East Central Vermont Telecommunications District (ECFiber)
Governing Board Meeting
7 PM April 14, 2020 – Minutes
Call to Order: Meeting called to order at 7:14pm
Irv called the roll and established that a quorum was present. See attached attendance record for details.
2. Introduction of Guests
Marty Blumberg (Treasurer), Tim O’Dell (Corinth), Chuck Sherman (ValleyNet), Chris Recchia (ValleyNet), Mike Rice (Windsor), Dick Kelley (Corinth), Kristen Esty (Pomfret)
3. Changes to Agenda
4. Public Comments
5. Accept March 10, 2020 Minutes
Motion to accept the minutes of the March 10, 2020 meeting.
(M/Jerry Ward, S/Alan Graham) – passed
6. Financials Update
No financials were presented. The finance and audit committee will be convening in the near future. Irv reported that the audit has passed without qualification.
7. Executive Committee Report
Irv talked about renewing the search for an Assistant Treasurer which is later on the agenda. We will also discuss the ECFiber maps.
8. Government Relations Update
Irv discussed our work with connecting students and that Chris Recchia will discuss this more.
9. Update from the Expansion Committee
Irv reported that the committee had met with Chris Recchia and received a preliminary report about extending into neighboring towns. We will look at expansion candidates as a group as part of a single bond issue. We need a summary of pros and cons of expanding into a given town. Under CUD law we can add them as a member or extend service into areas of an adjacent towns without service. A vote for expansion may occur as soon as May’s meeting, after another meeting of the Expansion Committee.
Chris mentioned that we have received formal requests from Windsor, West Fairlee, and Corinth. He thinks we should reach out to the other towns that have been under discussion.
Scott Gillette raised his concern that continuing to build the network would impact long-time members. F.X. thinks that rural broadband funding will be coming soon and we should be positioned to take advantage of it. Irv thinks that as part of the economies of scale, we would be able to lower rates while building out.
Chris has technical details ready but needs more about the financial piece. This could be ready for the next meeting of the Expansion Committee.
Nate Thames mentioned that the Expansion Committee is looking for an analysis of the other broadband into areas being considered.
Jerry Ward recalled that towns were told that future profits would be shared with them once the network was built. Jim Masland recalls that money would go back to the towns after financing was paid off. Marty reminded us that this would not happen for a long time.
10. Construction and Operations Update
Chris reports that ValleyNet staff are practicing strict protocols to keep staff and customers safe while continuing installations. Requests for service has increased and they are working around the clock to build and install. We are offering free installation service for students through the end of the school year who are eligible for WIC or free school lunch. Demand has been lower than expended with approximately 7 of 12 already installed. We have 4435 customers and will hit 4500 soon.
All remaining supplies to construct the first phase of the network, other than Hartford, has been ordered. Hartford will start next year. Eustis is working at full tilt with 7 healthy crews. ValleyNet is waiting for pole sets from GMP to continue building in Tunbridge.
John Malcom requested that the written construction report include more detail per town.
11. Provisions for Continuity in the Treasurer’s Office
Motion: To authorize the Executive Committee to seek the services of a suitably qualified Assistant Treasurer, charged with “shadowing” our present Treasurer to learn the duties and procedures of the office from him, with the expectation of eventually succeeding him at such time as he may decide to retire;
and further, that the Executive Committee shall make arrangements for regular compensation to both the Treasurer and the Assistant Treasurer for their services, whether by contract or by hire, such arrangements and the amounts involved to be confirmed by a subsequent vote of the Governing Board.
(M/Alan Graham, S/Jim Masland) – passed
Irv discussed the need to find an assistant treasurer with the hope that they would take over as treasurer when Marty decides to retire. Dan Childs talked about the concerns around hiring instead of contracting for this position. Vote unanimously approved, motion carries.
12. Revisit map used by the Governing Board
Irv mentioned previous discussions about making the map more useful. F.X. and Jeff Brand met with Carole Monroe to work on these improvements. Scott Gillette has cross-referenced the parcel maps in his town and would like to contribute that data. Dan Leavitt mentioned that some of the data points on the map are not valid customers.
13. Old Business
14. New Business
John White raised a concern about potential vandalism to ECFiber equipment.
Jeff Brand reminded delegates to request delegate appointment forms from their town clerks.
15. Adjournment – Next meeting is May 12, 2020
Motion to adjourn at 9:19pm (M/F.X., S/Dave Karon) – passed