By SOPHIA BUCKLEY-CLEMENT

PROCTOR — The Town of Proctor faces another year of complicated legalese as potential changes to Green Mountain Power’s plant evaluations arise yet again.

Town Assessor Lisa Wright was invited to the Feb. 8 select board meeting and stressed the importance of rehiring Sansoucy Associates to assist in localized utility evaluation – with specific attention to the hydroelectric dam on Otter Creek.

“The way utility assessments work is the utilities are required to give us an inventory every year – which is pretty detailed and pretty technical – and always has additions and deletions,” explained Wright. “I’m not a commercial appraiser. Even ifI were a commercial appraiser, I would not have the expertise to appraise something as complicated and specialized as a utilities plan.”

The discussion follows a series of yearly appraisals historically done by Green Mountain Power. In recent years, the town has questioned the accuracy of these evaluations – even going so far as to hire the New Hampshire-based firm Sansoucy Associates to appraise the properties separate from Green Mountain Power’s evaluations.

“For the price – which I believe is $7,500– you’re getting a mass appraisal, but you’re getting an appraisal on the hydroelectric plant within that,” said firm owner and professional engineer George “Skip” Sansoucy.

Sansoucy confidently argued that the hydroelectric dam at Otter Creek should be appraised at the towns original $14 million to $15 million figure.

Last year, Green Mountain Power appraised the properties before the introduction of Sansoucy Associates and ultimately valued it at no more than $10 million. 

The case is being appealed in court by Green Mountain Power. After discussing further with Sansoucy, the board agreed to table signing the agreement and address it at the next meeting.

DELINQUENT WATER ACCOUNTS

Also discussed on Monday was the state of delinquent water accounts in Proctor and how the board should proceed.

“I’m for whatever the select board choses,” said Town Manager Greg Maggard. “I come from an area where, you know, if you don’t pay your bills, you don’t get the utility.”

Following a nod of agreement from Selectman Bruce Baccei, Maggard acknowledged a past hesitancy to shut people off due to some uncertainty with curb stop placement around town and the current restrictions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maggard explained that many of the town’s curb stops are not documented accurately on town maps, which has in the past led to confusion surrounding action on these delinquent accounts. Several years ago, the town was on track to find, move, and replace all curb stops if needed, but the project has yet to resume.

“I know that we need to put curb stops in, so I was wondering if we were going forward with that while we’re waiting for this to be lifted,” said board member Carrie Covey.

Maggard said the town did intend to restart that effort and he discussed plans to address curb stop construction and movement as winter weather turns to spring.

Ultimately, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and a need for reconstruction on town curb stops, the board tabled discussion on delinquent accounts until further notice. Maggard did make a point of noting that there had been no significant rise in these accounts since the previous year and said that pink slips may still be sent, regardless.

MUCKING UP THE WORKS

Monday’s meeting was also spent discussing a sewage issue at the new Town Office building. Too much toilet paper resulted in a clog underneath the building that was swiftly addressed by the Sewer Commission.

“If it doesn’t happen at my house, why did it happen there?” Selectman Tom Hogan asked. “I use toilet paper and my line doesn’t plug up.”

It was later clarified that the toilet had a low-flush function that, in combination with the toilet paper, clogged the new line.

“I will tell you, the toilet paper we had was like pillowcases, so we have gone to a smaller ply type paper,” Maggard chuckled.

In other business:

  • Town Manager Greg Maggard reported only 25 hours of overtime for eight snow events this winter and a rough 25% usage of the town’s salt and sand as of Feb. 5.
  • The board scheduled a hearing for the “Newton Street dog issue” in which a “vicious dog” was shot and killed. As of Feb. 16, the Select Board has determined its findings and has come to a private resolution with the two parties.
  • The board unanimously approved the Town Report and is currently sending copies via USPS.
  • The board addressed the possibility of the Town of Salisbury leaving the BLSG Insect Control District agreement and the associated increased costs that Proctor may face as a result.
  • The North Street Bridge has reopened to one lane. The Highway Department was recognized for outstanding service on Proctor’s roads and sidewalks.

Sansoucy confidently argued that the hydroelectric dam at Otter Creek should be appraised at the towns original $14 million to $15 million figure.

Last year, Green Mountain Power appraised the properties before the introduction of Sansoucy Associates and ultimately valued it at no more than $10 million. 

The case is being appealed in court by Green Mountain Power. After discussing further with Sansoucy, the board agreed to table signing the agreement and address it at the next meeting.

DELINQUENT WATER ACCOUNTS

Also discussed on Monday was the state of delinquent water accounts in Proctor and how the board should proceed.

“I’m for whatever the select board choses,” said Town Manager Greg Maggard. “I come from an area where, you know, if you don’t pay your bills, you don’t get the utility.”

Following a nod of agreement from Selectman Bruce Baccei, Maggard acknowledged a past hesitancy to shutpeople off due to some uncertainty with curb stop placement around town and the current restrictions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maggard explained that many of the town’s curb stops are not documented accurately on town maps, which has in the past led to confusion surrounding action on these delinquent accounts. Several years ago, the town was on track to find, move, and replace all curb stops if needed, but the project has yet to resume.

“I know that we need to put curb stops in, so I was wondering if we were going forward with that while we’re waiting for this to be lifted,” said board member Carrie Covey.

Maggard said the town did intend to restart that effort and he discussed plans to address curb stop construction and movement as winter weather turns to spring.

Ultimately, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and a need for reconstruction on town curb stops, the board tabled discussion on delinquent accounts until further notice. Maggard did make a point of noting that there had been no significant rise in these accounts since the previous year and said that pink slips may still be sent, regardless.

MUCKING UP THE WORKS

Monday’s meeting was also spent discussing a sewage issue at the new Town Office building. Too much toilet paper resulted in a clog underneath the building that was swiftly addressed by the Sewer Commission.

“If it doesn’t happen at my house, why did it happen there?” Selectman Tom Hogan asked. “I use toilet paper and my line doesn’t plug up.”

It was later clarified that thetoilet had a low-flush function that, in combination with the toilet paper, clogged the new line.

“I will tell you, the toilet paper we had was like pillowcases, so we have gone to a smaller ply type paper,” Maggard chuckled.

In other business:

  • Town Manager Greg Maggard reported only 25 hours of overtime for eight snow events this winter and a rough 25% usage of the town’s salt and sand as of Feb. 5.
  • The board scheduled a hearing for the “Newton Street dog issue” in which a “vicious dog” was shot and killed. As of Feb. 16, the Select Board has determined its findings and has come to a private resolution with the two parties.
  • The board unanimously approved the Town Report and is currently sending copies via USPS.
  • The board addressed the possibility of the Town of Salisbury leaving the BLSG Insect Control District agreement and the associated increased costs that Proctor may face as a result.
  • The North Street Bridge has reopened to one lane. The Highway Department was recognized for outstanding service on Proctor’s roads and sidewalks.