Facilities Committee Minutes – Wednesday, May 20, 2020

For your consideration, please read the minutes from the Facilities Committee Meeting held on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. in the Commission Meeting Room.

Facilities Committee Minutes 5-20-20 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 & Sewer Commission

1703 Gloucester Street, Brunswick, GA 31520

Commission Meeting Room

Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at 1:00 PM 

FACILITIES COMMITTEE MINUTES

PRESENT:                             

Ben Turnipseed, Chairman

Bob Duncan, Commissioner

Charles Cook, Commissioner

Andrew Burroughs, Executive Director                        

ALSO PRESENT:                  

Donald Elliott, Commissioner

Cornell Harvey, Commissioner

Charlie Dorminy, Legal Counsel, H.B.S.

Todd Kline, Director of Engineering

LaDonnah Roberts, Deputy Director

Janice Meridith, Exec. Commission Administrator

MEDIA PRESENT:               

Pamela Permar-Shierling, The Islander                                           

Chairman Turnipseed called the meeting to order at 1:00 PM.

Chairman Turnipseed provided the invocation.

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD

There being no citizens that wished to address the Committee, Chairman Turnipseed closed the Public Comment Period.

APPROVAL

  1. Minutes from Facilities Committee Meeting April 15, 2020

Commissioner Cook made a motion seconded by Commissioner Duncan to approve the minutes from the Facilities Committee Meeting held on April 15, 2020.  Motion carried 3-0-0.

  1. Contract Award – Engineering Services for Water & Sewer Master Plan Update – A. Burroughs

Mr. Burroughs advised that the RFP was released in early April 2020, for which 5 proposals were received from consulting firms to update the Master Plan.  He noted that the most recent update was done in 2016 and included the rehab and expansion plans of which the majority of those projects planned for the past 5 years have been completed.  It was determined that the Master Plan should be revised due to changes and new population projections.  There were 8 tasks/deliverables outlined in the RFP.  Mr. Burroughs provided that the highest scoring firm was Four Waters Engineering, which had also done the last Master Plan, and already have much of the needed information ready for the update.  Four Waters will be prepared to begin this work in early June, and will have a presentation ready by the end of this year to present the outcomes to the Commission.  Mr. Burroughs provided that out of the 8 tasks there were 2 that have not been done in the past which are Task 6, Cash Flow Needs Forecast, and Task 8, Delivery of Master Plan and Project Database. For Task 6, Four Waters will calculate the plans year by year and provide a cash flow needs for capital purposes for the projects.  For Task 8, the project database will be a database delivered with every project in the Master Plan including unit costs and flow projections that will be adjustable by staff so that the Plan can be updated as real conditions occur.  The original budget for this Project was $125,000, however the lowest cost proposal received was almost double that.  The 5 person scoring team of staff recommended awarding the contract to Four Waters Engineering who scored the highest.  If the award was to be for the full amount, staff requests that the budget be adjusted to the $247,500 as presented, and to pull those funds out of the uncommitted R&R balance.  Mr. Burroughs further noted that interviews were held with all 5 of the proposing firms, and every member of the scoring team was allowed to ask questions for clarifications.  Every member of the scoring team was comfortable with moving forward with Four Waters Engineering.

Commissioner Cook asked if on Task 8, the Delivery of the Master Plan and Project Database, did the previous Master Plan come with that electronically, or was it received on paper.  Mr. Burroughs replied that there were several paper copies, and it did come electronically; this request for delivery of the plan will include 10 hardcopies of the full plan, 10 copies of the executive summary, and then the project database which we did not have last time.  These materials will be ours to utilize and update as needed.  Mr. Burroughs noted that the database will be delivered in February 2021, and on the current schedule Four Waters hopes to present the Master Plan for approval in late December or early January; the database will be built once the Master Plan is approved to move forward and deliver to JWSC in February.

