Commission Meeting Minutes – August 3, 2017
For your consideration, please read the minutes from the Commission Meeting held on Thursday, August 3, 2017 at 2:00 pm.
Commission Meeting 8-3-17 Minutes with Attachments
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Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission
1703 Gloucester Street, Brunswick, GA 31520
Thursday, August 3, 2017 at 2:00 PM
Donald M. Elliott, Chairman
Clifford Adams, Vice-Chairman
Michael Browning, Commissioner
Cornell L. Harvey, Commissioner
Steve Copeland, Commissioner
David H. Ford, Commissioner
Jimmy Junkin, Executive Director
Charlie Dorminy, Legal Counsel HBS
Thomas A. Boland, Sr., Deputy Director
John D. Donaghy, Director of Administration & Finance
Harry Patel, Assistant Engineer
Pam Crosby, Director of Purchasing
Jay Sellers, Public Information Officer
Robert Bowen, Commissioner
Chairman Elliott called the meeting to order at 2:00 PM. Commissioner Elliott provided the invocation and also led the pledge.
PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD
Chairman Elliott opened the public comment period. There being no citizens for public comment, Chairman Elliott closed the public comment period.
Commissioner Browning made a motion seconded by Commissioner Ford to amend the Agenda and change Approval item #4 from “Rate Resolution & Policy Revisions” to “Legislation & Ordinance”. Motion carried 6-0-1 (Commissioner Bowen was absent for the vote.)
Commissioner Browning made a motion seconded by Commissioner Harvey to excuse Commissioner Bowen from the Commission Meeting. Motion carried 6-0-1 (Commissioner Bowen was absent for the vote.)
Finance Committee – Chairman Elliott
There was no update at this time. The next meeting of this Committee will be on Wednesday, August 16, 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, August 16, 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, August 10, 2017 at 3:00 pm.
Human Resources & Safety Committee – Commissioner Harvey
Commissioner Harvey reported that the Human Resources & Safety Committee did meet earlier that same morning at 10:00 am. There was discussion of the recruiting and termination statistics. There was no subject matter from that meeting required to be brought before the full Commission. The next meeting of this Committee will be on September 7, 2017 at 10:00 am.
Public Information & Customer Relations Committee – Commissioner Copeland
There was no update at this time. The next meeting of this Committee will be held on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at 10:00 am.
- Minutes from the July 20, 2017 Regular Commission Meeting
Commissioner Harvey made a motion seconded by Commissioner Browning to approve the minutes from July 20, 2017 Regular Commission Meeting. Motion carried 6-0-1. (Commissioner Bowen was absent for the vote.)
- Minutes from the July 20, 2017 Executive Session
Commissioner Adams made a motion seconded by Commissioner Harvey to approve the minutes from July 20, 2017 Executive Session. Motion carried 6-0-1. (Commissioner Bowen was absent for the vote.)
- Pump Pre-Purchase SPLOST 2016 North Mainland Project – Phase 1 – P. Crosby
Pam Crosby presented a recommendation to the Commission to pre-purchase pumps for the SPLOST 2016 North Mainland Project – Phase 1. She advised that it is at the time in the project where the pumps need to be pre-purchased in order to make the leadtimes to keep the initial project plan on task. She provided the Xylem quotes for the pumps, and noted that Xylem was identified as the sole source for these pumps. This pre-purchase will allow JWSC to take advantage of contracted discounts and also avoid mark-up on them. She advised that the projected lead time is 14 to 18 weeks for the pumps, and that JWSC will take advantage of an expedite option. The total cost for this pump pre-purchase, including the components is $268,599.73. There was some additional discussion regarding the 3 pumps for purchase, leadtime, expediting, contracted discount, etc.
Commissioner Ford made a motion seconded by Commissioner Harvey to move that approval be granted to purchase the pumps that will be installed at Pump Stations 4005, 4006, and 4028 as a part of BGJWSC SPLOST North Mainland Sewer Improvements in the amount of $268,599.73. Motion carried 6-0-1. (Commissioner Bowen was absent for the vote.)
