Commission Meeting Minutes – May 4, 2017

For your consideration, please review the minutes from the Commission Meeting held on May 4, 2017.

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Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission

1703 Gloucester Street, Brunswick, GA 31520

Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 2:00 PM 

COMMISSION MINUTES

 PRESENT:                             

Donald M. Elliott, Chairman

Clifford Adams, Vice-Chairman

Michael Browning, Commissioner

Cornell L. Harvey, Commissioner

Steve Copeland, Commissioner

Dave H. Ford, Commissioner

ALSO PRESENT:                 

Jimmy Junkin, Executive Director

Charlie Dorminy, Legal Counsel HBS

Thomas A. Boland, Sr., Deputy Director

John D. Donaghy, Director of Administration & Finance

Todd Kline, Senior Engineer

Pam Crosby, Director of Purchasing

Jay Sellers, Public Information Officer

 ABSENT:                               

Robert Bowen, Commissioner                                            

Chairman Elliott called the meeting to order at 2:00 PM.  Chairman Elliott provided the invocation and Commissioner Ford led the pledge.

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD

Chairman Elliott opened the public comment period.

Monica Smith – Academy Creek, Dunbar Creek, and Peninsula at Golden Isles

Mrs. Smith questioned why the JWSC is seeking a $30M Bond Issue in order to make repairs to the Wastewater Treatment Plants at Academy Creek and Dunbar Creek.  She asked, “What exactly is the problem that needs to be fixed at those plants?” She also noted the photographs that Mr. Holland has taken of the outflow at Academy Creek for the past several months and the apparent condition of the water in the pictures.  In addition, she questioned why, when JWSC has been claiming that the WWTP at Exit 29 has been underutilized, was Jim Bishop told by the Executive Director of JWSC that there is no capacity for the Development of the Peninsula of Golden Isles off Buck Swamp Road? She also mentioned that an inadequate Lift Station or inadequate pipes was not an excuse for the developers to be told to go to the Health Department to apply for septic tanks for those lots in an environmentally sensitive area.

Mr. Junkin responded to the question of funding needed for the Treatment Plants, and noted that the plants do need some repair and upkeep, and must be proactively maintained in order to continue to stay in good functioning order.  He then acknowledged the photographs taken by Mr. Holland, of which he has seen, and did note that there was foam in one close-up picture and it has been addressed.  Staff has investigated that particular incident, and the plant has addressed the operations issues.  While the water was meeting standards it did have foam on the top due to some operational conditions that allowed certain bacteria which tend to float and make foam be present.  As a result of a 30 to 40 minute maintenance operation done on a Saturday, Mr. Holland was there at the perfect time to take the picture of the foam caused by the process of doing the maintenance.  Mr. Junkin noted that there is not an ongoing foaming or scum issue, and that he has not seen this condition in any of the other pictures taken.

There being no additional citizens for public comment, Chairman Elliott closed the public comment period. 

COMMITTEE UPDATES

Finance Committee – Chairman Elliott

There was no update at this time.  The next meeting of this Committee will be on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 2:00 pm.

Compliance & Legislative Committee – Commissioner Browning

There was no update at this time.  The next meeting of this Committee will be on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 1:00 pm.

Facilities Committee – Commissioner Adams

There was no update at this time.  The next meeting for this Committee will be on Thursday, May 11, 2017 at 3:00 pm.

Human Resources & Safety Committee – Commissioner Harvey

Commissioner Harvey indicated that the Human Resources & Safety Committee met earlier in the morning a 10:00 am and discussed personnel funding for the 2017-2018 Budget and the associated costs.  Also presented to the Committee was the number of proposed additions to the organization and the HR process to fill those positions. Also discussed were new positions and how they would be funded, why they are needed, and how they will be utilized.  This will be a point for future discussion for the Committee. Work related injuries were discussed, as well as recruiting and termination statistics. The next meeting of this Committee will be on June 1, 2017 at 10:00 am.

