Commission Meeting Minutes – Thursday, July 16, 2020

For your consideration, please read the minutes from the Commission Meeting held on Thursday, July 16, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. in the Commission Meeting Room.

Commission Meeting Minutes 7-16-20 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, July 16, 2020 at 2:00 PM 

COMMISSION MINUTES

PRESENT:                             

G. Ben Turnipseed, Chairman

Bob Duncan, Vice-Chairman

Donald Elliott, Commissioner

Charles Cook, Commissioner (via Microsoft Teams)

Wayne Neal, Commissioner

Cornell L. Harvey, Commissioner

Tripp Stephens, Commissioner (via Microsoft Teams)                      

ALSO PRESENT:                  

Andrew Burroughs, Executive Director (via Microsoft Teams)

LaDonnah Roberts, Deputy Exec. Director

Todd Kline, Director of Engineering

Jay Sellers, Director of Administration

Pam Crosby, Director of Procurement

Frances Wilson, Senior Accountant

Charlie Dorminy, Legal Counsel

Janice Meridith, Exec. Commission Administrator

MEDIA PRESENT:               

Taylor Cooper, The Brunswick News

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

Chairman Turnipseed 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. 

SPECIAL RECOGNITION – C. Harvey / T. Kline / M. Fields

            Willie Walker, Planning & Construction – Water Laboratory Analyst Certification

Commissioner Harvey congratulated Willie Walker for being a part of the JWSC staff, and also advised that his best was always expected from him as a part of the organization.  Commissioner Harvey then read the statement on the certificate as presented to Mr. Walker.  Todd Kline, Director of Engineering and Mike Fields, Direct Supervisor joined Commissioner Harvey in congratulating Mr. Walker on his accomplishment.  

COMMITTEE UPDATES

Facilities Committee Meeting Update – Chairman Turnipseed

Chairman Turnipseed reported that the Facilities Committee had met on the previous day and approved the recommendation of award of the Arco Engineering Project to Thomas & Hutton Engineering; the recommendation of Advanced Metering Infrastructure and Meter Data Management System Contract Award, including the Pilot Project Phase, to Delta Municipal Supply Company; and, recommendation of acceptance of the Couper Place Infrastructure and conveyance of water easement for the same.  The potential contract change/modification to the Magnolia Water System Improvements MOU where JWSC is replacing the water lines in a joint venture with the City of Brunswick who is doing the storm drains and the roadways was discussed.  The wastewater flow reports were reviewed and it was noted that the Academy Creek Plant is operating at 56% of its capacity, Dunbar Creek is at 74%, and Southport is at 28% of its capacity with all three plants being well within permit.  The Project Report was presented by Mr. Kline for the committee to review.  Chairman Turnipseed also provided that the Master Plan Update is well underway in the information gathering stage, and staff had met with Four Waters Engineering who is performing the update.

Finance Committee Meeting Update – Commissioner Duncan

Commissioner Duncan reported that the Finance Committee had also met on the previous day.  He noted that the Committee approved the recommendation of declaring some equipment as surplus and placing it for sale, and they also recommended the approval of the Pension Plan IRS Addendum by the full Commission.   The discussion included Materials Management System related to the Harrington Warehouse inventory, and also the financial statements for month ending June 30, 2020.  Committee Chairman Duncan provided the following highlights from the financial statement: JWSC was 1% under in Operating Revenues; 3% under in Operating Expenses; the assets for year ending June 30th increased by about $8M; debt decreased by approximately $2.4M; and, the big item was that JWSC’s commitment would be met and there would be no rate increase for the next fiscal year.

APPROVAL

  1. Minutes from the June 18, 2020 Regular Commission Meeting

Commissioner Elliott made a motion seconded by Commissioner Duncan to approve the minutes from the June 18, 2020 Regular Commission Meeting.  Motion carried 7-0-0.

  1. Arco Engineering Services Award – T. Kline

Chairman Turnipseed commented that this award was recommended by the Facilities Committee to be submitted to the full Commission for approval.  He noted that the memo outline included the 8 Tasks that were to be completed in these services; and also provided that the Engineering Services portion of the Proposal was $270K for the Project and was within the engineering budget of $300K.

Commissioner Elliott made a motion seconded by Commissioner Duncan to move that the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission approve the contract award for Engineering Services for the Arco Area Water & Sewer Extension to Thomas & Hutton Engineering, Co. in the amount of $388,340.00.

The Chairman stated that this contract was for the engineering work for both the water lines and sewer lines in the Arco Area, and once this portion is done the expected construction costs would be known.  JWSC has applied for some grant assistance on this Project.  The Chairman added that this is a needed Project and the lots are small; they all have a problem with their septic tanks; and, some of the lots do not have water system lines to them.  Commissioner Neal inquired about huge disparities between the 3 evaluators’ scoring of the proposals, how much emphasis was put on it, and if the personalities of the evaluators weigh in with the scoring of the companies.  Mrs. Roberts explained that staff always attempts to find a cross-section of evaluators within the organization, and they do have their different views on scoring.  Some are more stringent than others, but it has been found that their stringency is consistent from conversations had and staff feels that these are good scores.  Commissioner Neal commented that the bottom line of what he was asking about was unbiased fair scoring of the firms; and the reason for asking was the differences in scoring that stood out to him.  Commissioner Elliott commented that he had reviewed this the prior day and those same thoughts came to him.