- Legislation & Ordinance – C. Dorminy
Charlie Dorminy began by discussing the recent ruling on the mandamus of which the overview was contained in the referenced memo, and a copy of the actual order was attached to the back of the memo. He then continued to give the background information by noting that on July 31, 2017, the Superior Court of Glynn County granted a Writ of Mandamus ordering the JWSC to issue to RLF Carriage Gate tap receipts for 50 lots. It did not order the JWSC to allow access to the system. He further noted that importantly, the argument made to the Court by RLF Carriage Gate was that there was nothing specific in either the JWSC enabling legislation or the Water and Sewer Ordinances stating that the JWSC had the power to deny someone access to the system in the interest of public health or safety. “We” argue that the enabling legislation specifically requires the JWSC to operate and maintain the system in the best interest of the users and that the ordinances specifically require that the user submit an application and obtain approval from the JWSC before the tap receipts can be issued; and, accordingly, if there exist capacity concerns, the JWSC could deny such an application. The Court noted that whether there was capacity for the development should have been determined by the Glynn County Water and Sewer Department when the development was approved by the County in 2004. This, of course, was before the JWSC came to be. Ultimately, RLF argued that they were not seeking access to the system at this time but only wished to obtain tap receipts so that a subsequent lot purchaser could obtain a building permit. The Court ordered just that, the issuance of tap receipts, that occurred earlier this morning. However, the Court specifically noted that the JWSC maintains the power given to it by the Water and Sewer Ordinances to suspend or discontinue system use in the case of emergencies. Mr. Dorminy continued, therefore, in order to remedy any alleged ambiguity in the ordinances related to the JWSC’s power to deny access to the system in the interest of public health and safety, the JWSC should seek to revise the legislation and the ordinances to make more specific its ability to approve and deny access to the system in the interest of public health and safety. He then asked if there were any questions regarding the ruling. There were no questions, and he confirmed that the Commissioners all understand the ruling. Mr. Dorminy then continued that he recommended that “we” begin revising the enabling legislation to clarify the JWSC’s power to deny and suspend access to the system in the interest of public health and safety, and request that the County and City make necessary revisions to the Water and Sewer Ordinances to clarify that the JWSC has the power to deny any access to the system in the interest of public health and safety. He then noted that essentially he just wanted to bring this before the Commission to make sure everyone is on the same page, and that we are not making any revisions to the legislation at this time, and that would go before the Legislation Committee. He added that we also were not making any revisions to the ordinances. Chairman Elliott confirmed that the motion here was just for Mr. Dorminy to draft the revisions. Mr. Dorminy confirmed. Chairman Elliott then asked if both revisions would then come again to be approved. Mr. Dorminy answered that they would be presented on August 16 at the Legislative Committee Meeting, and then on the ordinance revisions he will work with Aaron to get what needs to be revised. He added that then these would be taken before the City and County Commissions.
The Commission agreed that there was no need to make a motion, but to give the direction and guidance to Mr. Dorminy to go ahead and do this, and present it to the Legislative Committee.
Commissioner Ford questioned the ramifications, and how is this going to affect other developers and other contractors who were refused those taps? Mr. Dorminy noted that what the court ruled was that this development had approved plans and therefore because they had approved plans, then we are required to issue them tap receipts when they apply for the taps. They did not rule that we had to grant them access at this time. He added that there are no houses out there right now that are built or that are requesting access at this time. So, any development that has approved plans can come in, pay their tap fees, and receive a tap receipt which would enable them to get a building permit, build a house and then request access to the system. Mr. Dorminy then continued that the Court, on the next to the last page of this decision, noted that the Water and Sewer Ordinances expressly grant the JWSC the power to suspend or discontinue system use, and then cites the two ordinances related to emergency suspensions. Commissioner Ford then questioned if because of this ruling, was the JWSC at minimal risks for any future lawsuits, due to this. Mr. Dorminy responded, that yes, we can still be sued. Mr. Junkin added that if he interpreted what Mr. Dorminy was saying was that even if we were sued, it appears that this is on our side and would let us make the decision based on the facts on the ground. Mr. Dorminy added that we won’t see any lawsuits like this one because people are not going to be denied tap receipts. Chairman Elliott asked to confirm that taps have previously been denied. Mr. Dorminy responded that tap receipts have been denied. Chairman Elliott then questioned if JWSC was liable for anything that JWSC may have prevented by our actions. Mr. Dorminy responded that it has not been determined yet. Commissioner Ford then questioned if those who have been denied taps to, because of this ruling, can they come in and get taps at previous prices? Mr. Dorminy responded that if they had come in and made an application and paid prior to the increase, but he believes this is the only developer who had done that. Mr. Junkin noted that if there were any applications in then there will be records of it.
