, at this time, however the City of Rochester had always sold it to
them at a higher rate in the past.

       City Manager Scruton stated that he had requested the water analysis be
conducted to find out what percent of the unaccountable water was throughout
the City. The analysis is not complete at this time. There still remains to be
unmetered customers and those who receive free water. He informed the Council
that it was important to detect any water leaks, both for economic reasons and
for the State. However, it will not substantially change what the rate increase
needs to be at now.

        Council discussed having an audit completed. Commissioner Esterberg
said there had not been an audit conducted in over ten years. The difficulty
comes with not knowing all of the City’s water losses. There are still unmetered
customers and those who receive free water. She explained in detail how the
City conducts leak detection. She said that this was implemented about six years
ago. She added that with the staff and resources provided, the Water Plant works
diligently to reduce the number of leaks in the water lines.

        Councilor Varney asked about having a quarterly summary established
with the amount of water in the system, in order to detect progress made from
quarter to quarter. Commissioner Esterberg said the City Manager would direct
her office to implement a quarterly basis, if he felt it was a priority.

2] Public Works Budget Presentation

       Commissioner Esterberg presented the Public Works Budget. She said
that it was difficult to compare Public Works Departments; each of them are
designed so differently. The closest comparison she could find was the Public
Works Department in Keene, NH. Their department is much smaller, yet similar
in many ways. They actually have more money and people to operate the facility.
In order to supply the City of Rochester with better customer service, for
businesses and residents, she requested an additional LEO for six months of the
year at the Water Plant. She also requested two engineers; the funding for these
would be split across the three budgets for Public Works. She explained in detail
the need for these engineers. One example of cost savings, is that the engineer
for the South Main Street Project alone, if hired, would save the City
approximately $250,000.00 of the estimated bonding cost for the inspection of
the South Main Street Project. This position would be funded by the CIP budget.
It would assist in the sixty to eighty hours of work allocated on the current books.
It would also help to maintain the infrastructure, which is such a challenge with

City of Rochester                                           Special City Council Meeting
                                                                           April 24, 2007

the limited staff and resources the Public Works Department has to complete
inspections and projects.

       Councilor Varney asked the Commissioner to rationalize the $250,000.00
of savings regarding hiring one engineer. Commissioner Esterberg explained that
the figure was given by a consultant from CLD. It is an estimated cost of hiring
their own engineer for a ninety-six week period. This position is required by the
State. If the City of Rochester provides its own engineer, it would save that
amount of money in bonding costs. It also allows more than one crew to be
working at a time resulting in a more efficient operation.

        Council discussed the qualification of the engineer and estimated the
$35,000.00 salary as being low for the qualifications. City Manager Scruton
explained, for budgetary purposes, the salary is entered into the budget as an
entry level. Even if the City paid $50,000.00 a year plus benefits, it would still
save the City approximately $100,000.00 within a two-year period. He added that
it is required by the State to have this person on the site project. It could also
assist in completing other projects.

      Councilors questioned why the budget figures for the engineers were in
percentages rather than actual numbers. Commissioner Esterberg explained it
was because the total cost was split between three budgets.

       Councilor Keans said her recollection was that a Sense of Council was
taken not to hire additional personnel for such projects, which would increase the
operating budget. Those personnel would be difficult to “let-go” after the major
projects were finished. City Manager Scruton replied that he did not see an end
to major projects.

      Council debated the need for the engineer positions. Commissioner
Esterberg said she shows CIP projects reaching 2012. She added that a number
of projects are being deferred because the bonding levels are not available to
meet the needs of the taxpayers of Rochester.

       Councilor Lundborn asked if by hiring this engineer, would it eliminate the
City from having to hire other engineering firms, such as CLD. City Manager
Scruton stated that hiring this engineer for the South Main Street Project or
others like it, does not eliminate the need to still hire other engineering firms, it
simply lowers the final bonding cost for the City of Rochester. He added that he
found the City was paying too much for engineering firms; one company that was
needed last year cost an estimated $500,000.00 and another company came
close to that figure.

