February 2017

A regular meeting of the Board of The Plum Creek Municipal Authority was held on February 21, 2017 at the Plum Creek Municipal Authority Business Office Building, South Manheim Township, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.

Board members present at the meeting were Jim Ridderhoff, Tom Nagle, Dennis Scharadin, and Jerry Weiss. Also in attendance were Dave Bright (PCMA Engineer), Jeff Crawford (PCMA Operations Manager – Select Environmental), and Property Owners/LWPOA Board Members Joe Haggarty, Richard Hardy, and Bob Still.

Jim Ridderhoff called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.

The minutes of the prior meeting held in January, 2017 were reviewed and accepted by motion of Dennis Scharadin, seconded by Tom Nagle, and carried by all.

The Treasurer's reports for January, 2017 was reviewed and accepted by motion of Dennis Scharadin, seconded by Tom Nagle, carried by all.

Jim opened the floor to those in attendance. Rich Hardy said the main reason he and the two other LWPOA Board members were there was because they heard rumors that the Schuylkill County Municipal Authority (SCMA) was interested in taking over the Plum Creek Municipal Authority. He said they wanted to stop by to see what was happening with that. Tom explained that, back when Mike Stewart was getting ready to retire, the PCMA Board started looking for an operator to take his place. In the attempts to find an operator, Tom called the SCMA, talked to Pat Caulfield, and asked if they would be interested in managing the PCMA. Pat told him that they weren’t looking to get into management services but if the PCMA would ever be interested in selling the Authority Tom should call back and it could be discussed. The PCMA Board eventually decided to engage Select Environmental for management services.

After some time passed, the PCMA Board started thinking about how best to serve the Lake Wynonah community in the future. When looking at how fast expenses were rising, and taking into consideration that the increasing costs to run the Authority had to be spread out over a customer base that would never substantially increase enough to bear the costs, the Board started thinking in terms of merging with a larger company or having a larger company take over the Authority to cost share, so to speak, to help relieve the customer base of bearing the significantly increasing costs that would eventually place too large a burden on the community. When an opportunity presented itself to talk with the SCMA about a possible acquisition, the Board thought it was in the best interest of the community to do so. The SCMA and both Township Supervisors attended the January PCMA Board meeting for an informal discussion followed by a question and answer period. That's where things stand right now.

Joe Haggarty commented that the SCMA wouldn't be acquiring a facility that has tremendous assets and a great cash flow, and asked if the possible acquisition was money motivated.

Tom said it wasn't because the SCMA is not a private company; it is a municipal authority formed in the same way the PCMA was. They have a Board the same as the PCMA does, albeit larger, and they answer to the county in the same manner the PCMA answers to the Supervisors from both Townships.

A question was asked if the SCMA talked about water supplies other than what was now being used, and Dennis said they did not. Bob Still asked if any kind of approval would have to be obtained for the SCMA to acquire the PCMA, and Tom said the Township Supervisors would be the ones to approve anything that involves the Plum Creek Authority. It has to be done at the Township level. Also, it was explained that, although the PCMA was the only entity formed to supply both sewage and water needs for the Lake Wynonah community, it was not restricted to serving only Lake Wynonah. The PCMA could provide services other places in South Manheim and Wayne Townships, but it has always opted to save all resources for Lake Wynonah.

Tom added that the SCMA has tremendous resources and it's much more efficient at what it does because of the vast network of suppliers and contractors they engage to handle 24/7 emergencies. It also has an immense sewage facility at Deer Lake which has plenty of capacity not yet being utilized. Bob Still said he read about a national trend where money is being invested in sewer and water authorities throughout the country just like the PCMA for the purposes of making a profit. Tom said those are private companies, and he actually was contacted by a private company who was interested in buying the PCMA for that purpose. Tom told them that the PCMA was not interested in selling to a for-profit company. A private company doesn't have to account for its money to the public like municipal authorities do and a private, for-profit company would not be in the best interest of the community. A private company had to file for rate increases with the PUC, and that wasn't hard to do.

The LWPOA members present thanked the PCMA Board for the information and said they now have more information to be able to answer any questions that homeowners may have at their next Board meeting. Tom told them that when there's more to tell in regard to the SCMA/PCMA, the information will be passed on.

Jeff gave the manager’s report. In water operations, he reported:

In sewage operations, Jeff reported that:
  • Normal operations continue.
  • The #2 Blower motor in the sewage treatment plant is inoperable. Axiom quoted $1,200 to repair it. It can be purchased and repaired by PCMA personnel for between $700 and $800.
  • Both pump trucks and pickup trucks are currently operational. Minor body damage occurred on the passenger side of the Ford Ranger during the last snow plowing. Mickey backed into the concrete barrier at the treatment plant. There were no injuries.
  • One minor injury occurred when Mickey slipped on some spilled polymer in the sewage treatment plant and cut his hand. He was taken to the emergency room where he received treatment and stitches. He then returned to work. The polymer was moved to a non-traffic area, and nobody is permitted to use the polymer without Jeff's approval.
  • A quote was solicited for the Western Star to remove & weld the tank hose racks and to address the rear steel platform. The Mac pump truck will probably require steering tires by April or May to pass the next State inspection.
  • A second quote is expected to repair the roof, replace drywall, and remove mold at the Booster Station.
Jeff added that the rehab was done on Well #6 rather than Well #8 as planned because the PCMA wouldn't have had enough water for the community if Well #8 was taken offline. Instead, Well #6 was addressed next.

Dennis asked if the wells were pumping more adequately since the cleanings were performed. Jeff said they were. Well #6 is maintaining a good level and both wells have increased production.

In engineering matters, Dave Bright said, in regard to the Groundwater Withdrawal Renewal application submitted to the Delaware River Basin Commission, a draft docket to renew it was issued. The hearing took place last Wednesday for the renewal and, unless someone objected, the new docket should be issued sometime in March. In regard to the grant application, SSM provided additional information to the person reviewing it. It's still in the works and Dave said he thought the original intention to have a decision was to take place in February but that doesn't look like it will happen. He thinks something should be heard in March.

In legal matters, there was nothing to report. Joe Zerbe did not attend because of illness.

The Emergency Response Plan was updated and given to the Board for review. Upon motion by Jerry Weiss, seconded by Tom Nagle, and carried by all, the updated Emergency Response Plan was approved and adopted.

Jen gave the Board the yearly delinquent account amount to be written off, which equated to $16,334.98, and the Board approved the write-off upon motion by Jerry Weiss, seconded by Dennis Scharadin, and carried by all.

There being no further business, Jerry Weiss motioned for adjournment, Tom Nagle seconded the motion, carried by all. The meeting was adjourned by Jim Ridderhoff at 7:20 pm.

Meeting minutes were taken, prepared, and submitted by Jennifer Hoy.

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