RMLD gives update on electrical station replacement | News

WILMINGTON — On Monday night, the Wilmington Select Board approved requests for town spaces, licenses, and appointees and received a presentation on an electrical station.

They took no action for their first appointment, as requested by the applicant who couldn’t make it to the meeting, Jibrankhan Pathan, relative to a request for a common victualer license for 101 Main St.

Reading Municipal Light Department General Manager Colleen O’Brien provided information on the upcoming replacement of an electrical station on Wildwood Street including an estimated timeline. She explained how the RMLD had been trying to purchase a plot of land for a relocation in the Ballardvale area due to the potential increase of service there.

She shared that with this particular plot they found, they signed a letter of intent and a purchase and sale. The process would involve land preparation, permitting, soil borings, and electrical equipment bids and delivery. The first pickup would be estimated for late 2024 on the new station.

O’Brien went on to explain that the Wildwood station was placed near wetlands on a very small lot without room for load growth.

“The existing substation has been bandaided, if you will… [we’ve] put a lot of work into making sure it stays reliable.”

She assured the board that almost all of their other reliability issues had been dealt with.

Select Board Chair Judy O’Connell asked about how this would affect the rate of service. O’Brien answered they just completed a cost-of-service study and did not find a huge change. They’d report any issues from their annual report if any and keep an eye on the rate.

Town Manager Jeff Hull asked O’Brien on behalf of RMLD to provide an update once the transaction takes place. He also congratulated O’Brien on her retirement. She responded saying that she was grateful for the opportunity to be a public servant to the Town of Wilmington.

O’Connell mentioned her own appreciation for RMLD’s rates and service.

The final appointment was a request from Town Clerk Liz Lawrenson regarding a recommendation to change the election locations for the September and November elections at the Wildwood School. She proposed changing the locations for both elections for consistency even if the school would still be usable in September. It might even be better because the primary election is typically quieter, she explained.

Hull shared that the discussion for this proposal started earlier this year after the issue as discovered. He reported from the Board of Health that there were only a few issues to be addressed before they could get the septic back up and the electricity pole relocated.

However, he too saw value in using the transition for the primary election in September as a test run for how it could go in November. He assured the board that affected residents would all be notified accordingly.

Gary DePalma commented in support of the recommendation, as did Greg Bendel, despite hesitation about notifying residents in time. O’Connell reasoned that in case anyone missed their notification to vote in September at the new location, they’d have time to receive the one for the November election if they changed the location for both.

She also proposed using social media to remind residents of their precinct number.

Bendel asked Lawrenson about early voting, which she said would take place in-person for one week ahead of the election including a Saturday, along with absentee voting. The board voted to approve the request.

Other requests approved that night included changing the name on the flammable license for DMS Coating Resins Inc. to Covestro LLC, sale of town-owned land on Pershing Street, a Sons of Italy and Wilmington Band Parents yard sale at the Swain School parking lot, a Bruins event on the Swain green with the library, accepting various grants, and designees committee.

The board decided to leave further discussion on the town manager performance evaluation process for a future meeting when every member was present, so they moved to table that item. O’Connell emphasized the goals they create for the town manager should be achievable and consider the town manager’s bandwith.

In new business, DePalma asked the town manager to write a letter on behalf of the town to the town’s congressional delegation asking them to freeze gas taxes for some period of time. O’Connell said she would add it to the agenda for their next meeting.

Hull also mentioned that Comstar, a vendor hired by the town for ambulance invoicing, suffered a cyberattack which affected Wilmington residents. He advised the board that the town asked for advance notice and a copy of the letter they would send to individuals, though Comstar just sent their notification without answering the town’s requests.

Hull provided the phone number to direct questions and the town’s commitment to monitoring Comstar to make sure impacted individuals are informed and questions are answered.

The board shouted out this year’s high school graduates and the dedication of Dick Hayden corner on Arlene Avenue during the announcements.

The Salute to Service that night honored James DeFeo, a retired lieutenant commander of the National Guard, who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and received a number of medals. He’s been a longtime member of the Boston Police Department, Bendel shared, and participated in several local nonprofit organizations including Local Heroes.

The next Select Board meeting is scheduled for June 27 at 7 pm


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