      Councilor Keans said that an inspection engineer is much different than
that of a design engineer. She asked how this engineer could assist on other
projects for the City. Commissioner Esterberg said if this person was a

City of Rochester                                          Special City Council Meeting
                                                                          April 24, 2007

professional engineer (PE), this engineer could assist in finishing up design work
for the Washington Street Project. She said it was time to evaluate the different
engineering firms that are used for the City of Rochester.

        Councilor Keans asked the City Manager to show her where the
$500,000.00 would be cut in this budget. City Manager Scruton explained that
the savings are coming from the approved capital items. The offset, if approved,
is that the City will have less money to bond as the project is finished. He added
that the State is the one that sets the standards that the City has to follow.

       Councilor Varney suggested hiring a contractor for the engineering that
 was needed for the South Main Street Project for two years. City Manager
 Scruton explained that he has had some success in the past by hiring
 contractors. However, this engineer has to be State approved and carry an
 insurance approved by CLD, which the City already possesses.

       Commissioner Esterberg gave the reasons for her request of the second
engineer. She said this engineer would offset revenue from the developers. This
engineer would be dedicated to private development, allowing the Public Works
Department to observe these projects more closely. Hiring a separate
engineering firm was considered, however, it is being recommended to hire this
engineer onto the City staff. The City needs to have a better track record with
inspections. It would assist significantly with problematic developers. This
engineer would spend approximately forty hours a week reviewing and analyzing
the intent of projects. City Manager Scruton stated that this answers Councilor
Lundborn’s question with regards to decreasing the need for hiring other
engineering firms. If approved, this engineer could reduce that number. He
cautioned that it would not eliminate the need, but it would offset the revenue for
planning projects. It would also allow the Public Works Department to continue
the City’s construction projects that are difficult to achieve with the degree of
over-sight that is necessary for the projects. This would also protect the City’s

       Councilor Torr questioned why “peer engineering” is used so often on
these projects. City Manager Scruton explained that he had recently had a
conversation with some of the engineers and they valued peer review as part of
having a better end result. Council discussed the pros and cons of peer review.

       Commissioner Esterberg explained percentage times the Public Works
engineers would spend on actual engineering verses administrative
responsibility. She said ninety-five percent of the responsibility for the new
engineer would be spent with actual engineering and only about five percent of
the time spent for administrative duties. She added that Jason deWildt was the
only engineer at the facility without administrative responsibilities. She said this
was the reason he was prepared to have damage/repair estimates ready to
submit for FEMA.

City of Rochester                                            Special City Council Meeting
                                                                            April 24, 2007

        Commissioner Esterberg explained the significant changes in the Public
Works Budget from last year. Recycling is up to $16,000.00. Trash Collection is
at a four percent increase. City Manager Scruton informed the Council that if the
New Host Agreement was approved it would cut an additional $30,000.00 from
that line item.

       Councilor Lundborn asked about a $10,000.00 cut on property/fixed asset.
Commissioner Esterberg explained that it was a matter of shifting money in order
to purchase needed equipment.

      Commissioner Esterberg informed the Council that some items in the
budget, such as the painting of the plow trucks, are only reflected every other
year in the budget. This particular item, found under the body shop supplies,
would go back up next year.

     The Sense of the Council was to review the CIP budget after the Water
and Sewer Budget Presentations.

3] Water Budget Presentation

        Commissioner Esterberg presented the Water Budget to the Council. She
was pleased to inform the Council that the final payment on the Water Plant had
been made this year, which reduced the water budget total. She said that one
third of the salary; of the additional staff is part of this budget. There was a slight
increase in the cost of chemical supplies and equipment repairs for the aging
facility. One item shown as $8,000.00 reflects funds needed to replace portions
of a pump. The entire pump will need to be replaced soon.

