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Commission Meeting Minutes Thursday, December 5, 2019

For your consideration, please read the minutes from the Commission Meeting held on Thursday, December 5, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. in the Commission Meeting Room.

Commission Meeting Minutes 12-5-19 with Attachments

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

Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission

1703 Gloucester Street, Brunswick, GA 31520

Thursday, December 5, 2019 at 2:00 PM 

COMMISSION MINUTES 

PRESENT:                             

G. Ben Turnipseed, Chairman

Donald Elliott, Commissioner

Tripp Stephens, Commissioner

Wayne Neal, Commissioner

Cornell L. Harvey, Commissioner                            

Bob Duncan, Commissioner 

ALSO PRESENT:                 

Andrew Burroughs, Executive Director

Charles Dorminy, Legal Counsel HBS

Todd Kline, Director of Engineering

Pam Crosby, Director of Procurement

John Donaghy, Director of Finance

Jay Sellers, Director of Administration

Janice Meridith, Exec. Commission Administrator 

ABSENT:                               

Steve Copeland, Vice-Chairman 

MEDIA PRESENT:               

Matthew Permar, The Islander                                

 Chairman Turnipseed called the meeting to order at 2:00 PM.

Commissioner Neal provided the invocation and Commissioner Elliott led the Pledge of Allegiance. 

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD

Chairman Turnipseed opened the public comment period.

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

COMMITTEE UPDATES

Facilities Committee

Chairman Turnipseed advised that the Facilities Committee has not met since the last meeting in November.  The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 at 3:00 p.m.

Finance Committee

Chairman Turnipseed advised that the Finance Committee has not met since their last meeting in November.  The net meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 at 1:00 p.m.

Human Resources

Commissioner Elliott provided that the Human Resources Committee had met earlier that same morning to review potential course of actions to be taken involving the health care plans for 2020.  He commented that the good health of our employee is paramount to the operations of this organization.  Health care is the second largest expense in our operating budget.  Commissioner Elliott added that key to improving employees’ health is a good wellness program with maximum employee participation.  Staff will be looking at ways to encourage employee participation and improve the health of the organization.  He provided that we currently have 3 health plans; one has a $1,500 deductible, the next has a $3,500 deductible and the third is a Health Savings Account Plan.  The Commission is looking at ways to strengthen the Health Savings Account Plan and perhaps encourage employees to select that option as a lower cost option.  Commissioner Elliott advised that the Commission will really not know what will be done until United Health Care, the current provider, provides us with renewal options which are expected in late December.  At that time the Commission will be able to dig into the details for what to do in 2020.  The next Human Resources Committee meeting will be a combined meeting with the Finance Committee on December 18, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. 

APPROVAL

  1. Minutes from the November 21, 2019 Regular Commission Meeting

Commissioner Harvey made a motion seconded by Commissioner Elliott to approve the minutes from the November 21, 2019 Regular Commission Meeting.  Motion carried 6-0-1. (Commissioner Copeland was absent from the meeting.)  

  1. Minutes from the November 21, 2019 Executive Session

Commissioner Duncan made a motion seconded by Commissioner Neal to approve the minutes from the November 21, 2019 Executive Session.  Motion carried 6-0-1. (Commissioner Copeland was absent from the meeting.) 

  1. 2020 Commission Calendar – A. Burroughs

Commissioner Neal provided that Glynn County does not have a Commission meeting on January 2, 2020, therefore a Glynn County Commissioner would not be appointed to JWSC’s Commission on that date.  January 2nd would normally be the first JWSC Commission meeting and swearing in of the new Commissioners, however it was decided not to hold a JWSC Commission meeting until the County has appointed its representative to JWSC.   

Commissioner Neal made a motion seconded by Commissioner Duncan to cancel the January 2nd, 2020 Commission meeting.

Commissioner Neal made a motion seconded by Commissioner Duncan to amend the motion and move to cancel the January 2nd, 2020 Commission meeting and resume the regular scheduled Commission meetings on January 16th, 2020

Chairman Turnipseed reiterated that the motion was to eliminate the January 2nd meeting and proceed with the calendar like it is starting on the 15th with committee meetings, and the 16th will be a full Commission meeting.

Motion carried 6-0-1.  (Commissioner Copeland was absent for the meeting.) 

