Alford Municipal Light Plant (MLP) Update

Progress Report
August 24, 2016

Pole Work Under Way

We have made significant progress in the important first step of preparing the poles to accept fiber. The survey and cataloguing of Alford’s 722 poles by Comm-Tract Corporation has been completed; pole-attachment agreements with the pole owners, Verizon and National Grid, have been signed; and applications for licenses to attach fiber to the poles have been submitted. Examination of the poles by National Grid to determine what work, if any, its poles require to make them ready for the fiber has begun, and similar activity by Verizon is expected to commence on or about September 1. This work is anticipated to be complete by mid-September, absent interruptions over which no one may have control (e.g., really bad weather). You can expect to see contractor vehicles along our roads during that time.

Following completion of the “ride-out” activity, costs of any required work will be negotiated and determined, after which the pole owners will undertake the so-called “make-ready” work, to be paid from the funds authorized by the town. A reliable estimate of the time required to complete the make-ready work is not now possible, but the pole owners are required by law to make “best efforts” to complete the work within six months. The work is not anticipated to be complicated in our case, because most poles in Alford carry only electrical and telephone cables (a very small number also carry the MBI123 “middle mile” connection to the Town Hall and firehouse).

Design/Build RFP Developed

While the poles are being prepared for the fiber, we are setting out to hire a firm or firms to develop an engineering plan and install the fiber and electronics. To accomplish these steps, we have developed a corresponding Request for Proposals (RFP). The RFP includes design specifications, scope of work, and evaluation criteria. We are in the process of identifying an external consultant to provide a technical review of the RFP before it is published, hopefully by the end of this month. If all goes well, we hope to have identified possible contractors by the end of the year.

Financial Support from MBI

We have continued to develop our relationship with MBI, including phone calls, email exchanges, and in-person meetings with MBI leadership, including MBI Board Chair, Peter Larkin, and MBI Western Regional Coordinator, Bill Ennen. We have completed the MBI “Readiness Assessment” form, described in our last update, to MBI’s satisfaction. As a result, we have been assured that we will receive financial support of ca. $270,000 toward the costs of the project, although the terms and conditions still remain to be developed. In addition, MBI has agreed to reimburse about half of the total cost of the contract with Comm-Tract Corporation for the pole work described above.

Cable Company Fiber Installations

As many residents have noted, Charter Communications is installing fiber-optic cable in adjacent West Stockbridge. This work, together with similar work in nine other towns by Comcast, is taking place under a separate grant through MBI directly to these companies for work specifically in “partial-cable” towns. The respective companies, not the towns, will own and operate the installations, and will determine subscription rates, services, and policies. These projects are fundamentally different from what Alford is doing, and have no impact on our timetable or MBI support. Details are available at BizJournals and MassGov.

We again express our gratitude for the continued support, encouragement, and patience of our Alford community as this work proceeds.

Alford Municipal Light Plant Board
Tom Doyle
Bruce Forster
Jim Hall
Bob Lichter, Chair
Joe Nicolosi

Volunteer Consultants to the Board
Clark Downs
Jay Weintraub

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Corrected FY2017 Assessment Notice

Here is the corrected assessment notice for fiscal year 2017; it has been rescanned in the correct orientation for viewing and printing. This post will only be available until August 29th. Click to view or download the Corrected 2017 Assessment Notice in Adobe PDF format.

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Librarian Lois Milligan has resigned

The Alford Library Trustees announce that they have accepted the resignation of long time Librarian, Lois Milligan, effective July 1, 2016. She has been replaced by Trustee, Marion Ortwein. The Trustees would like to thank Lois for her dedication and hard work, and also thank Marion for her willingness to step in to fill the vacancy. Library hours and services will remain the same.

At their meeting in July, the Trustees also voted to advertise vacancies on their board, as former members have moved from Alford and are no longer eligible to serve. Anyone interested in serving should contact the Selectmen at Town Hall (528-4536, Extension 2) as soon as possible.

Library Trustees are elected to staggered 3 year terms, but the Selectmen can appoint a person to fill a vacancy until the term of the person replaced comes up for reelection.

The next meeting of the Trustees is scheduled for September 10, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. at the Town Hall. The current Trustees are anxious to welcome new members and their ideas to help direct the future of our small town library. If questions, please contact one of the following:

Karen Ketchen 528-4851
Marion Ortwein 528-1442
Susan Struzziero 528-0853

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FY2017 Assessment Notice

Here is the assessment notice for fiscal year 2017. This post will only be available until August 29th. Click to view or download the FY17 Assessment Notice in Adobe PDF format.

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Dancin’ in the District – Sept 10th

Alford Historic District Commission’s event of the year:
Suggested Donation: $10 / PERSON or $25 /FAMILY 3 OR MORE
We are reviving a long-ago tradition in Alford – Square Dancing and a meal on Saturday nights at the Town Center.
Our fall event last year was such a success!
We urge you to email for dinner reservations by August 15, so we can assemble a bountiful spread.
Alice Halsted –
Shirley Mueller –
Join our merry band and help with plans and preparation. Put your creative skills to work!
We will need decorators, food prep. help, food servers, parking directors. It’s a great way to get to know your neighbors!
The working committee is forming now –email Alice or Shirley to join our team, and don’t forget to MARK YOUR CALENDAR ! Family and friends are welcome.

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