Commissioner Cook asked where the information on population projections came from. Mr. Burroughs provided that there have been recent population projections done on the City’s and County’s Comprehensive Plans that were updated in 2018, and there was also the Brunswick Area Transportation Study data used.  Likely the numbers put out by Glynn County and the City of Brunswick will be used since they just updated their plan 2 years ago.  He added that at the time of the previous Master Plan, those population numbers had not been updated in a few years.  The growth since 2018 has not met the expectation so the plan is that the population will be much smaller given the projections we are seeing now versus the last time we did the plan.  Commissioner Elliott commented that hopefully the City and the County will have a better fix on how growth is going to occur.  Mr. Burroughs said that they both had put out very good Comprehensive Plans that have good Land Use Maps, and JWSC has a good working relationship with their Planning Departments so it should be a smooth process for us.  He provided that the City and County will both also have members from their groups at the table in this process.

Commissioner Harvey asked if this will be an update to the current Master Plan.  Mr. Burroughs advised that this is an update to the existing Master Plan, however with the population projection changes the expansion portion is going to be basically brand new; the rehab plan may be similar.  Commissioner Harvey inquired who did the original Master Plan, and Mr. Burroughs replied that Four Waters Engineering did and this update has two new tasks that were not required last time.  He added that with the project database, it is hopeful that the Master Plan will not have to be formally updated every five years and the database can be revised based on real time project completions.

Commissioner Cook made a motion seconded by Commissioner Duncan to move that the Facilities Committee recommend increasing the budget amount for Project 2024 and awarding a contract for the Water and Wastewater Master Plan Update to Four Waters Engineering in the amount of $247,500.  Motion carried 3-0-0.

  1. Change Order No. 1 – SPLOST NM Ph III Rehab – Engineering – A. Burroughs

Mr. Burroughs recalled that this item was first presented at the April meeting and was taken back for some revisions to the design.  First he referred the Commissioners to the drawing for Ogden Drive Sewer Force Main Re-Route.  To indicate the original force main route Mr. Burroughs noted the existing 20” HDPE force main route which connects to the gravity sewer line down Ogden Drive.  The proposed original routing of this would be to come down Old Jesup Road and turn down by the canal by Driftwood Mobile Home Park and add about 2,200 additional linear feet to the force main work.  Staff re-reviewed the gravity sections and believes there is sufficient room to put in additional capacity for gravity sections there and pull that flow down Ogden which will eliminate a crossing under the canal and a railroad crossing that would have to be done.  Staff is presenting a design change order for which the SPLOST portion is $44,800 to re-do the engineering and obtain the easements necessary for the new route and the increase in the gravity sections, however with these changes it is expected to save over $200,000 with the new design plan.  Mr. Burroughs advised this request also includes a change order for a separate project on Canal Road.  The reason two change orders are being requested is due to the Force Main Project coming down Canal Road, and a separate Water Main Project that will be also be coming down Canal Road.  Since there will be digging and disturbance in the same area for both projects, it is recommended that both project sections on Canal Road be done at the same time.  Thomas & Hutton has been requested to design that water main and do all of the survey work, therefore the additional request for $36,000 for the water main work is being included.  The water main work will be paid for out of the Water Main Project Budget, and will not come out of the SPLOST Budget.  The overall request for the change order is for $80,800 to increase surveying, change in design, and some additional bid face services since this had been put out for bid, and then pulled it down, it will have to be rebid, so additional bid face services by the engineer are necessary.  The change in the Sewer Force Main will result in a savings of 1,400 feet of pipe.  After Mr. Burroughs and the Commissioners reviewed the proposed design change again for clarification, a motion was made.

Commissioner Duncan made a motion seconded by Commissioner Cook to move that the Facilities Committee recommend approval of Change Order No. 1 to North Mainland Phase III Engineering contract in the amount of $80,800 to the full Commission.  Motion carried 3-0-0.

  1. Infrastructure and Easement Dedications and Deeds – T. Kline

Mr. Kline explained that this package of 6 dedications did contain 3 dedications from private infrastructure and 3 dedications for existing pump stations of which the final ownership or deed had not been transferred in the past, yet JWSC has been maintaining them.  The private infrastructure of all 6 dedications that are in either a right of Way or an easement will become public infrastructure upon acceptance by JWSC.  The package Mr. Kline provided contained all of the detailed supportive documents for the Commissioners to review.