  1. Proposed SPLOST 2020 Project List – A. Burroughs

Mr. Burroughs advised that at the most recent Facilities Committee meeting on November 20th an updated SPLOST list of priority projects was presented, and explained that there were four scenarios based on possible funding provided by the county.  The same projects are listed on each scenario, however the funding levels change based on the possible total funding levels provided.  Mr. Burroughs advised that the Cured In Place Piping planned for gravity sewers throughout the county that are in need would be done by the specific critical lines rather than entire basins; the same for transite water line replacements with the most critical being replaced rather than doing all the lines in full neighborhoods; installing permanent back-up pumping capabilities at the priority 1 and 2 lift stations that will allow us to have emergency response flexibility, but also during normal operating conditions we can bypass the station and do work on the station; and the fourth project would be to provide water and sewer to unserved areas that may have failing septic tanks or wells.  Mr. Burroughs provided that the request today was to approve submission of this list to the County Commission for consideration.

Commissioner Duncan made a motion seconded by Commissioner Neal to move that the attached Proposed Project List be submitted to Glynn County for consideration on the upcoming 2020 SPLOST list.

Commissioner Harvey asked Commissioner Neal if the county was okay with receiving something of this magnitude for them to decide or for us to decide.  Commissioner Neal responded that from his understanding the county will allocate, depending on if they move on with the five year SPLOST recommendation, they will have a breakdown then of funding for the City of Brunswick and then JWSC.

Commissioner Harvey clarified that his question was about the different scenarios such as the $32M.  Commissioner Neal commented that the county would not approve $32M, but his understanding was that it would be somewhere around the midpoint of that.

Commissioner Duncan then asked if while JWSC is providing the details such as listing locations for work to be performed, what happens if those targets change or are no longer targets.  Charlie Dorminy responded that it will depend on what is passed by the county.  Commissioner Duncan said, so we get some amount and we have itemized our list of priorities so no matter what the funding level is we have determined that we can fund these activities and they are scalable, but even with it being scalable he wants to avoid the possibility that on item 4, for example, none of these targets are viable at the time we are ready to execute.  Because we have named specific target areas and none of those become viable, there’s not enough customers that want service, so then we would move on to another potential target.  Commissioner Duncan continued by asking what would be the limitation for JWSC for that amount of funding.  Mr. Dorminy responded that the county is not going to itemize these in their referendum, it depends on the wording in the referendum.  Typically it would just say water and sewer improvements to unserved areas and leave that up to JWSC. Commissioner Duncan noted that was the clarification that he was looking for, and Commissioner Neal agreed.  Commissioner Duncan added that it gives us the flexibility so that we can execute a plan, and today if we were picking the targets they may be different targets in two years from now, we would want to have the flexibility to provide, for example item #4, into a given area scaled to the funding level.

Chairman Turnipseed commented that all of the other projects noted were rather self-explanatory and could be scaled back.  He then suggested that on item #4, the motion should be revised to say water and sewer to unserved areas and not outline the potential areas.

Commissioner Duncan said that he would revise the motion that the list we provide to the county include the project names but not the specific description.  We might further offer the forecasted budget as it is to be scaled depending on funding.

Mr. Dorminy provided that what is sent to the county won’t matter in that regard.  It only matters what the county puts on the referendum.  The county likely would not itemize these on the referendum, as they have not done this in the past.

Commissioner Harvey commented that he thinks what we have here is good.  I think we are trying to make sure that we don’t box ourselves in to something specific and then we can’t deliver.  He added that he believes what the county is going to do is just put “water and sewer to unserved areas.”  As is, this may help our cause to get more money by including what the descriptions are, however on the referendum it would just be water and sewer to unserved areas.  Mr. Dorminy agreed, and added that if just a basic project name was provided such as water and sewer to unserved areas, the county may not understand exactly how much funding is going to be needed.

Commissioner Neal then asked Mr. Dorminy if as the language of the referendum is being developed, you would have input with the county attorney as far as how that referendum would read.  Mr. Dorminy said that he had not in the past, but we can request that.  Commissioner Harvey commented that we would want to request that.  Commissioner Neal commented that we would certainly want to know how it’s going read as far as what it is going to do to affect JWSC.

Commissioner Duncan then mentioned that his point was whatever funding the utility received, he wants it to be able to execute and scale it according to the funding.  He added, but if something changes beyond our reasonable ability to plan I wouldn’t want it to be eliminated because of the description issue.  He noted that in his view the description is provided for a staffing function is, but as a utility requesting funding from the governing agency, what we are asking what the specifics they need in his view are the project names.