- Debt Collection Policy – J. Junkin
Mr. Junkin discussed the policies for collection on delinquent accounts. He noted that since the time of the original policy staff has been working diligently to exercise the new policy and get things going to recover a lot of the bad debts outstanding. It was found that there were some details that needed to be refined due to some situations that have occurred. Mr. Junkin referenced the revised policy that was provided to the Commission. He noted items which had been revised such as for those who owed less than $500.00 and are delinquent, this amount can be broken into 50% payments with a 15 day break between those payments in the case that they did not have the funds in total. The next major revision was the promissory note option and revised details based on the situation. Mr. Junkin mentioned an additional revision calling out the 300% of federal poverty guideline which allows us to go up to 24 months on a promissory note, up to 300% but not over 300% of the federal poverty level. If they are at 110% or less, there is an open ended payment policy that does not restrict to a number of months or a time period, but does allow some flexibility in setting a monthly payment above and beyond their normal use to a level that fits the customer. He noted that it is recognized that there are always those customers who are not satisfied no matter what, but that these policies do allow some flexibility, and that the staff does understand the policy. For the customer who just cannot fit themselves into one of the options that make sense according to their situation, they are able to file a formal complaint that indicates how they are not being treated fairly or not given the right outcome for their situation. A form has been created for this customer to fill out, and turn in, and that within 10 working days staff will respond to any customer who submits a complaint form to let them know what the committee has ruled. The customer will be given a copy of the policy and be given the opportunity to show where they may not have been treated fairly. Mr. Junkin also mentioned that in the document, it is noted that when a customer is put on a promissory note payment failure can result in credit rating impacts, and that if it has to be taken to a collection agency, they will report it to the credit bureaus. Lastly he noted that as part of this program, it is intended to address a target of 100 accounts per week, which is an aggressive number. There will be a letter inserted and sent out to all customers advising them that if their account is delinquent and they come in before we have to contact them, that the outcome might be a little better for them. Staff is continuing to push on this program and get the issues resolved. There will be an ongoing update on these collections and promissory notes. There was some additional discussion regarding the collection efforts and the reporting.
- R & R Capital Projects Update – H. Patel
Harry Patel presented the R & R Capital Projects monthly status update to the Commission. He noted there were 8 exhibits, the first being a map indicating all of the construction projects currently in progress in Glynn County and their locations. He then continued with discussion relating to each project on the update. Project 232 – State Route 99 Waterline Extensions – Phase IIA and III are complete. JWSC is currently working with Georgia D.O.T. to resolve issues with waterline relocation and road widening. Project 319 – Urbana Sewer Replacement – Project is substantially complete. Working through final punch list items with the contractor. Project 421 – Mansfield Street Sewer Replacement – Currently storm water drain work is still going on. Need to confirm expected completion date with contractor and City engineer. Project 503 – Canal Crossing Water & Force Main Improvements – JWSC is waiting on record drawings from contractor. Project 504 – Canal Crossing Pump Station – JWSC is waiting on record drawings for project. Project 505 – Pump Station 2032 Regional Station & Forcemain – 98% complete. Force main is online. Waiting on record drawings submittal and final close out documents to be executed. Referenced 2nd and 3rd exhibits attached to indicate the basins that are now in the green with capacity. Project 701 – Pump Station 4048 Force Main Improvements – All railroad permits have been approved. Portions of pre-purchased pipe delivered on August 1, 2017. Public meeting scheduled for later same day at 5:30 pm at Brunswick High School. Initial component to open small amount of N. Mainland capacity; coordinated with SPLOST 2016 Phase 1. Project 501 – Alder Circle Water Line/Fire Protection – Project is on hold waiting re-evaluation of the scope of work. Still in engineering phase. Project 602 – Holly St. Sewer Rehabilitation/Replacement – Engineering phase is complete and project is essentially ready to go out for bid. Bid documents have been received and are being reviewed. Evaluating construction schedule, which will be submitted to Glynn County for construction bidding and award. Project 702 – North Mainland Sewer Basin Re-route – SPLOST 2016 project. Referenced 4 attachments indicating all 4 phases of project. Project is broken down into 4 phases in order to expedite. This is a long term solution for the North Mainland. Phase 1 has been awarded to Constantine Constructors. Pump pre-purchase was approved earlier in meeting. Phase 2 – New 20” force main from Canal Road, bypass PS4036 to B & W Grade Road. Preliminary engineering is 100%; coordination with Glynn County required to finalize route on Canal Road that is required. Evaluation of downstream receiving sewer may affect scope. Phase 3 – New 20” force main from PS4110 to Canal Road. Phase 4 – Force main reroute from PS4039 & PS4109 to Canal Road. Projected construction for PS4110 segment: 8-12 months; 2-3+ year project in total. Downstream gravity system rehab requirements being evaluated.