4] Sewer Budget Presentation

       Commissioner Esterberg presented the Sewer Budget to the Council. She
noted that the biggest increase in this budget reflected the request for an
additional maintenance employee. An evaluation was conducted by DES, which
prompted the request for hiring an additional maintenance person, rather than an
additional operator, which was originally thought to be needed. City Manager
Scruton supported the idea. By changing the focus from an operator to a
maintenance person, this position could possibly pay for itself in the long run by
reducing how quickly the Plant would need major upgrades. He added that the
Sewer Plant is a very expensive and important piece of infrastructure and the
maintenance is critical.

       Commissioner Esterberg compared the qualifications needed for a
buildings/grounds maintenance person compared to the Sewer Plant
maintenance person needed. The maintenance person needed for the Sewer

City of Rochester                                         Special City Council Meeting
                                                                         April 24, 2007

Plant would need to be able to tear down and restore a pump. The maintenance
person would be working with specialized equipment.

      Council discussed a Sewer Operator working on the weekends at the
Sewer Plant. Commissioner Esterberg explained that the State requires an
operator to monitor the Sewer Plant at least four hours on Saturday and
Sundays. Council debated the issue.

       Deputy Mayor Laurterborn explained to the Council that although the CIP
does not appear on the agenda, it has always been the policy to allow for review
of the CIP budget after a presentation.

5] Public Buildings Budget Presentation

      Commissioner Esterberg presented the Public Buildings Budget. She said
that this was basically level funded, except for the additional maintenance
technician needed in order to better maintain the thirteen City buildings.

       Council briefly discussed combining some of the City staff with the School
Department staff for cost maintenance purposes. City Manager Scruton
explained some of the details of what it would take to combine some of the
maintenance staffs. He added that it did not make sense to pursue the issue at
this time.

     Council discussed the interviewing process for the Public Works

6] Community Center Budget Presentation

       Commissioner Esterberg presented the Community Center Budget to the
Council. She said that this budget would be basically level funded. She said that
a portion of the maintenance technician was in this budget. In order to balance
the work that could physically be accomplished without overburdening the facility.
The building no longer operates as an enterprise. City Manager Scruton said that
this discussion could take place at another meeting; however, this would not
impact the taxpayer’s money.

        Councilor Keans asked about the Community Center Improvement Plan.
Commissioner Esterberg stated that the facility needed to be reevaluated in order
to operate the facility more efficiently. She explained the kitchen areas and other
important features are not being utilized as they should. Councilor Keans argued
that this Council had turned down a Master Plan for $50,000.00. She asked if this
was something that had come before Council for approval or if it was an in-house
job. City Manager Scruton said this was the Community Center Improvement
Plan that had come before the Council last week with the CDBG that Ea
Ksandra, Economic Specialist, presented to the Council. Councilor Keans felt

City of Rochester                                        Special City Council Meeting
                                                                        April 24, 2007

strongly that it should have come through Council committees if it had any impact
on the budget.

       Council discussed the different companies involved with the Building
Replacement Project. Commissioner Estreberg said that having an architect on
staff was beneficial for competitive bids. She explained details of how and when
the building’s windows would be replaced. Council agreed that it was important to
keep the historic look to the windows.

       Commissioner Esterberg explained the need for a security system at the
Community Center. There is a proposal from Honeywell, which would be a
similar system to that of the School Department’s.

      Council debated the need and cost of a one-ton bucket truck.
Commissioner Esterberg explained in detail the reasons the City would benefit
from upgrading from the existing bucket truck. The current bucket truck does not
meet OSHA standards. Council discussed renting or leasing a bucket truck.
Commissioner Estreberg explained it would not be cost efficient to rent the truck
on the needed occasions. She added that her recollection of leasing was that the
Council was not in favor of leasing equipment.