Chairman Turnipseed stated that leaving the budget numbers on the list is fine, because we know that we can spend more than each budgeted item.  Mr. Burroughs then asked the Chairman for clarification, just strike the third column.  The Chairman said yes leave the numbers and the project name, just strike the description.  Commissioner Stephens commented that he believed the county needs that description, you want them to do it.  Commissioner Neal said, again, the county probably wants some explanation of what these projects are, and I would want to make sure that the final language that goes out on the referendum gives us the latitude that we need to be most effective.  Commissioner Stephens added that this is not a request that would be copied and pasted on the referendum.  Commissioner Harvey commented that this is our proposal.

Commissioner Stephens commented that he questioned as the total amounts went down, the amounts for each priority went down too.  It seemed that priority one would have as much of the funding spent on it, and then work down the list by priority, rather than break it up and spread the funding across all four priorities based on how much total funding is received.  Commissioner Duncan stated that the reason this was done in a scalable format for each category is so that we can demonstrate that each of these are very important priorities.  The number one item doesn’t have a greater priority than some of the lower ones, that’s why we would make it scalable.  He added, in reality if we don’t receive, for example, item number one $8M, we would scale that down accordingly, but the target areas that we choose may not wind up exactly that scaled number.  It would be close based on our initial development of the list.  In my view, we wouldn’t want to say we are going to fund number one at $8M but if we only get $10M, then items three and four get no funding.  Commissioner Duncan noted, he doesn’t think that’s where we are with the priorities, and that each of the priorities are important for our system, particularly in the expansion area that we would want to do some amount of expansion during this next period of time that the SPLOST funding is available. Commissioner Neal agreed that based on the amount of funding received, part of that funding should be spent on each of all four of those priority areas.  Due to the nomenclature of the “priority numbers” possibly being misleading, it was decided this should be revised to “project numbers.”

Commissioner Duncan commented that the motion as presented is applicable, and Mr. Burroughs would just adjust the name of the one column.

Motion carried 6-0-1.  (Commissioner Copeland was absent from the meeting.)

Commission Calendar cont.

Commissioner Stephens asked to clarify if the Commission Calendar had been completely approved, or if it was only approved to cancel the one meeting in January.  Commissioner Harvey noted it was not fully accepted.  Ms. Meridith recalled that the motion was to cancel the January 2nd meeting and proceed with the calendar as is.  Mr. Burroughs noted that the Commission meetings are to be to the first and third Thursday’s of the month unless there is a specific vote to cancel on of them, so by cancelling the first meeting the other meetings are already set unless there is a new motion to cancel those.  Commissioner Stephens asked Mr. Burroughs if he was happy with it, and Mr. Burroughs said he was.  

DISCUSSION

  1. Discussion of Terry Creek Consent Decree – A. Burroughs

Mr. Burroughs provided the background of JWSC’s involvement with the Terry Creek Consent Decree.  He noted that in the last week, a federal judge had approved the consent between Hercules and the EPA, as far as clean-up of Terry Creek.   JWSC had some preliminary discussions a few years prior concerning treating some of the water from that area.  Mr. Burroughs purpose today was to give some of the background of what JWSC had done to ensure that the Commissioners had no concerns with JWSC’s history with the decree.  JWSC has had no discussions with Pinova concerning the actual remediation of the outfall site.  The discussions over the years have been with groundwater remediation, for them to pump groundwater out and send to JWSC at the wastewater plant.  JWSC did agree to accept the flow at first and then once the Consent Order hit, JWSC backed off of that approval.  The EPA decided to Pinova to put in carbon filters to clean the material that was being sent to JWSC, because that material was not something that could be biologically treated.  Hercules did not want to install 3 carbon filters to do the job.  JWSC required them that if they could not put in the carbon filters, then they could install three Frat tanks that would settle out and could be tested before being released to JWSC.  Pinova did not want to install the Frat tanks, but did have some smaller tanks on site, and the concentrations never got to the point where JWSC could actually accept the groundwater flow from them.  Now that Terry Creek has the Consent Decree, JWSC is completely out of the issue.

Commissioner Harvey asked what is meant by we are out of it.  Mr. Burroughs confirmed that it meant JWSC is not taking any of the water from them.  Commissioner Harvey then asked what is Pinova going to do with it.  Mr. Burroughs responded that his understanding is that they are treating it on their own site and discharging it through their outfall.  He added that if they sent some of that water to JWSC, the bacteria in our wastewater plants would not respond well to that.

Commissioner Harvey provided that Pinova/Hercules has been very difficult to deal with the county and city’s attempts to mediate with them.  He added that the city did not agree with the decree and one reason was that Hercules has not tried to be a good neighbor and try to clean up the mess that has happened over the years.  Commissioner Harvey commented that the city would not be happy with what was just heard from Mr. Burroughs as we move forward.  He said he will voice his opinion to the EPA and EPD to let them know exactly that we are not happy with it even though we have to go along with it.  He said we have disagreed with the decree totally from the beginning, and they were told if they don’t accept this, it is going to be tied up in court for years and that it would be more expensive and Pinova was looking for a cheap way out of this.  Commissioner Harvey commented that it seemed like what this community is getting.