Project 703 – Pump Station 4003 Decommission & Gravity Sewer – Preliminary engineering work is in progress determining the scope of work, and project specifications. Project 704 – Canal Road to Glynco Parkway 12” Water Main Loop – Pre-engineering in progress; working with Glynn County on routing and widening of Canal Road. This project will utilize 3,000 LF of surplus 12” C900 PVC pipe from PS2030 project. It will eliminate single feed to Glynco Parkway, airport and FLETC, loop Canal Crossing. Water main installation under Altamaha Canal is complete. Project 705 – Hautala to Old Jesup 12” Water Main Loop – Cate Road and Old Jesup Road intersection. Engineering design by JWSC Planning & Construction Division is complete. Proposed construction by JWSC WD Division. Currently investigating addition of pressure Reducing Valves to regulate effect on water production facilities; modeling in progress.
- Flow Increase – Academy Creek and Dunbar Creek – M. Ryals
Mark Ryals presented to the Commissioners information regarding the flow increase caused by rain to the Academy Creek and Dunbar Creek plants from the past 2 months. He referenced the data provided and explained the Legend and what details were contained in each column of the charts. He also provided a “Plant Performance” chart for each of the 2 water treatment plants, which included the noted monthly data from January 2016 through July 2017. Mr. Ryals added that the rainfall data is gauged at the plant locations, and that he did not have data for the amounts of rainfall in other areas, but that the flow from that rainfall does affect the water treatment plants. Mr. Junkin added that the numbers have been relatively low for the dry months in last couple of years, except for the months of the tropical storm and the hurricane. He noted that the last 2 months of rainfall, and the rain induced I & I is jumping up. Looking at the charted data gives a picture of where we are at and where we need to be in terms of upgrading the plant and getting it to where we have more capacity. Looking at the I & I based on what has been seen at the plant appears to be representative of what is going on at the island plant. This shows us the need. Assessments of both plants is currently being done. The planned upgrades to the Dunbar Creek Plant will increase the capacity. The Bond Issue will be critical to meet the needs of the system. Mr. Junkin also noted that the EPD is persistent on the I & I issues. The EPD is very conscious of putting utilities on notice to get the I & I issues down before expanding capacity in to the plants. Chairman Elliott added that he would like for this report to be a monthly review and to include the incoming BOD.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S UPDATE
Mr. Junkin updated the Commission that staff had met with the newly engaged financial consultant to look at some of the issues to come up with possibilities help us with the situation, monitoring our customer base, our usage, and our billing process. As we get the database and the financial rate model built, there will some further discussions with the Finance Committee to work on possible changes to the Operating Agreement to modify and better manage what’s going on. There are certain segments of our population right now that are getting a free ride on a lot of the O & M requirements that are needed to manage the system and keep it ready. This will be looked at, and also options to keep water rates affordable. As they are building the model, they will be looking at things that are already proven, options, and other utilities around the country. He added that fortunately we have a consultant in the water utility industry that has a lot of clients and experience and have seen a lot of these same issues. We will be able to get their advice on what we can do to improve what we are doing and better manage what we need for the future without having to raise rates as much or even at all. Mr. Junkin had another update on the neighborhood of Shadow Lake that had a problem with odors. There was a serious complaint from one of our customers in that neighborhood. We did respond to the issues. Staff checked it out and flushed the lines. This continued for about 3 weeks. Staff finally found that there were 5 critical valves in a particular stretch of the neighborhood that had been closed or significantly restricted at some point in the past. Staff researched and there has been no work done in that area in a long time. There were no records of any work in that area, and it is unknown as to how or when the valves were closed. Staff has continued to search for additional valves that may be closed, and have found about 140 valves that have been closed or partially closed. He noted that typically all the valves should remain open in order to get good looping of flow. The valves were not closed by any of the JWSC staff, and it is unknown as to who closed them. The best analysis is that the flows had been restricted to a point and it was old enough water that there was a complete loss of chlorine residual at the end of this particular street where we received the complaint. It was a culdesac type situation. Looking at the analysis done, Staff did note that there was on one occasion a positive for coliform, which is not a pathological bacteria. It is just an indicator that you are without chlorine residual. The coliform indicator also tells if there is e-coli, which is a pathogen. There was no e-coli found present. The water should not have been an issue for the public. At this time, all the valves have been opened, there is flow through, and the chlorine residual has been sustained since. This issue should now be resolved. Mr. Junkin again noted that it is unknown as to who closed off the valves, but that Staff is continuing to search for any issues. In addition, Staff is looking for some means of notifications for when there are these issues and try to give people in the neighborhoods a quicker and more reliable way to notify them of changes in the system condition or status, particularly in this case where there was a concern of possible cross contamination. There was a boil water alert placed. He continued that we are looking at some specific policy or program changes to make that less of a burden for our customers.