        Commissioner Esterberg addressed the “converting office space” line
item. She explained that the need for adequate office space is essential for the
Public Works Department. It is cramped, even without hiring another engineer.
She explained to the Council that although it was not an extensive design for the
adequate office space needed, it would be the most energy and cost efficient
design for the time being. Council discussed the small amount of money bonded
for this project. City Manager Scruton said the bonding process needed to be

       Commissioner Esterberg explained in detail the work for the Brock Street
Reconstruction. Council debated the controversy over the sidewalks on both
sides of the streets. Commissioner Esterberg stated that the plan was brought to
the Public Works Department about three months ago. There will be a public
hearing regarding the matter in May. Councilor Torr argued that the Public Works
Committee and the designers of the project do not agree. He added that they did
not agree with the Washington Street Map that was on the wall either. He said it
was a serious issue and an entirely different Council voted on the matter three
years ago. Commissioner Esterberg assured Council that she was working on
the project per Council’s approved minutes. She said specifically the Council
voted to have side walks on both sides of Brock Street, with parking on one side
where the business are located. She added that a traffic signal would be placed
at the end of Brock Street and a round-a-bout at Strafford Square. Council
debated the project. City Manager Scruton said this is the reasons projects are
prolonged and end up being so costly; the Council continuously changes
directions. He used South Main Street as an example. He added that once

City of Rochester                                           Special City Council Meeting
                                                                           April 24, 2007

Council approves a certain direction, the Public Works Department will follow that
direction, unless a vote is taken to change that direction, the project will continue.

       Councilor Torr pointed out that the Brock Street Project has not even
started construction and already one business owner might take legal action. City
Manager Scruton clarified that the business owner may not even have grounds
for legal action. The sidewalks are going in the existing public-way. The City
respects the people that live in that neighborhood and they have a special
interest in the project with stronger input. However, the City cannot hold up on a
major project because of one person objecting; it should not interfere with
infrastructure for the whole City. He added that the sidewalks are a key safety
concern for students walking to and from school, especially if walking through the
Fair Grounds that is prohibited. If Council is going to change direction, there
needs to be a vote taken. Councilor Keans said she was prepared to bring that
motion forward at a later date. She felt strongly about keeping the traffic flow as
simple as possible for the residents of these areas. City Manager Scruton stated
that Washington Street is one street that really needs sidewalks on both sides of
the street, for the students walking to and from school, even if businesses
disagree. He added that when it comes to children’s safety, narrowing a street to
slow traffic down and placing sidewalks is necessary. Councilor Keans disagreed
with needing sidewalks on both sides of the street. Councilor Grassie stated that
the streets were adequate in width and placing crosswalks would require
sidewalks on both sides of the street. He said it was important for the City to
remain pedestrian friendly.

      Commissioner Esterberg stated that additional funds were needed to bring
the Hanson Street Project up to the engineer’s current estimate. The project
should be going out to bid in the next couple of months. Councilor Keans asked
how much money was in the fund. Commissioner Esterberg replied that
approximately $1,069,000.00.       The engineer estimated the cost to be
approximately $1,300,000.00. Council discussed the Hanson Street Project.
Commissioner Esterberg noted that there were also water and sewer
components not shown on the table presented. She added that this was a
bonded project. Council discussed when construction would begin.
Commissioner Esterberg said it depended upon the bid being accepted.
Construction should begin in the summer and finish up in the spring of 2008.

       Commissioner Esterberg said that money was set-aside for the Old Dover
Road Landfill in the past. If the City ever wants to re-use the landfill, the City
needs to close the landfill according to the Department of Environmental
Services (DES) standards, so that the City would obtain buy-in from DES. It is
no longer being used as a landfill. Public Works has had to spend funds that
were allocated for the landfill for some additional environmental monitoring of the
area per DES requirements. Council discussed the line item for the closing of the
landfill, which had not been funded in a long time. Commissioner Esterberg
recollected that only about $60,000.00 had been allocated in the last ten years.

City of Rochester                                           Special City Council Meeting
                                                                           April 24, 2007

      Councilor Healey asked about a land dispute on Old Dover Road.
Commissioner Esterberg said a survey had been completed and was sent to the
City Attorney’s office for review. The City’s opinion is that the land belongs to the
City and the abutter is encroaching on its land.

        Council discussed the business owner on Old Dover Road operating a
business without a site plan approval. Council further discussed the land
ownership issue on Old Dover Road. City Manager Scruton stated that he would
put it on a priority list again for the City Attorney.