Commissioner Elliott stated that JWSC permits Hercules/Pinova to send us flows and there is a permit.  Mr. Burroughs clarified this is from their process flows.  Commissioner Elliott provided that he was involved in the initial discussions on this and he believes that JWSC should send Pinova a letter, and a letter to EPD and the DNR that would tell Pinova that JWSC is going to do more frequent testing of the influent from them to ensure that they do not send anything to JWSC that is not wanted.  Mr. Burroughs recalled for the Commissioners that the permit allows for JWSC to take as many samples on the flows from Pinova as is desired.  Commissioner Elliott said he wants Pinova to be told up front that they are being put on notice and we are watching them.  Commissioner Duncan asked what the testing protocols are.  Mr. Burroughs replied that Pinova sends samples to JWSC twice per month and then JWSC will take their own samples twice per month and more if necessary.

Commissioner Elliott made a motion seconded by Commissioner Harvey to add the Terry Creek Consent Decree letter to the approval agenda.

Commissioner Stephens requested a better understanding of what the motion is.  Chairman Turnipseed said that Commissioner Elliott would like to see the Commission send a letter to the EPD and to Pinova regarding the increased testing to verify that Pinova is not sending JWSC their waste that has not been properly pre-treated.  The possibility exists that they are not properly treating.  Mr. Burroughs confirmed that the plant would catch it if they were sending non-treated water to the plant.  Chairman Turnipseed asked Mr. Burroughs how he felt about this motion.  Mr. Burroughs responded that he could send a letter without the motion, or they can take a motion and formalize it.  Commissioner Duncan commented that he thinks the issue is not additional sampling, the issue is placing the facility on notice and then the regulatory agencies that have oversight to copy them that our monitoring is going to be elevated, I think that’s what we want to accomplish.  It was agreed that a letter is to be sent to Pinova and the regulatory agency to give them notice.  Commissioner Elliott recommended to Mr. Burroughs that he include in the letter a brief summarization of the history and explain to them the result of what happens if they inadvertently or on purpose send us untreated influent from what they are doing and explain to them what that will cause so that they are all put on notice that if they do so this will put the city and county in a position with no sewer service.

Commissioner Elliott made a motion seconded by Commissioner Neal to withdraw the original motion.  Motion carried 6-0-1.  (Commissioner Copeland was absent for the meeting.)

  1. Procedure for Replacement of Commissioner – C. Dorminy

Mr. Dorminy advised he had spoken with Mark Spaulding regarding the procedure for replacement of the resigning Commissioner.  The Grand Jury process will be initiated on the next day. The Grand Jury currently serving now will be changing March 15th which will be after the appointment.  Applications would be due beginning to middle February and selected by mid-March.  The law states that the resigning Commissioner is to remain a Commissioner until the time that a replacement is appointed.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S UPDATE

GRWA Asset Management Training Course will be held during the next week at JWSC for local attendees, other utilities, as well as 10 JWSC staff. The bids on Ridgewood were pushed back to the tenth. Meter RFP, Roof Repair Bid, and the Magnolia Park Bid all out and due in January.  The requested ordinance revisions will hopefully be approved on the 18th. Upcoming Annual Grits and Issues at Epworth, advise if would like to attend.  The Christmas luncheon for JWSC staff was held on the previous day.   The 3 dessert contest winners were Tiffany Tiner 1st Place, Christa Free 2nd Place and Janice Meridith 3rd Place.  Mr. Burroughs also noted that the leftovers were donated to the Well for their meal on yesterday. 

CHAIRMAN’S UPDATE

The Chairman commended the staff on the luncheon.  Commissioner Copeland has served JWSC very well during the past 3 years.  He is resigning due to personal and job issues.  A replacement will be named as soon as possible.

EXECUTIVE SESSION

There was no business for an Executive Session.

Commissioner Elliott made a motion seconded by Commissioner Harvey to adjourn the meeting.  Motion carried 6-0-1.  (Commissioner Copeland was absent from the meeting.)

There being no additional business to bring before the Commission, Chairman Turnipseed adjourned the meeting at 2:40 p.m.

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Brunswick - Glynn Joint Water & Sewer Commission - 1703 Gloucester Street Brunswick, GA 31520 - 912-261-7100