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Water Authority Charts New Course

Letter to the Editor: New members of the Bristol County Water Authority board are bringing new blood and new ideas to the table to the benefit of all ratepayers.

Six months time, some new blood, and an infusion of new ideas appear to be helping the Bristol County Water Authority get their ship back on course.

Barrington Director Robert Allio pointed out at the last meeting that their pension fund management company, which has been at the helm for at least 20 years, has underperformed for the last five years. It was decided to send out an RFP for a new Fund Management firm. 

Director Allio has also started having regular Strategic Planning meeting where they address issues that have been dormant for quite some time, or absent . One of the items on the agenda is to prepare operations manuals, which they have not had in the past.

Director Allio had also suggested at a prior meeting that the website really needed to be brought up to speed and into the 21st century. Sue Andrade is working with Roger Williams students and is making great strides towards having a more interactive and informative website.

Progress is being made towards getting the East Providence inter-connect completed along with a connection through to Pawtucket giving us a back-up source of water. (If you remember, this is the same inter-connect that we were told by Mr. DeLise could be "turned on tomorrow" at the BCWA forum in January of 2011.)

The RFP for Legal Services has been sent out and they are awaiting responses.

The Union contract has been settled with the assistance of a federal mediator and it is a three year contract, falling into line with other municipal contracts. The new contract allows the Authority to switch from a defined benefit to a defined contribution plan for future employees, where the employees can make matching contributions. The new contract holds wages for the first two years with a 2.25 percent increase in the third year.

All in all, there is progress being made and the town councilors who supported appointing new members to the board are to be commended. Also worthy of mention is the fact that the new Executive Director, Pam Marchand, has been very receptive to all changes suggested by her board.

All of the above, coupled with a new emphasis on transparency, as evidenced by the taping of the meetings which are listed on the BCWA website, are encouraging. Thank you to all that supported these changes.

Marina Peterson
Bristol

marina peterson August 30, 2012 at 04:05 AM
Lots of folks gathered at the Bristol Town Meeting tonight to talk about Hydrant removal in Poppasquash....Executive Director was there, Brian Mellor was there, many residents. I did not stay... will watch the video. I was sick from the first part of the meeting!
Gary Morse August 30, 2012 at 07:20 AM
Marina, The unfortunate new BCWA Board members are now trying to unravel decades of problems left by the legacy board members. When the new Poppasquash development started going up in the early 1990's (Reliance Drive, Courageous Circle), it appears they needed a fire hydrant in the area to keep the fire insurance rates low. But if Poppasquash Road is a private enclave from the guarded gate down, who exactly is paying the bill for this hydrant? Is it the town of Bristol?
Local Mom August 30, 2012 at 11:23 AM
Previous posts address far larger and more substantive discussions, but I had to laugh when I opened our water bill recently. BCWA now (finally - welcome to 21st century) accepting credit cards for payment - for the princely extra fee of $3.95! Message - pay us faster, save us the admin work of processing checks, chasing bad checks, sending out overdue notices, etc. - even though you'll be helping BCWA save $, we're charging you big time extra for this! To the BCWA board - this is a huge customer disconnect - few in their right minds would take advantage of this option.
Gary Morse August 30, 2012 at 11:52 AM
Donut, I think that BCWA has to issue some charge for this in the same way if you pay your property tax bill by credit card, they tack on a 3% charge for the service. I think it has to do with recovery of all expenses in a public entity (explanation previously provided via the Barrington Finance Director). If the average BCWA bill is around $120, that's about 3%.
Manifold Witness August 31, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Ring, ring. Insignificant Public: “Hello”. Low-Hanging-Political-Fruit Big-Boy: “Hi Insignificant. A question…” IP: “What do you want to know now?” LHPF BB: “Kenny wants to know what the little people think about his campaign.” IP (winces): “Campaign promises aren’t exactly a campaign.” LHPF BB: “What do you know about Kenny’s campaign promises?” IP: “We can read. BristolRI02809 is telling it all in the Patch.” LHPF BB: “That’s got nothing to do with Kenny! I mean, sure, BristolRI02809 talks about Kenny all the time, it seems like he’s running Kenny’s campaign, he talks like he & Kenny are as one, he’s the one who said Kenny’s a big boy havin' Kenny big ol’ ‘times’, he says what Kenny’s gonna do in office, he talks like Kenny with the constant name calling ... but….oh… yeah…. see what you mean.” IP: “Don’t worry, Kenny’s gonna win. What’s not to love? He’ll split like Chafee and be in like Flynn.” LHPF BB: “So I shouldn’t worry?” IP: “Kenny’s all set. And he’s undergoing a series of trainings to get ready for the big leagues of RI government. He’s already had his training called “Your Role as a Public Official”. Next is “How a Bill Becomes a Law”. And last, but not least, is workshop #3- 'How to Post Comments Anonymously While Still Showing Your BristolRI02809 Pride'. http://sos.ri.gov/documents/publicinfo/omdocs/notices/4494/2012/129599.pdf

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