Motion carried 6-0-1.  (Commissioner Stephens abstained due to sound issues and system issues.)

  1. Advanced Metering Infrastructure & Meter Data Management System Contract – L. Roberts

Commissioner Duncan made a motion seconded by Commissioner Elliott to move that the Brunswick Glynn County Joint Water & Sewer approve the contract for Advanced Metering Infrastructure and Meter Data Management System to be awarded to Delta Municipal Supply Company in the amount of $14,105,363.20.

Chairman Turnipseed commented that we approved for the Executive Director to enter into negotiations with Delta at the March meeting, and in the contract there are outs.  He requested Mrs. Roberts to explain those outs that we have on it since this is a big contract.  Mrs. Roberts then referred the Commissioners to Exhibits A and B.  In Exhibit A, the language was fairly straightforward and included the scope of work of which were listed in the RFP.  Exhibit B contains the clauses which the Chairman had referenced: Delta agrees to hold the pricing firm for 48 months beyond the Pilot Project; the Commission reserves the right to cease the Pilot Project if JWSC believes it is not a successful Project in the Commission’s sole discretion; if work in any phase is completed in advance of its published schedule both Parties can agree to proceed to the next phase without altering other provisions of the Agreement; and the Schedule of pricing for “Not To Exceed” Labor and Materials is included in Exhibit B because each of the years has a lump sum portion and a not to exceed portion.  For the NTE portion to be spent staff wanted to ensure that there was an agreed to schedule of pricing for both the labor and the materials for those values.  Chairman Turnipseed then asked Mrs. Roberts to explain how the Pilot Project is being paid for.  She noted that those will be coming out of JWSC’s Reserves since we are planning to apply for GEFA Loans, and since there is a limitation for the amount of time on that GEFA Loan JWSC will actually put in 2 separate applications each of which will cover only 2 years.  The Pilot Project will be paid for from JWSC Reserves and years 2, 3, 4 and 5 will be paid for from the GEFA Loans which JWSC is also eligible for Conservation Rates and also the possibility for “Forgiveness” on each of those loans.

Motion carried 6-0-1.  (Commissioner Stephens abstained due to sound issues and system issues.)

  1. Infrastructure Dedication – T. Kline

Chairman Turnipseed stated that this dedication is for the Couper Place Subdivision containing 7 lots receiving both water and sewer services.  The infrastructure has met all of the conditions for JWSC’s acceptance.

Commissioner Duncan made a motion seconded by Commissioner Elliott to move that the Brunswick Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission approve the documents supporting the acceptance of infrastructure and conveyance of water easement for Couper Place as public for ownership, operation and maintenance.

Chairman Turnipseed commented that this was inspected by JWSC staff as it was being constructed and does meet JWSC standards.

Motion carried 6-0-1.  (Commissioner Stephens abstained due to sound issues and system issues.)

  1. JWSC Pension Addendum – IRS Approval – L. Roberts

Mrs. Roberts advised that this item was presented at the Finance Committee Meeting on the previous day and was referred to the full Commission for approval.  She gave a brief background and provided that as a condition of having a Defined Benefit Plan, we have to periodically apply to the Internal Revenue Service for what is called a Favorable Determination Letter.  The reason that a Favorable Determination Letter is important is because that allows JWSC to deduct contributions made to the Plan as well as the Plan participants to not only defer income taxes on the amounts they contribute but also to allow those contributions to continue to grow tax deferred until they are distributed from the Plan.  In order to make these filings to the IRS the JWSC does need to submit various forms.  Mrs. Roberts stated that staff is asking that the Commission authorize the Commission Chairman to execute those necessary forms for this filing.

Commissioner Elliott made a motion seconded by Commissioner Harvey to move that the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission Chairman be authorized to sign the forms required to facilitate the Internal Revenue Service review necessary to issue a Favorable Determination Letter from the IRS related to the JWSC Defined Benefit Retirement Plan.  Motion carried 7-0-0.

  1. Surplus Equipment / Inventory – L. Roberts

Chairman Turnipseed referred the Commissioners to a list of 10 vehicles and trailers that are no longer being used by JWSC and staff is requesting that they be considered salvage and put on GovDeals for sale.  The JWSC is no longer able to use these vehicles and equipment.

Commissioner Harvey made a motion seconded by Commissioner Neal to move that the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission approve the above listed items as surplus to be disposed of in a manner most beneficial to the JWSC.  Motion carried 7-0-0.

