Public Information & Customer Relations Committee Minutes – May 2, 2017

For your consideration, please review the minutes from the Public Information & Customer Relations Committee Meeting held on Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 2:00 pm.

Public Information & Customer Relations Committee Minutes 5-2-17 with Attachments

To read the minutes, please open 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

Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 2:00 PM 

PUBLIC INFORMATION & CUSTOMER RELATIONS

COMMITTEE MINUTES

PRESENT:                             

Steve Copeland, Chairman

Cornell Harvey, Commissioner

Donald Elliot, Chairman of Commission

Jimmy Junkin, Executive Director

Jay Sellers, Public Information Officer 

ALSO PRESENT:                 

John Donaghy, Chief Financial Officer

Pam Crosby, Director of Procurement 

ABSENT:                               

Robert Bowen, Commissioner

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

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD

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

APPROVAL:

  1. Minutes from the April 4, 2017 Committee Meeting

Commissioner Elliott made a motion seconded by Commissioner Harvey to approve the minutes from April 4, 2017 Public Information & Customer Relations Committee Meeting. Motion carried 3-0-1 (Commissioner Bowen was absent.) 

DISCUSSION:

  1. Effective Community Engagement Program – J. Sellers

Jay Sellers presented to the Committee an EPA Study on Communicating the Value of Drinking Water Services.  Jay introduced the Study and gave a brief presentation on the processes involved with communicating and educating the public on the value of water.  The first point of discussion was related to “Identifying Your Community’s Needs” where he noted areas such as: (1) Drought, (2) Flood, (3) Cost, and (4) Safety, and how those could be addressed.  The second point was “Conducting Surveys and Focus Groups,” then “Developing Your Message.” He continued to discuss the importance of “Communicating the Message” in educating the public regarding the value of water and the services required to provide that resource, especially when communicating proposed rate increases to the public.  Various methods of communicating to the public were addressed such as advertising, social media, JWSC website, and news media. JWSC presence at public events and interactions was mentioned along with an example of JWSC being represented at an event and possibly providing a piece of equipment that could be parked at the location where children could experience actually getting on the equipment. The importance of communicating a consistent message was also noted.  Developing a program for communicating positive messages and educating the public was further discussed, along with examples of advertising campaigns.  The Committee would like to see the idea of an advertising campaign provided in more detail explaining what the plan is, how we can carry it out, and what information we are actually trying to communicate to the public.  For a future meeting Jay will identify some possible customer/community needs and provide those for further discussion.  Also noted was the fact that not only does the community have needs, but the JWSC has needs in providing the water and wastewater services to the community (such as costs of operations and maintenance, rehabilitation and repair of systems, and improvements in the system), and how do we relay that message to the community.

  1. Options for Emergency Alert Notification System for Boil Water Advisories – J. Sellers

Jay Sellers also presented to the Committee a discussion on Emergency Alert Notification Systems.  He noted that there is a cost associated with any notification system, and continued to mention that he has been in contact with Glynn County regarding use of the “Code Red” notification system. $16,000.00 for 100,000 minutes is the obligation the County is under now for their use of the current notification system, and the County would allow JWSC to share the use of this “Code Red” as a notification system if JWSC agrees to pay a portion of the $16,000.00. Jay continued to discuss the various methods of communicating emergency alerts such as Boil Water Advisories.  The Committee was briefed on some associated costs of notifications along with possible options.  Everbridge offers a notification system that JWSC could activate for a one year period for a cost of about $19,000.00.  The Everbridge system provides flexibility and options that gives JWSC total management control, accommodates the large customer base of the JWSC, allows unlimited usage to cover the number of Boil Water Advisories, along with a variety of other emergency notifications that may need to be placed, all with no extra charges over the base cost. The advantages of going with this particular system were discussed.  Also mentioned was that the County will be placing an RFP for their “Code Red” system in about 6 months, and there is an unknown about the service they will have after that.

ADDITIONAL DISCUSSION:

There was a brief additional discussion as to why BGJWSC holds its Committee and Commission meetings during the middle of the day when many citizens are not able to attend the meetings.  The reasons for the original JWSC schedule of meetings was noted in the discussion. Some examples were provided as to when meetings were held for other local commissions and organizations for comparison of times that might be available or good to hold JWSC meetings in the evening.  This matter will be held for future discussion.

Executive Director’s Update

Mr. Junkin noted that it has been mentioned to him that we have a lot of Boil Water Alerts.  He discussed the large amount of old galvanized lines that are present in the water system, some of which does not show on the GIS system.  Plans are to map all of that piping out, have Four Waters Engineering look at the water modeling to provide recommendations as to where JWSC may need to upsize lines to provide better fire protection, or if parts of the system need to remain the same due to water quality issues (keeping water moving for customers). For piping that needs to be replaced, funding will be researched for purchase of materials and installation by JWSC crews of the replacement pipe to eliminate the galvanized pipe in the system, which seems to be one of the causes of water line breaks and other issues.  Corrosion in galvanized pipes was also mentioned including the fact that when it swells up, there is reduced water pressure and the customers are affected by that issue in their homes, as well as at fire hydrants.  Substantial changes and fixes need to be made to bring these pipes up to legal requirements for providing water to JWSC customers and to the fire hydrants.

Meeting was adjourned at 3:16 pm.