Public Information & Customer Relations Committee – Commissioner Copeland

Commissioner Copeland advised that Public Information & Customer Relations Committee did meet on May 2, 2017.  One point of discussion was the Community Engagement Program which is under development.  A graphical depiction of “Communicating the Value of Drinking Water Services” that was developed and adopted by the EPA was presented, and the Committee decided that it generally does meet the needs on a big picture basis, but will be tailored to be more specific to the JWSC.  Another discussion point was that Staff planned to test a texting software, Everbridge Emergency Notification System, for texting Boil Water Advisories and other notifications as needed to customers.  A final discussion item regarded the time for Commission Meetings and if they were held in the evening, would there be more citizen participation? The next meeting of this Committee will be held on May 30, 2017 at 2:00 pm.

APPROVAL

  1. Minutes from the April 20, 2017 Regular Meeting

Commissioner Browning made a motion seconded by Commissioner Copeland to approve the minutes from April 20, 2017 Regular Meeting.  Motion carried 6-0-1.  (Commissioner Bowen was absent.)

  1. Minutes from the April 20, 2017 Executive Session

Commissioner Browning made a motion seconded by Commissioner Harvey to approve the minutes from April 20, 2017 Executive Session.  Motion carried 6-0-1.  (Commissioner Bowen was absent.)

DISCUSSION

  1. Climate Resilience Adaptation Strategy Study Final Report/Presentation – Lisa Danner, Hagerty Consulting, Inc.

Lisa Danner presented to the Commission that over the course of the last few months, Hagerty Consulting has been working with Jay Sellers and Todd Kline of the JWSC through a grant funded by the Georgia DNR. She has provided a draft report for the water and wastewater infrastructure utilities of JWSC to include the facilities’ vulnerabilities and strategies that can be put into place and have been identified to increase the resiliency of the JWSC utilities.  Today’s presentation is simply an overview of the draft report and the recommendations that are included within. The Staff is in the process of reviewing the report and will provide feedback and comments for finalization of the report.  The objective of this initiative was to improve the water infrastructure resiliency by developing adaptation strategies related to sea level rise, flooding, hurricane, and other things that can impact the infrastructure.  She explained that this report is not intended to be used as a tactical plan and is not a field manual to be used in the future.  It contains recommendations that Hagerty Consulting has come up with by working with the EPA’s climate resiliency tool.  Specific data was entered resulting in strategies and recommendations for the JWSC.  Lisa noted the 3 water treatment facilities, the water distribution systems, 20 water storage facilities and 139 lift stations that were included in the study, along with the adaptation strategies provided within the report.  The EPA tool, called CREAT, is a Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool which offers scenarios of projected climate change to help identify related impacts important to the operations, maintenance, and management of water and sewer utilities’ critical infrastructure.  Through the combination of CREAT reports and EPA flood resiliency guidance, these strategies provide JWSC and the county with multiple options for improvement.  The report serves as a decision-making tool for water and wastewater utilities that may effectively be deployed against the known threat of flooding and sea level rise.

  1. Five Year Restore & Renewal Project List – J. Junkin

Mr. Junkin presented the 5 Year R & R Project list.  He began by explaining that the JWSC is working with a limited budget and does not have free reserves available to do many projects, therefore the task was to take the $140M R&R expansion needs and work the list based on what can be afforded through JWSC’s funding. Mr. Junkin briefly discussed the immediate needs of facilities and continued with the condition of pipes, gravity lines, concrete conditions, etc.  He referenced photographs taken earlier in the morning that revealed the condition of old concrete gravity mains that force mains from the North Mainland will be tying into that were never intended for those flows.  He noted that as with a lot of old infrastructure, JWSC has condition based needs as well as the expansion based needs. The lines previously mentioned not only must be upsized, but they are wearing out as can be viewed by the photographs taken showing that the concrete lines and the rebar in them is corroding from the gases in the sewer. The cost for this project is estimated between $11M and $14M. Mr. Junkin continued by noting that JWSC must make additional contributions toward the second of the SPLOST projects which is the demolition of lift station 4003 and the gravity line upgrades and that the money is not readily available, as about another $3.5M will be needed for completion of this project.  He further referenced the spreadsheet and the planned funding for the R & R for the next 5 years, along with looking at the projects planned and what type of needs were associated with each, i.e. rehabilitation needs or expansion needs for capacity reasons, etc..  He explained the details of the sheet provided, debt service, and funding for upcoming years. This project list is to be an agenda item for the next Facilities and Finance Committee Meetings.