Chairman Elliott discussed with the Commission that it has been discussed as to where JWSC is going, and the assessment to the Master Plan as to where we are, and borrowing significant amounts of money to do that. He indicated that it was needed to look at what are we going to look like in 20 to 25 years when we rebuild the utilities, i.e. the whole water and sewer system. We need to know what we are building to and should know the technology that we are going to use in the future. JWSC needs newer technology in our plants to do what is needed. He noted that Academy Creek has very old technology, and while we cannot shut down Academy Creek to make changes, we need to figure out how to transform Academy Creek and make it a modern plant with modern technology to function. Chairman Elliott explained that his goal in the time period of 20 years is that the rate structure as it is today, and what the customer pay for on water & sewer service, should in terms of constant dollars be the same when we complete the rebuilding of the plant. During that time frame the cost may go up in terms of rates to pay for the debt, but when the debt is all repaid, there should not really be a change in what our rates are. In fact hopefully it would be lower because we will eliminate things, and these are the kind of things that he would like to see JWSC get the technology to eliminate. JWSC should be then doing planned maintenance and not reactive maintenance, which is key. He noted he would like to boil water alerts eliminated for unplanned outages; for planned outages the alerts are okay. Unplanned outages should go away. He would like to see all sewer spills and leakages in the environment eliminated. He sees this as a major goal of what JWSC should be doing. He would like to see ways of treating the effluent before it gets to the plant, as well as fully looped distribution lines. Chairman Elliott has asked Pam Crosby to research for a vendor who can present a class on incorporating anti-microbial capability into our water distribution lines. Then maybe we can eliminate putting chlorine in. Part of this demands for us to have construction standards that everybody adheres to in what we do. All private systems will have to comply with our standards, rather than being built in sub-standard ways. Chairman Elliott would like to see more electronic means of the customers paying their bills, rather than check processing. He also noted that JWSC needs to look at technologies that will help eliminate F.O.G. coming into our plants. Additionally we need to find ways to sell off the by-products of the waste water plants to offset the pressures of the rate structure. He would also like to see that our product quality or water quality meets or exceeds compliance with regulatory requirements and that it is consistent with customer and public health, and ecological and economic needs. Chairman Elliott is requesting workshop to be set for October 19, which is a regular Commission meeting day to discuss these items and come up with objectives to meet the needs he has discussed. He would like for the Staff to take these ideas and come up with some ideas prior to the workshop for discussion and setting objectives. He also noted that we need to look at the work skills that will be needed due to the updated technologies to ensure that there is a workforce to accommodate these things. Commissioner Harvey added agreement with the ideas and the long range outlook, and that a mid-range goals should be set as well. Regarding the workforce should understand new technologies and processes. JWSC should give employees upward mobility and have the employee development to shift with the times as technology moves forward. He also noted that our employees should be put on notice that JWSC is moving forward and that we want to bring our employees with us as we move this company into a new way of doing business. Mr. Junkin agreed with everything that was presented and noted that he believes that JWSC has good employees that have the ability to grow and improve their skill sets.
Commissioner Harvey made a motion seconded by Commissioner Copeland to adjourn into Executive Session to discuss litigation, property and personnel issues. Motion carried 6-0-1 (Commissioner Bowen was absent for the vote).
The Chairman stated that there will be a vote after the Executive Session.
Return to Regular Session.
Commissioner Copeland made a motion seconded by Commissioner Harvey to return to the Regular Meeting. Motion carried 6-0-1 (Commissioner Bowen was absent for the vote).
ITEM FOR VOTE
Thomas Boland presented that a parcel of land off Highway 17 behind Nick’s was declared as surplus and was appraised. It was bid on originally for lower than the appraised value. It was placed on a second bid. There was one bidder on the second bid, Nicky G. Lee for the amount of $53,251.51.
Commissioner Adams made a motion seconded by Commissioner Browning to move that the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water & Sewer Commission approve to award the sale of BGJWSC lot at 105 Nottingham Drive, Brunswick GA to Nicky G. lee in the amount of $53,251.51. Motion carried 6-0-1 (Commissioner Bowen was absent for the vote.
Commissioner Harvey made a motion seconded by Commissioner Adams to adjourn the Meeting. Motion carried 6-0-1 (Commissioner Bowen was absent for the vote).
There being no additional business to bring before the Commission, Chairman Elliott adjourned the open meeting at 4:35 pm.