Commissioner Duncan made a motion seconded by Commissioner Cook to move that the Facilities Committee recommend that the full Commission review and approve the documents supporting the acceptance of infrastructure for:  1) Pump Station 4010; 2) Pump Station 4134; 3) Pump Station 4122; 4) Menendez Force Main Extension; 5) Clover Corner; and, 6) Silver Bluff Brewing Company as public infrastructure for ownership, operation, and maintenance.  Motion carried 3-0-0.

  1. GEFA Loan Approval – A. Burroughs

Mr. Burroughs recalled for the Committee that earlier in September 2019 staff came to the Commission to request approval for a GEFA Loan in the amount of $15M for the Academy Creek Plant as well as rehabbing existing gravity sewers on the south end of Brunswick and on the south end of St. Simons Island.  At that point JWSC went to the City and County to obtain an Environmental Services Agreement for which that process took some time to obtain.  JWSC went back to GEFA and were informed that they no longer needed for the City and County to sign off, and that JWSC was eligible for $750,000 in Principal Forgiveness on the loan.  At GEFA’s Board Meeting two weeks prior in May 2020, GEFA did approve the new loan for JWSC with the $750,000 of Principal Forgiveness as well as no requirement for the City and County to sign off on the loan.  The terms of the loan will remain the same as previously offered, being a 30 year loan at 2.38% interest with the major difference being the $750,000 in Principal Forgiveness which is due to the Conservation Projects that JWSC is doing in reducing I&I and energy savings opportunities at the wastewater plant.  Mr. Burroughs added that the Debt Service for this loan is being paid for out of the R&R once money is being drawn on the loan.

Commissioner Cook made a motion seconded by Commissioner Duncan to move to recommend to the full Commission that the Chairman and Executive Director be authorized to execute and attest to the appropriate loan documents to execute GEFA Loan CW2019008 and to be so reflected on the attached Schedule “F”.  And also move to recommend to the full Commission that the Chairman, Executive Director, Deputy Director and Director of Finance be authorized to sign for draws on GEFA Loan CW2019008.  Motion carried 3-0-0.

  1. USGS Joint Funding Agreement – A. Burroughs

Mr. Burroughs provided a brief background history of the relationship between JWSC and the USGS for monitoring the saltwater plumes in the area.  For the past 7 years, JWSC and U.S. Geological Survey to study the migration of Chlorides throughout the Upper Floridian Aquifer which supports the majority of JWSC’s drinking water wells.  The cause of the saltwater intrusion is there is a plume of chlorides in the system which has in the past caused JWSC to shut down the Perry Park well as a drinking water source.  Mr. Burroughs advised that USGS does continuous monitoring on the groundwater systems at multiple-sights throughout the county, and in 2018 they produced a study of different modeling results that were conducted from that.  In the Staff Report, Mr. Burroughs provided that amounts of funding JWSC has annually provided, and noted that those amount have fluctuated over the past 7 years.  He added that during the years of 2016, 2017 and 2018 there was a ramp-up in the costs while the USGS was collecting enough data to do the modeling.  The current amount of $60,000 is to maintain the existing sampling with the infrastructure that is already in place.  The USGS does this on a 50/50 match in funding.  JWSC would fund $60,000 and the USGS will fund $60,000 to meet the $120,000 cost to maintain the groundwater monitoring.  The studies have shown that there has been little movement in the chloride plume, mostly because withdrawal rates have stayed fairly constant throughout the county.  There are large water pulls in this area from some of the industries and the modeling shows that if that changes we may see some movement in the saltwater plume, however so far Perry Park is the only well that has been impacted for JWSC.  Staff believes that it is good to move forward with this to continue giving JWSC more information about its source water.  Mr. Burroughs offered to send the Commissioners the link to the USGS Report if they would like to read it.   He added that this item has been budgeted in the FY 2021 Annual Budget under the Executive Director’s Budget.

