DIXFIELD — A representative with Ted Berry Co. Inc. met with the Board of Selectmen and residents Monday evening to explain why the town uses the Livermore company to operate the sewage pump stations.

The issue arose during at a Dec. 22 meeting when resident Dan McKay asked the board why the town no longer cleans the sewage pump stations in-house.

Town Manager Carlo Puiia said Monday evening that he decided to invite Dave Beacham, municipal services manager for Ted Berry Co., to the selectmen meeting to answer any questions residents have about the issue.

McKay said to Beacham, “Up until you guys started, we had taken care of all the duties required of maintaining the sewers. I guess the question is this: What are you so much better at compared to what we used to do?”

Beacham said the change was a matter of saving money.

“When you compare what it costs for us to provide the services versus the town of Dixfield doing it in-house, the cost savings are actually pretty substantial,” Beacham said.

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He said, “When you take the biannual pump station cleaning, the annual cleaning and video inspection of the entire collection system, the knowledge base we have between everyone who works for us, and the equipment we use to reach to issues, it adds up. If you had to pay that by yourself and do that in-house, rather than hire us to do it on an annual basis, you would be paying a lot more money than you are now.

“As a lot of the infrastructure gets older, you need to be able to respond to the issues in a timely manner,” Beacham said. “It’s those types of things that you’re paying for.”

McKay said he had worked in towns over the years and found they do not inspect or clean the pumps as much as Dixfield does.

“I can’t argue your figure, but I can say that we can do the same thing that you’re doing if we wanted to,” McKay said. “If we extended this program so we didn’t have to do some of the inspections or cleaning as much, and maybe did some of it in-house, I believe we’d save a substantial amount of money.”

One resident told McKay, “As the system gets older, I would think that you have to inspect and clean pumps more often, not less often. I think you’re looking for a bad situation to try and skip cleaning pumps and inspections to save money.”

Resident Norine Clarke said Ted Berry Co. has employees that are trained to deal with emergencies, if they arise.

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“Right now, we don’t have the parts on hand, and we don’t have the means to respond to emergencies,” Clarke said. “We just don’t have enough men to deal with things like that.”

McKay asked Puiia how Rumford does its sewer cleaning.

Puiia said Rumford does it in-house, adding that it likely has a lot to do with the size of its department.

In other business, selectmen agreed to hold a public hearing before their Jan. 26 meeting to discuss extending the six-month moratorium on wind energy projects. The move would give the town more time to finish revising the Wind Energy Facility Ordinance.

The ordinance was approved in 2012 and the revisions began in January 2013. The six-month moratorium was approved by voters at an Aug. 21, 2014, special town meeting.

Voters rejected a revised draft of the ordinance by a 553-567 vote at the Nov. 4, 2014, referendum.

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As a result, selectmen voted 4-1 at a Nov. 25, 2014, meeting to send the Planning Board’s draft ordinance and two amendments by selectmen to a June referendum vote.

However, the six-month moratorium approved in 2014 expires Feb. 2, Puiia said.

“I was hearing some people at Monday’s meeting saying that they felt the board was holding the town hostage with the moratorium,” Puiia said Tuesday. “The moratorium is only being used as long as it’s needed. It won’t be a situation where it’s continually extended. It’s just in place while the selectmen revise the ordinance for the ballot in June.”

Selectmen also voted unanimously to reappoint Theresa Hemingway as registrar of voters.

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