      Deputy Mayor Lauterborn suggested the Council could tack the rest of this
discussion onto the end of another Special City Council Budget Meeting.
Councilor Lundborn MOVED to adjourn the Special City Council Meeting.
Councilor Grassie seconded the motion. The MOTION FAILED by a show of
hands vote of 4 to 4.

      Councilor Varney suggested placing the Brock Street Project on the
agenda for the Regular City Council Meeting in May. Council discussed the
Brock Street Project. Councilor Torr said he had a great deal of phone calls on
the subject. Councilor Lachapelle said that he attended the Public Hearing on the
matter and did not remember any negativity regarding the project. Council asked
the Commissioner to have a report with all commentary ready for the Regular
City Council Meeting in June. Commissioner Esterberg said she thought she
could achieve that goal.

       Commissioner Esterberg said that the best way to find out if the Loop
Road TIFF District was feasible or not, was to add it to the CIP budget. The
estimated amount is $750,000.00 to evaluate the land. Council discussed the
project. Councilor Torr asked if it included the frontage road. Commissioner
Esterberg replied that it did.

       Commissioner Esterberg said that funds derived from the $5.00 per
vehicle fee at the auto registration, is used for crack ceiling and similar projects.
She explained the pavement rehabilitation program. She said the next section of
Chestnut Hill Road was included in the plans.

       Commissioner Esterberg said that she had hoped a student intern could
evaluate all the locations and conditions of the sidewalks throughout the City this
year in order to have a more organized plan for the future. Council discussed
how much footage was accomplished each year and taking a more aggressive
approach with the contractors. Council discussed the cost difference between
asphalt and concrete.

    Council discussed the Storm Related Road and Bridge Repairs line item.
Commissioner Esterberg explained the process of reimbursements to the City

City of Rochester                                         Special City Council Meeting
                                                                         April 24, 2007

from the State to assist with damages through programs, such as FEMA. The
Chesley Hill Road Bridge estimate was included in this amount, before the most
recent storm. Councilor Healey asked for the dollar amount of the cost rather
than percentage. She stated she would need to get back to the Council for the
correct figures. Her recollection was approximately $410,000.00. Council
discussed the increase needed from the original estimate.

        Commissioner Esterberg explained the Stormwater II Compliance
Assistance line item. This is the funding to ensure that the City complies with the
regulatory requirements of having a Municipally Separate Storm Sewer System
(MS4) as mandated by the EPA. The City only has until May 2, 2008.
Engineering assistance is needed for many of the plan elements. Councilor
Keans asked if one of the engineers, if hired, would eliminate the need for an
outside engineering firm. City Manager Scruton stated that this was an example
of how the City could reduce the cost of engineering. There were many
components that needed to be completed and having an additional engineer
assisting would be time and cost efficient. Commissioner Esterberg noted that
the Public Works Department initiated a stormwater video and has produced

       Commissioner Esterberg explained the Street Drainage Improvement
Program line item. This is the area in which the Public Works Department
receives the most complaints, next would be conditions of the roads.

        Commissioner Esterberg explained the Vehicle and Equipment
Replacement Program. She asked Council to refer to the spreadsheet of the
listing of all vehicles for the Public Works Department, found in the front part of
their budget books. She explained and listed the vehicle requests. Council
discussed the process of purchasing vehicles adopted by the Council.
Commissioner Eststerberg said it might not give a chance for the City to
purchase the cheapest vehicles, but the policy is in place for a reason. Councilor
Keans spoke about the confusion between the year the vehicle is purchased and
the budget year it is purchased. Making vehicles seem older than they actually
are. Council debated competitive bidding.

      Councilor Lachapelle MOVED to adjourn the meeting at 10:21 PM.
Councilor Lundborn seconded the motion. The MOTION CARRIED by a show of
hands vote of 5 to 3.

Respectfully Submitted,

Kelly Walters,
City Clerk’s Office


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