Commissioner Duncan made a motion seconded by Commissioner Cook to move that the Facilities Committee recommend entering into a Joint Funding Agreement with USGS in the amount of $60,000 for the continuation of groundwater monitoring in the Upper Floridian Aquifer.  Motion carried 3-0-0.

  1. Coastal Club Revised Comprehensive Agreement – C. Dorminy

Mr. Dorminy presented the Coastal Club Revised Comprehensive Agreement to the Committee for their review and consideration.  He recalled for them that Developer Hillpointe Residential, LLC is developing a 240-unit apartment complex along Cypress Mill Road.  There are necessary upgrades to the existing JWSC pump stations and wastewater infrastructure that must be completed to provide adequate wastewater service to the Development.  The Developer agreed to improve the sewer infrastructure which includes a force main upgrade along with the temporary installation of an auxiliary pump at PS 4056, and also including improvements to pump station 4056 and 4059.   The Developer submitted an unsolicited proposal which was approved, and then entered into a Comprehensive Agreement with JWSC in September 2019.  The JWSC and Developer now desire to amend the Comprehensive Agreement to address the separate nature of the Projects, specifically the timing and timing of access to the System.  Mr. Dorminy noted that cost estimates have been received for each of the three projects.  Project One, the force main improvement and temporary auxiliary pump, is just over $99,000.  Project Two, the pump upgrade at PS 4056, is right at $75,000.  Project Three includes a wet well improvement to PS 4059 and is estimated to be $215,000.  The scope of the work for the Projects has not changed.  Mr. Dorminy further provided that upon staff’s review of the preliminary engineering report and plans, JWSC attorney has determined that two of the Projects do not need to be bid pursuant to Georgia Law as stated, the two of them are under the statutory limit for bidding.  Project Three will need to be bid.  JWSC will solicit and review bids for that Project in accordance with the Utility Purchasing Policy.  The Utility will then select the contractor and the Developer has voiced his election to contract with the contractor directly and manage the Project itself.  Mr. Dorminy continued stating that new to this Agreement is that the Developer will ensure that all three Projects are substantially complete within one year of the Amended Agreement, thus ensuring the construction will be complete in a more-timely manner.  Pursuant to the Amended Agreement JWSC will apply credit toward future Capital Improvement Fees that would otherwise become due from Developer in an amount equal to the Cost Estimates and Contract Bid Price plus any JWSC approved change orders.  If the Credited Amounts are less than the Capital Improvement Fees associated with the apartment complex, the Developer will pay the difference to the JWSC.  If the Credited Amounts are more than the Capital Improvement Fees for the apartment complex, then the Developer will receive a transferable credit transferable to any entity owned by the Developer.   Mr. Dorminy specifically noted that importantly the JWSC will not credit in excess of $100,000 regardless of any changes orders.  The amount credited by JWSC to Developer, and that may be redeemed by Developer or its successors in interest, shall be based on the Capital Improvement Fee rates current as of the completion of the Project.  Upon Developer redeeming the full amount of credit for the amounts paid for the Project, the Developer and remaining Property shall be subject to the fees outlined in the then-current JWSC Rate Resolution, as amended.  In no event shall Developer be entitled to reimbursement or redemption of credit in excess of the Credited Amounts paid for the Project, nor shall any credit be redeemable after ten (10) years from the Term Date of this Agreement.  Importantly, upon substantial completion of Project One, JWSC agrees to reserve and guarantee sewer capacity and access to the system for the Property.  This is a change from the prior Agreement, but JWSC staff is confident the capacity issues may be temporarily resolved by completion of Project One which includes the upgraded force main and the installation of a temporary auxiliary pump at PS4056.  This Agreement, Including the Reservation of Capacity, shall terminate ten (10) years from the date that the Project improvements provided hereunder are first dedicated and accepted by the JWSC.  Mr. Dorminy added that the Developer has already started on the apartment complex and will be nearing completion sometime around the end of July and the beginning of August which Project One will be done well before that.