  1. Five Year Expansion Project List – J. Junkin

Mr. Junkin explained that the list of Expansion Projects is funded through tap fees.  Calculations for estimated funding available for each year was done by using the number of taps sold this year multiplied by the tap rate, and allowing for the portion of that which is to go toward debt service.  He also explained that the list had to be reduced and made by what can be afforded through the expected funding. Mr. Junkin added that he had met with the Economic Development Authority earlier in the week regarding some future economic opportunities for the community in the North Mainland area, of which there will need to be water and sewer services, including fire protection available for.  This Expansion plan, as well as the R&R plan is a continued work in process, and will be discussed further in upcoming Committee and Commission meetings. 

  1. Planning & Construction Fee Structure – T. Kline

Todd presented to the Commission that the intent of this discussion was to provide a brief overview of how Staff is understanding and improving the ways in which Plan Review and Construction Inspection/Observation activities are funded. Goals include measuring the allocation of staff efforts and resources and minimizing the use of Operational monies to fund Private and Capital projects. This discussion focused primarily on the funding of Staff activities to facilitate private infrastructure expansions and development and how Staff is looking to develop an appropriate Fee/Rate schedule.  As the Planning and Construction Division, the 2 primary duties are Plan Review and Construction Inspection/Observation, which are both critical functions. These activities are understood as mandatory for the best interest of JWSC, and they provide assurance that modifications and extensions will not adversely impact the function or health of the existing system.  They are not optional and should be understood as a cost of construction. Staff has been tasked to quantify these efforts and determine how best to ensure that funding is sourced appropriately.  The goal is to identify the division of labor between Private projects, Capital projects and Operational support, then install a system to fund those divisions form appropriate sources.  Private project activities are to be funded through a fee/rate based structure charged to the applicant.  Capital project activities are to be charged to JWSC Capital projects.  Operational support activities are to be funded through JWSC Operational monies. Todd continued to further discussion on the allocation of staff time and detailed how it is divided between the three areas. Next he discussed the development of the Fee/Rate Schedule for Plan and Development Review Fees and Construction Inspection/Observation Fees. Successful implementation will depend on coordination with both Glynn County and the City of Brunswick, as well as defining and the internal administrative process to receive fees.  Development and refinement of both fee schedules is still in process with a goal of implementation at the start of the new fiscal year.  Draft fee schedules will be provided to Glynn County Community Development, the City of Brunswick Engineering Department and the public for review.  The final versions will be presented to the JWSC Board for final approval.

  1. Proposed Policy – Public Utility on Private/Gated Properties – J. Junkin

Mr. Junkin discussed that there are situations where there are public assets on private properties and developments.  Access to those assets for servicing them is an issue, and question – should we use ratepayers’ funding to service these, or expect the private person or development that own them to privately have them serviced.  Access in a gated community can cause a situation of not being able to provide services in a timely manner for repairs and maintenance.  He noted to the Commission that perhaps JWSC set a policy that private assets should be handled by the private entities, with the exception of possibly the meters.  It was noted that the County Right of Way is where the meters are supposed to be located, and JWSC works on the portion of the lines and meter in the ROW, everything from the meter forward to the residence is the property owner’s responsibility.  Discussion furthered to how the County handles private gated properties.  If a property is gated off as a private property, then there is no County Right of Way, and the owners are responsible for maintaining the road. It was suggested that perhaps JWSC should adopt a similar policy to the County.  If there is no County Right of Way and it is a private line, then the homeowner association or the private party or developer should maintain the costs of managing the water & sewer, with the exception of the water meters.  The County considers it private after being gated with no right of way, other than garbage collection, fire and police department since they do pay taxes.  Regarding utilities, there should be some policy as to the management of the utility that is within a private property or private development.  Mr. Junkin indicated that he is concerned about repairs and work that would have to be done on private property.  Commissioner Browning mentioned that with the County, if a private development puts in roads that are inferior and then wants the County to take over the roads, the County will not do so unless he roads are brought up to their standards. Mr. Junkin would like to consider a policy where the JWSC does not take over or do work on private property or a private development. It was suggested to compile a list of the properties in question.