DISCUSSION

  1. Scope of FY2019-2020 Audit – Trey Scott, Mauldin & Jenkins, CPA

Mr. Trey Scott from Mauldin & Jenkins, CPA and who is a partner in the Savannah Office.  He provided that Mauldin & Jenkins audits approximately 500 governmental entities throughout the southeast.  The company was founded about 100 years ago.  Their company has held the current and previous contract for performing JWSC’s annual financial audit.   Mr. Scott commented that he was present at this meeting to discuss the scope of the audit which will be the same as last year’s audit, and also to answer any questions that the Commissioners may have.  The auditors will review all of the financial information, provide opinions on that financial information noting that they are comfortable with it and that it is presented in the manner it should be in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and government auditing and accounting standards.  If their auditors find anything that needs correction it will be recommended that the JWSC to make those fixes and will provide their opinions on that information.  Mr. Scott commented that as for the timeline, the preliminary work has already begun.  The auditors will either be on site to do the bulk of the work (or work remotely) toward the end of August 2020, and will present their report to the Commission in October.  Commissioner Elliott commented that last year a Management Letter was issued to JWSC with the audit report, and that he would like the Management Letter for this year to indicate whether JWSC has met all of the recommendations that were made in last year’s letter.  Mr. Scott agreed that they would be certain to do that.  The audit report will be available for the Commission to review prior to final presentation.

DEPUTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S UPDATE

Mrs. Roberts reported that starting July 1st, the new rates went into effect, and JWSC was able to not increase any of the water and sewer rates, for a second consecutive year.  The sewer flat rate basis was decreased from 7,000 gallons to 4,200 gallons, providing a savings of about $22 per account for those customers.   She added that Planning & Construction reduced and where possible eliminated the costs of some of their services that are offered to the community due to increased efficiencies within that division.  One of the goals that was given by the Commission to the staff was to implement a Self-Funded Health Insurance Plan which is still on track to begin August 1st.  New cards are already being received.  This change in the Plan will allow JWSC more control over the health insurance costs without affecting the level of coverage that is being provided to the employees.  Mrs. Roberts commented that the employee Pension Plan came into effect and starting July 1st any new employees that join our staff will share in the contribution to that Plan, which will allow JWSC to reduce the unfunded liability currently held on the books more quickly and without expending extra JWSC dollars to do so.  She then provided some highlights from Procurement: the Academy Creek Rehabilitation Pre-qualifications are due on the 21st and the site visit is set for August 6th with the bids due on September 2nd; the Community Road Area Engineering Project Proposals are due on the 28th of July for that with an evaluation and award in August; the Pump Station 4021 Rebid will be advertised next week with bids due on August 25th and an award in September; and, the FEMA Transfer Switch Project is expected to advertise by the first week in August with bids due in early September and the award in the September – October timeframe.  Mrs. Roberts also noted that it is hurricane season, and that Mr. Sellers and she participated in a community emergency preparedness exercise which was led by the Glynn County EMA and culminated in a 3 hour table-top drill that morning.  She added that we want the community to know that JWSC is working hard to uphold our commitment to the community to be a resource in those times of emergency.  JWSC also has the opportunity with another community partner, the 811 Service that provides the utility locates, to try to educate the customers on the importance of knowing what is actually buried underground.  In August they are promoting “Safe Digging Month” with one of the activities in conjunction with that being a virtual 5K Run and Walk.  Mrs. Roberts recalled for the Commission that wellness checks for the employees through the Southeast Georgia Health System, but they have had their hands full with other matters now.  JWSC has looked for some other opportunities for wellness incentives for our employees and the Georgia 811 Virtual 5K offers us that opportunity and we are looking forward to that with our community partner.  The Georgia Rural Water Association annual conference has been postponed until October on Jekyll Island, and this week several of our employees participated in the conference class offerings with the Georgia Association of Water Professionals; in response to the pandemic restrictions the classes were held online.  Mrs. Roberts noted a reminder to the customers of JWSC’s online offerings; they are now able to start service online, stop service, transfer service, and can request payment arrangements if they have been impacted by the pandemic.  She then took a moment to commend the team who has shown an outstanding commitment to the community during this pandemic, they have worked tirelessly even with some staffing changes, they have maintained a high level of service, have exhibited tremendous flexibility in many different cases, and have shown a willingness to plug in wherever they needed to be to get the mission accomplished.  She commented that staff should be commended for that.  Mrs. Roberts commented that she wanted to offer her congratulations to Mr. Burroughs and his family.

CHAIRMAN’S UPDATE

The Chairman stated that he would like to thank the administrative staff.  He also reminded everyone that the City of Brunswick is planning to mask it mandatory to wear masks.  He advised that everyone should wear their masks at all times possible in the City of Brunswick, and should consider wearing them no matter where you are.  Every staff member has been given a mask and should wear them and practicing social distancing.  Chairman Turnipseed noted that for any of the Commissioners who do not feel comfortable coming to the meetings at this time can attend remotely, and again practice social distancing.  He commented that the staff is doing a great job in this area and wanted to commend them for that.

EXECUTIVE SESSION – There was no Executive Session

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