East Central Vermont Telecommunications District (ECFiber)
February 19, 2019 – Minutes
Call to Order: Chair called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m.
Chair called the roll and established that a quorum of member towns was present. See attached attendance record for details.
2. Introduction of Guests
Carole Monroe (ValleyNet), Marty Blumberg (Treasurer), Stan Williams (ValleyNet), David Rottmayer (ValleyNet)
3. Changes to Agenda
4. Public Comments
Dan Leavitt read Dave Brown’s letter of thanks to George Sadowsky and Carole Monroe for their service to ECFiber. George is moving out of the area and Carole is retiring although she will continue to work part-time primarily on ValleyNet’s Lyme Fiber effort.
5. Accept Minutes of December 11, 2018 Meeting
Motion to accept the minutes of December 11, 2018 meeting. (M/Swayze, S/Orcutt) – passed
6. Accept Minutes of January 8, 2019 Meeting
Motion to accept the minutes of January 8, 2019 meeting. (M/Graham, S/Orcutt) – passed
7. Introduction of new ValleyNet Managing Director
Introduction of David Rottmayer. David is in his third week at ValleyNet and Carole is still on board part-time to help with the transition and with ValleyNet’s Lyme Fiber activities. David said a few words of introduction of himself to the Board.
8. 4Q 2018 Financial Review
Stan reviewed key performance indicators from Q4 2018 and talked about the 2019 build being delayed and plans to complete the 2019 build by Q4. As a result of the build delay it may make sense to delay the next bond offering a bit. Near term goals include investigating drop cost increase and improving non-standard installation expense budgeting. KPIs for the period are summarized on page 1A of the handout.
9. ECFiber Visionary Thoughts – Stan
Stan said that he has been optimistic that building out the ECFiber network would substantially change the economic fate of the region but the effect isn’t obvious. We should think about efforts to attract innovative usages of our network and look around the country to see what other towns have done. His handout that was included in the packet included some links for reference and he asked anecdotally who would have the passion to look further into it and said that there may be grant opportunities to study such things.
Stan’s statements led to a discussion among the group followed by the Chair inquiring whether anyone would volunteer to be on a committee to think about these ideas. Chris Noble, Henry Swayze, Dave Karon, Betty Warner, Dan Childs, and Dan Orcutt all volunteered to contribute, as did Chuck Sherman after the meeting. The committee name to be determined.
10. Executive Committee Report
Irv reported on activities of the Executive Committee – as recorded in the minutes of that meeting.
11. Government Relations Update
Irv also reported on his activities with Government Relations – again, as reported in the minutes of the Executive Committee meeting.
12. Construction and Operations Update
Carole met with USDA who has $600M to give out. Vermont has been largely excluded because of the VTel wireless overlay but the new map may reveal areas that we can qualify for. It won’t help us but it could help other CUDs who still have their network builds ahead of them. She also met with Washington Electric Coop to figure out whether they have a place in helping out CUDs in their area.
Town meetings are coming up in March and we have flyers and other material to distribute. This may be most useful in newly lit towns like Granville and Hancock. Rochester cutovers of DSPs are in progress with about half of the town lit and the remainder planned to be lit by the end of the month. Hawk Mountain community is challenging because of the topology but is being worked out.
The contractor is hoping to get all Stockbridge, Braintree and Brookfield dirt roads builds complete before thaw and the paved roads will follow. Railroad crossing permits have not yet been received Braintree so there is a potential for delay there. Many Royalton areas will also require railroad crossing permits.
We are now over 3300 customers.
13. Motion authorizing the Chair to sign contract for 2019 Design and Engineering services on behalf of the District
Motion to approve the expenditures for the 2019 Design and Engineering services, not to exceed $525K, and to authorize the chair to sign the Contract on behalf of the District. (M/Leavitt, S/Childs) – passed.
14. Quechee Balloon Fest Planning
Members discussed having an ECFiber booth at the Quechee Balloon Festival this summer. Jeff Brand, Chris Noble, Dave Karon, Betty Warner, John White all volunteered to help out, and of course F.X. Flinn (grin) will too.
15. Old Business
16. New Business
Motion to adjourn (M/Karon, s/Childs) – 8:49 PM.
Note: The next Governing Board meeting will be March 12, 2019.