Compliance & Legislative Committee Meeting Minutes February 15, 2017
For your consideration, please review the minutes from the Compliance & Legislative Committee Meeting on February 15, 2017:
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Joint Water and Sewer Commission
1703 Gloucester Street
Commission Meeting Room
Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 1:00 PM
COMPLIANCE & LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE MINUTES
Mike Browning, Committee Chairman
Don Elliott, Commissioner
Jimmy Junkin, Executive Director
Charles Dorminy, Legal Counsel
Cornell Harvey, Commissioner
Thomas Boland, Deputy Director
John Donaghy, Chief Financial Officer
Mark Ryals, Superintendent
Angela Walker, Pretreatment Compliance Coordinator
Chairman Browning called the meeting to order 1:05 PM
PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD
There being no citizens who wished to address the Committee, Chairman Browning closed the Public Comment Period.
No items for Adoption. No previous minutes.
- Operational Agreement – D. Elliott
Commissioner Elliott addressed the Operational Agreement, Section 11. Rates. Referencing sub-section (a) he discussed the rate structure and the indication that the JWSC is to operate in separate service districts, and use the funding from each district for infrastructure improvements specifically in the district the funding was collected from. Being limited to using the funding in this manner does inhibit the JWSC. The 4 districts as segregated are North Mainland, South Mainland, St. Simons Island, and Brunswick. He would like for the wording to be restructured which will require the approval of both the City and the County before the Operational Agreement can be changed. The revised wording is expected to be ready for the March Committee and Commission meetings. It would then be sent to the City and the County for approval.
Next, Commissioner Elliott discussed the Method of Collection as defined in sub-section (b) of the Operational Agreement. The cost components of the rate calculation currently include the administrative costs, debt service, operation and maintenance, and reserve funding based on long-term capital planning requirements. The base rate consists of components (1) and (2), and the consumption rate consists of components (3) and (4), with every customer paying a base rate each month regardless of usage, which goes toward administrative costs. Commissioner Elliott continued to express that the consumption rate needs to be looked at, as currently customers are charged based on usage of water and sewer. The water usage is metered and the sewer is based on the amount the water is metered at. There are only a few customers who have sewer only charges. He further discussed that the fixed portion and the consumption or usage portion of the rates need to be reviewed and considered in how these portions affect the rates. The next Rate Resolution will have a proposal for a system which will allow this consideration, but the wording in the Operational Agreement will need to be changed to allow rate restructuring. Our area has many homes which are “second” homes to those home-owners. They are customers who pay for water and sewer services, however when they are not living here and using the services, their bills are only covering administrative costs. JWSC still has to maintain the lines and the service full time to these homes in order for the occupants to use it when they are here. This coupled with the fact that some customers are conserving water usage gives the JWSC less revenue to maintain the system.
The discussion continued in addressing the 4 separate districts. A possible revision of the districts in combining the districts would allow more flexibility in usage of funding for infrastructure improvements where it is needed. From a financial operating standpoint this consolidation would be a sensible consideration and alternative to the original districts as set forth in the Operating Agreement.
- F.L.E.T.C. – J. Junkin
Mr. Junkin discussed the meeting between JWSC and FLETC from earlier and that there was still a desire on the parts of both parties to come to a formal agreement over how the assets on FLETC property are maintained and benefitted from. With the age of the assets located within that area, FLETC needs to have some system condition assessments done and reach out for possible federal funding to assist with improving the infrastructures in that system.
- Pre-Treatment Compliance Update – A. Walker
Angela Walker briefed the Committee on the Pre-treatment and Compliance general operations. The recent GA EPD audit of the Pretreatment Program went well. She also explained that her staff representatives attend the Friday Planning meetings. The staff has reviewed approximately 40 sets of construction plans for requirements and approval. Approximately 42 Certificates of Occupancy have been signed upon inspection of the businesses. This year, Angela has inspected 6 grease hauler trucks for proper operating condition and certification. Additionally her staff received 145 FOG Manifests from businesses and haulers requiring compliance verification, and entry of that information into the X2C Database. This department is involved with various meetings concerning construction, safety, industry employees and have also frequent contact with GA Environmental Health, City of Brunswick-Glynn County Code Enforcement Departments and the GA Agriculture Department. Since January 1st of this year, they have completed review and revisions of 5 industrial pretreatment permits that will be issued in April of 2017, have inspected 8 new grease trap installations, sent letters to customers who are behind with their grease pumping schedule and visited 30 of those customers to verify compliance, and have issued fees of $175.00 some customers for non-compliance after various attempts to encourage compliance.
- Theft of Services – J. Donaghy
John Donaghy reported that the Meter Department is currently in the process of preparing the annual water reports for EPD. Those reports attempt to assign a dollar value to the water that is used but not billed for due to either leaks in the system or “non-revenue” water. Non-revenue water is broken into several categories, some being JWSC’s self-use of water, and also water that is used but not paid for by anyone either by theft of services or by accounts that go vacant but still show usage on them. The meters are checked on the meters each month and if there is no current customer record on that meter, the department does go back and shut off the water to that meter, and attempt to back-bill the previous customer for that water usage. One problem is how to collect on those and charge for theft of services when someone has placed a jumper on the meter after it has been pulled. Bobby Scott and Olivia Cummings from the Meter Department further informed the committee as to findings and examples they have discovered in the field. Some occupants have cut off locks that have been placed on the water meters in order to gain use of the water. If usage is determined, follow-ups are performed to determine if and how the service has been turned back on. If on, they are again locked down and service photos are taken of the locked service with read, property, and any possible ways to identify the residents of the property. They continue to follow up on the accounts if the lock is removed, the service on the account is terminated and the meter is pulled. The next procedure involves checking for illegal connections of service. If one is found, it is removed, documented photos are taken, and the jumper is kept for evidence of the illegal connection of service. The police are called when necessary to file a report. The resident of the home can be arrested for illegal theft of utility services. Currently this department is monitoring over 50 vacant accounts. 25 are in lock down status, 10 are in pulled status (used after locked), police have taken action in 3 incidents resulting in 1 arrest, and 1 account has been cut off at the main. Bobby and Olivia also presented a report of monthly totals for vacant accounts with unauthorized usage for the months from August 2016 through January 2017, with a 6 month total of unauthorized usage of 16,741 units (based on 1,000 gallons per unit.) If the fines are over $500.00 (based on the unauthorized usage that was tracked, cost of locks, etc.), then the case is considered a felony. Under $500.00 is considered a misdemeanor. In the city, the resident can be arrested on the spot. In the county, a warrant is required. The Meter Department is continually working on documenting and keeping up with evidence that may be required in cases of theft of services.
No update at this time.
There being no other business to bring before the Committee, the Chairman adjourned the meeting at 1:55 pm.