  1. Peninsula Properties – J. Junkin

Peninsula development has been planned for a period of time. The development is about to change hands.  They need to find some means to provide sewer to their lots. They have asked the JWSC to provide a variance, but because there is no capacity at the lift station that would serve them, a variance would have to be approved by Glynn County for them to place septic sewer systems.  There are a total of 400 properties involved.  Additional property would be used for outdoor recreation facilities, etc. For the JWSC to provide a 4 to 5 mile sewer line to the treatment plant or build a lift station will be very costly.

  1. Town Hall Meetings Schedule, Agenda and Presenters – J. Junkin

Discussed Town Hall meeting schedule for Rate Resolution.  Bill inserts begin to go out tomorrow to advise customers.  Notices will be published in the newspaper. First Town Hall meeting is scheduled for 6:00 pm Wednesday, June 14, 2017 at St. Williams Catholic Church in Parish Hall on St. Simons Island.  Second Town Hall meeting is scheduled for 6:00 pm on Monday, June 19, 2017 at the City Recreation Center in Brunswick. The Commission will hold a Special Called Meeting on June 29, 2017 to approve or disapprove the proposed Budget and Supporting Rate Schedule to become effective on July 1, 2017.  Chairman Elliott requested the Commissioners to attend the Town Hall meetings.

  1. R & R Capital Projects Update – T. Kline

Todd presented the monthly R & R Capital Projects Update. Project 232 – SR99 Waterline Extensions – Currently in holding pattern.  DOT has requested some revisions of plans due to utilities.  Project 319 – Urbana Sewer Replacement – is essentially complete, working on punchlist items now.  Final details to be itemized on the punchlist.  Systems are working fine.  Project 421- Mansfield St. Storm Drains and Water Improvements, sewer is essentially complete with some final small details to be finished – still in progress, Project 503 – working on punchlist items, working with contractor on final items.  Project 504 – Canal Road waiting on punchlist items and final records.   Force main was installed across the corner of a property, needs to be researched.  If it is on a property, then will have to work with contractor to be removed or try to gain an easement there. Project 505 Pump Station 2032 – project has gone very well.  Force main is all in ground and tested.  Making final ties into Dunbar Creek. Completion expected possibly earlier than scheduled. Project 501 Alder Circle – Still on hold.  Project 602 Holly St. received documents, will go to County for bidding, money came from SPLOST V.  Project 701 Pump Station 4048 construction bids are due next Wednesday. This will reroute LS4048 around LS4005. Project 702 – North Mainland Sewer Basin Re-route – SPLOST 2016 with budget of $11.7M. Split into 4 Phases. Project 703 – Pump Station 4003 Decommission & Gravity Sewer, SPLOST 2016.  Estimate cost of $6.8million, SPLOST only allocated $3.3 M, JWSC will have to cover balance. Project 704 – Canal road to Glynco Parkway 12” Water Main Loop.  Pre-engineering in progress; route discussions with County.  Project 705 – Hautala to Old Jesup 12” Water Main Loop.  Will provide a second connection between the former City and County water systems.  Engineering design by Planning & Construction is complete.  Proposed construction by JWSC WD Division.  Todd also discussed the final map, which will help to explain to the community to see where their location of interest is and if there are any sewer basin issues there.  The map is expected to help make the sewer issues more transparent to the community. 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S UPDATE

Mr. Junkin noted that on May 9 at 10:30 am JWSC is hosting the Island Planning Commission and Glynn County’s Planning Commission monthly Joint Meeting. He invited the Commissioners to attend this meeting.

CHAIRMAN’S UPDATE

Chairman Elliott indicated that he definitely plans to attend the Joint Planning Commission Meeting and extended the invitation to all of the Commissioners as well. 

EXECUTIVE SESSION

Commissioner Adams made a motion seconded by Commissioner Ford to adjourn into Executive Session to discuss property and litigation issues.  Motion carried 6-0-1.  (Commissioner Bowen was absent.)

The Chairman stated that there will not be a vote after the Executive Session. 

Return to Regular Session.

Commissioner Adams made a motion seconded by Commissioner Ford to return to the Regular Meeting.  Motion carried 6-0-1.  (Commissioner Bowen was absent.) 

Commissioner Harvey made a motion seconded by Commissioner Ford to adjourn the Commission Meeting.  Motion carried 6-0-1.  (Commissioner Bowen was absent.)

There being no additional business to bring before the Commission, Chairman Elliott adjourned the open meeting at 5:09 pm.