The conference, which represents 590 cities and villages throughout the state, awarded the village first place in the Public Works Category of the 24th annual Local Government Achievement Award Program for its Public Water/Energy Efficiency Project.
The honor was bestowed during NYSCOM’s 102nd annual meeting on May 24 in Saratoga. Frankfort Mayor Frank Moracco and Ron Vivacqua, superintendent of utilities for the village’s power and water departments, were present to receive the achievement award.
NYCOM President Sam Teresi says, the organization “recognizes that local officials are working diligently to improve their communities’ quality of life in efficient and innovative ways.”
The 2011 NYCOM/Empire State Report notes that Frankfort is “an economically-distressed Mohawk Valley community whose utilities have been plagued by unidentified leakages, unauthorized users and meter tampering.” The meters were installed in an effort to “control treatment, personnel costs, unlawful consumption and to promote efficiency.”
The meter replacement program, funded by a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant prepared by Geo-Environmental Management Solutions of Amsterdam, replaced 1,408 water and 1,700 electrical meters in the service area. Mayor Moracco said the technology saved man-hours without eliminating a position. After the last official meter reader left the position some time ago, existing department personnel added meter reading to their other duties, and the position remained vacant.
While the grant has been used up, Vivacqua explains the village is looking at future applications allowed by the wireless metering technology. Phase II will upgrade individual homeowners’ thermostats so the devices can be accessed from anywhere via the Internet. “Phase II would allow anyone [especially part-time Florida residents] away for an extended period to control their own thermostat from a laptop. If the forecast calls for subzero weather, they can turn the thermostat in their home up to 60 to keep pipes from freezing.”
The third phase would allow the village to inform residents through an LCD message on their thermostats that their service was in danger of being disconnected.