Chairman Turnipseed asked if it was correct that the Developer wants to do Project One and connect on to the System, before completing all three.  Mr. Dorminy responded that prior to having access to the System, yes, but the other two projects will be completed and are necessary, but with the temporary pump it will provide the capacity needed but there still has to be upgrades to the wet well to handle additional flows and so forth.

Commissioner Harvey questioned the statement that “upon substantial completion of Project One, JWSC agrees to reserve and guarantee sewer capacity and access to the System for the Property,” and asked if that meant that we are guaranteeing that with Project Two and Three the whole Project or Property will have capacity, and we are agreeing to that?  Mr. Dorminy replied that the whole apartment complex will have access to the System, and he added that they won’t have full occupancy immediately, so there will be some lag time there.  Commissioner Harvey asked if the Property Project was one complete project or if it was different buildings.  Mr. Dorminy advised that the apartment complex did have four different buildings but they were all being built at the same time, not in phases.  Chairman Turnipseed commented that the Developer is only completing one phase of what is necessary in the pump station and force main upgrade projects to serve the whole complex.  Mr. Dorminy clarified that those three projects are JWSC’s projects that need to be upgraded; and Chairman Turnipseed added projects that need to be upgraded to handle his entire development.  Mr. Dorminy confirmed that was correct.  Chairman Turnipseed noted that we are guaranteeing it (capacity) upfront but we won’t have Projects Two and Three completed; only Project One will be completed, so there is a risk that we may not get Projects Two and Three completed.  Mr. Dorminy stated that the Developer will be bound to complete those projects within one year from the execution of this Agreement.

Commissioner Duncan asked how the Developer is going to manage that risk on JWSC’s behalf, in that the three projects are going to be timely completed.  He added that he doesn’t see any “skin in the game” in that JWSC will make reservation of 100% of the capacity upon execution of this Agreement.  There has been no work started at all on the Utility portion of the connection; I understand there will be a single point of connection for the entire Development.  He continued that while he is sensitive to the Developer’s revenue stream by bringing along various phases of the apartment development, there is nothing seen that the Developer is doing anything to generate confidence that the work will be done timely, because first thing, they are asking for extension of the original Agreement.  Commissioner Duncan said that as he understood the Developer negotiated in good faith on the original Agreement and nothing has been started on-site; so what about their track record to date suggests that this Agreement will be any better than the original.  Mr. Dorminy commented that he did not know if the delay had been caused by the Developer himself.  Commissioner Duncan noted that the Agreement is with the Developer.  Mr. Dorminy said that to add “skin in the game” we can certainly add some liquidated damages in the Agreement for any delay in the Project.  Chairman Turnipseed added that is for future delays though, and Mr. Dorminy said he was right.

Commissioner Duncan said that he cannot support the Agreement as is.  He thinks that they should have “skin in the game” for each Project, and if the Commission chooses to agree with this, we need to have liquidated damages for each phase of the project, or Project One, Two and Three.  Commissioner Duncan commented that this indicates to him that the ratepayers are going on record as risk for providing all capacity at the acceptance of this Agreement approval and the Developer has no risk.   Mr. Dorminy provided that the access in capacity is not guaranteed until the completion of the first project, but noted that Commissioner Duncan is right there is no “skin in the game” to complete the second or third projects.  We can put timelines on those too along with liquidated damages.  Commissioner Duncan commented that he read in the document that upon Agreement that JWSC is agreeing to full capacity.  Commissioner Duncan said that he has difficulty and an issue now of reserving 100% of the capacity, and in his opinion that puts all of the risk on the behalf of the ratepayers, and none on the part of the Developer.  The Developer is able to connect on to the system, but what prevents the Developer from not finishing their project and already having a physical connection to the system.   The only recourse we would have would be legal.  Commissioner Duncan then said in that regard he cannot support this Agreement as presented.  Chairman Turnipseed noted that JWSC entered into this Agreement over 9 months ago, back in September, and they have not done anything on the utility end of it.  The Chairman added that for the Commission to just approve everything and assume they are going to get it all done eventually, like Commissioner Duncan said that is not fair to our ratepayers.  Commissioner Duncan commented that he sees it as a matter of managing the risk, and the ratepayers are going to take on all of the risk should we agree to this document as presented; if this document was modified and brought back to us with liquidated damages on Project One, Project Two, and Project Three, based on a specific timeline for each of those and that is also irrevocable.  He commented that right now there is financial risk related to the utility connection portion; I realize that they have significant investment on their Project as their market and investment people have decided that is what they want them to do.  But they are asking us to take all of the utility investment with a promise that they would complete each portion, or Project One, Two and Three, instead of referencing all of it. Commissioner Duncan mentioned that this looks like an Agreement for convenience that puts all the risk on the ratepayers and I am not going to support that, given no track record of a positive construction in an effort to get the utility work done.  Mr. Dorminy asked about a specific timeline for each project in addition to liquidated damages for each project, and Commissioner Duncan said he would be able to support that and in his view that would then mitigate the potential risk to the ratepayers.  The contractor would then be on the hook for completing this.

