Special Called Meeting Minutes: Tap Fee Allocation Policy – August 30, 2016

For your consideration, please review the minutes for the Special Called Meeting from August 30, 2016:

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To read the minutes, please open or download the pdf from the link above or you may see more below:

PRESENT:

Thomas Boland, Chairman

Clifford Adams, Vice-Chairman

John A. Cason, III, City Commissioner

Ronald Perry, Commissioner

ALSO PRESENT:                 

Jimmy Junkin, Executive Director

Charlie Dorminy, Legal Counsel

Commissioner Boland called the meeting to order at 12:30 PM. He welcomed everyone and appreciate the turnout. The meeting was a public comment period to discuss the Tap Fee Allocation Policy and find a way to accommodate everyone. It was stated that JWSC wants the publics input and comments and treat everyone equally and fairly. There is a need for a policy so that when there are tap-ins available a few will not grab the whole available number. On Thursday, September 1st it is planned for the updated policy to be presented to the full Commission for approval. The policy was available for all to review prior to the open discussion. JWSC wants to be forward thinking and need your ideas. Chairman Boland continued by stating there was a spill this weekend due to an aged line breaking. The system is old in many places. There are many tap-ins that have been held for manyyears and nothing has been done or built. It was noted that there is a long term solution for PS2032.

Mr. Junkin explained that this policy was created to be fair and equitable policy to allocate sewer capacity. No solution is the perfect solution that makes everybody happy. This police may be directed towards slowing down those who want to collect all available taps for themselves. If there is a better over all concept on how to apply than please present your ideas. As it was mentioned, this will be presented to the full Commission on Thursday. Mr. Junkin provided his email if there is more to be discussed and someone wants to meet.

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD

Kilgore – Mr. Kilgore stated there is legal impediment for those to buy back, If project is not started in 6 months they can sell back to JWSC. It was stated that some of the older tap fees have been empty for up to 5 years
David Hainley – Hainley stated there is a problem with the policy as the state adopts the building codes. There is lack of specialty and the county will be held accountable. The 30 days is in conflict with the 6 months building code. The 6 months addresses how serious are the builders. Mr. Hainley questioned who is the entity to relay this information if there is no building in 60 days? If there is a suspension it could cause issues. Does the state allow or require extension and who is going to shut down the permit?  Dorminy stated that if a person doesn’t comply with JWSC how does that effect the permit and the county?

Jeff Hamilton – Hamilton stated he just spent the last 4 months with DNR and waiting for their approval. He has paid the property taxes. He stated this is a personal matter and affects his properties at 1012-1020 Beachview, SSI which is at 2002 Lift Station. Chairman Boland stated Additional pumps have been purchased.

Eddie Johnson – Mr. Johnson stated he and his wife want to build a house and need a tap-in. Their property is in 4110 Lift Station He stated he heard public comments 2 weeks ago. He questioned if the larger builders with many homes prevent a single tap-in user like himself difficulty. Mr. Johnson appreciated the guidelines. Mr Junkin stated that the JWSC can’t provide infinite capacity. He continued by stating that JWSC can categorize the requests and in theory identify the builder.

Jason Tate – Tate questioned if the Tap Fee Allocation Policy will be permanent going forward or just until we get through the tough patch? Mr. Junkin stated there is a lot of work to do and the Master Plan has laid it out for us what needs to be done. In the short term 5 years should be good but still need an allocation policy. Mr. Tate asked if the triggering factor is vertical or commencing construction? He continued by asking if the JWSC has looked at addressing capacity at the time of plans being approved. It was stated that if someone was willing to add capacity on by an unsolicited proposal will they get first chance to tap in and it was stated most likely and would there be a distinguishing difference noted like vertical or land development. Chairman Boland stated that the policy will need to stay around. JWSC is trying to fix those that are in need of immediate tap-in capacity.

Jeffery Counts – Counts stated some projects need to allocate so many a year until the situation is fixed. Mr. Hainley spoke on building permit and there is rational reason for 6 months. Mr. Counts stated he has clients sign a preliminary agreement. He asked if once confirmed can he then select 2 months later and ask for a permit? He continued by stating a good idea would be to categorize each tap- in request.

Bob Torres – Torres is a developer in West Point Plantation and has found many problems with what is being discussed. He sated there are 2 kinds of developers; ones who build one home at a time and those who build 100 at one time. Mr. Torres provided a history of back in the 1980’s where the builders were required to help build the lift station. He asked for the Commission and Executive Director to look at builders/developers differently and as a business which need to go through Gov’t control issues.

Ashley Durrence – Durrence referred back to the Rate Resolution and as it relates. It was suggested that requests for tap-in be allocated by community and by basins and as categorically or as tiered but not as first come first serve. Mr. Junkin stated as the JWSC frees up capacity we will meet with those and work out the allocation. The 30 day rule was discussed. Mr. Durrence questioned item #10 on the policy for milestones and who is going to revoke those permits?

McKenna – Mr. McKenna stated his biggest concern is if the JWSC has setup engineering for the N. Mainland basins. Mr. Junkin stated this meeting is to discuss the Tap Fee Allocation and that this item will be discussed at a later time. Mr. McKenna continued by asking when was capacity numbers going to be released. The JWSC staff stated within the next 2 weeks as the pumps have just been installed and being tested. A public announcement will be provided with adequate notice. He continued asking if there was anyway to identify how many tap-ins these pumps will allow. The Chairman stated they    are being worked on now and a number may be available soon.

Vass Cate – Cate stated this all seems too complicated to finish by Thursday. He recommended the Commission take smaller items to work through that dealing with such a large problem all at once. Mr. Junkin stated this is all a very complicated issue and stated he would plan to meet with those who would like to discuss the problems and where JWSC is missing the problem. He suggested Mr. Cate to plan to meet and share his insights about how to make this process work.

Chuck Mitchell – Mitchell stated he is a builder and worked in Savannah and Pooler He stated that the way this is being dealt with is creating a larger problem. Chairman Boland stated that the Dunbar Creek facility is near capacity and will need to be expanded soon and JWSC is trying to fix the problems in many areas. Mr. Mitchell stated that an Unsolicited Proposal is the same as Aid to Construct. He suggested that JWSC see how much is allowed in each basin and handle it by basins instead of first come first serve in the whole region. He stated that making a commitment for the year could work. Can the basins be explained in geographic form and it was noted that it can.

John – John asked if there was a list of those who able to buy tap ins Chairman Boland stated that people have been in to discuss the capacity issues and we have their names but they are not on a list per say for fist to tie in. C. Dorminy stated there is no policy yet so therefore there is no list.

Ron Sluder – Sluder stated he has purchased land and would have broken ground at Captains Cove but due to the tie-ins he has had to wait. Chairman Boland stated there are issues with the lines and areas like Sea Palms have problems with small lines used. Another problem is I&I problems that need to be addressed. There was a question about Hampton Plantation and the septic issue. It was stated that the Health Department issues the septic tanks as capacity is not available in that area.

Lance Turbin – asked for the definition of capacity and asked for the County Commissioners in the room to address the SPLOST issue for infrastructure as it can It is just as hard to ask for 3 years as it is to ask for 5 from the voters.

Mr. Junkin stated to the crowd to please contact him if you would like to meet and discuss the issues one on one. Chairman Boland and thanked those who were present.

There being no additional citizens who wish to address the Commission, the Chairman closed the public comment period.