Jason Tate, attorney for Hilllpointe Developers in connection with the project, requested to speak.  He first spoke in reference to the delay in the work and explained that the project as originally approved was found to actually be three separate projects when they had submitted the engineering report.  At the time the Unsolicited Proposal was turned in, they had consolidated it all into one big project.  When the plans came in and reviewed by Todd Kline and Jonathan Roberts there were actually three projects that JWSC would have taken on separately.  He further stated that the delay was in that based on the original Comprehensive Agreement the entire Project had to go out for bid.  It has not gone out for bid yet, as they were taking the extra time to break it down into the three smaller projects to accurately reflect what he believed was how JWSC viewed the Project.  Mr. Tate noted that in terms of not doing the work, they have not been able to move forward with it and start the work as it has not been bid yet or a contract awarded.  He then addressed Commissioner Duncan’s concern about the “skin in the game” and advised that the original Agreement included a clause giving either party the right to end the contract with 30 days notice, and this clause was removed in the revised Agreement.  Under the contract as revised the Developer is absolutely legally bound to complete all three projects.  They do not want guaranteed capacity so much for usage as for Certificates of Occupancy.  The entire Project is slated to be completed by around August 1st.  Commissioner Duncan said if the Agreement included specific completion dates, and liquidated damages for each of the three Projects, and brought back before the Commission, then he could support it. Mr. Tate addressed the length of time required for the bid process possibly being long for the Project requiring bid, but that would be dependent on JWSC since they will be putting it out for bid, reviewing the bids and putting out a contract.  He noted that this would be his only issue with placing time constraints on the completion, unless it was worded for a certain number of days after the contract award.  The question appears not to be so much of time for completion as when can the work get started.  Mr. Tate advised that with respect to the force main, those materials are already on order.  Commissioner Duncan commented that he wanted to see liquidated damages on specific milestones and completion of Project One, Two and Three; and said he will support that since it releases the ratepayers from the risks of non-performance on part of the development.  Mr. Tate will go back and discuss these issues with his client, Hillpointe Developers.  Chairman Turnipseed commented his disappointment with the reference that JWSC caused the delays of the initial project, and Mr. Tate responded that was not the intent.  The Agreement will be revised to include the specific milestone dates and liquidated damages for each of Project One, Two and Three.

There was a motion to table this item, but it was withdrawn.  No formal motion was made to recommend passing this item on to the full Commission.  The attorneys will meet to review and rework the revisions, and when the Agreement is ready, it will be brought back to the Commissioners.

DISCUSSION

  1. WPCF Plant Flows Report – A. Burroughs

Mr. Burroughs provided the discussion on plant flows report for all three wastewater treatment plants, Academy Creek, Dunbar and Southport during the month of April 2020.  The numbers and percentages for various influent and effluent concentration levels, as well as capacity usage reported for the three plants were all within permit limits.  This indicates that are all three plants are operating well within permit. 

  1. Project Report – A. Burroughs / T. Kline

Mr. Burroughs and Mr. Kline presented the current project report for the month of April to the Committee and updated the Commissioners on the progress and completion of various projects.

There being no further Committee business, Chairman Turnipseed adjourned the meeting at 2:19 p.m.