July 2011

A regular meeting of the Board of The Plum Creek Municipal Authority was held on July 19, 2011 at the Plum Creek Municipal Authority Business Office Building, South Manheim Township, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.

Board members present at the meeting were Tom Nagle, Dennis Scharadin, Jerry Weiss, and Matt Gruber. Also in attendance were Dave Bright (PCMA Engineer), Mike Stewart (American Water Service), and PCMA attorney Joe Zerbe.

Tom Nagle called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.

The minutes for the previous meeting were reviewed and accepted by motion of Jerry Weiss, seconded by Dennis Scharadin, carried by all.

The Treasurer's reports for May 2011 and June 2011 were reviewed and accepted by motion of Dennis Scharadin, seconded by Jerry Weiss, carried by all.

Mike Stewart reviewed his written report relating to managerial matters (submitted to the Board prior to the meeting) which addressed water and sewage operations. In water matters, he reported that:

In sewage matters: Mike added that five new tires will have to be purchased for the pump trucks. Also, Shawn Wynne will be off work for four to six weeks due to a medical condition. A temporary person was hired to help Kelly with the pumps until Shawn returns to work. The Board discussed the scarcity of the contactor part to keep the sewage treatment plant running, and Mike said the parts will have to be special ordered because there are none in stock anywhere in the country. The part is expensive, but if the last contactor that was installed fails, it would take weeks to get another which would mean the plant couldn’t run. The Board decided that, because the contactor would have to be specially made, it is necessary to order one and keep it on hand in case one of the contactors currently in use fails.

In engineering matters, Dave Bright said that the report from the person who inspected the exterior of the water storage tanks in February indicated that there was no need to do any repainting immediately. He then returned to look at the interior of the tanks and said the interior of the larger tank needs work, not immediately, but the interior coating should be completely removed and repainted in a couple of years. The interior of the smaller tank is in better shape and can be overcoated. His report indicated that the exterior of both tanks aren’t in great shape, but they can be overcoated at this time. Tom commented that the PCMA’s time period for the work was scheduled for 8 or 9 years, but now it has to be moved up to 3 or 4 years. Dennis asked about the time frame for repainting the big storage tank, and Dave said it would be about a month. The big tank would be taken offline for the work and the small tank would supply the community until the work was done. After that, the repainting of the small tank would be done. Dave said no action has to be taken now, but it will have to be addressed much sooner than anticipated. Tom noted that there are some very large repairs and maintenance costs coming down the road, as the storage tanks for the sewage treatment plant are also scheduled for replacement in 2016.

They also decided that, when the small water storage tank is repainted, the decorative skirting will be removed because most of the rust and deterioration is happening where the skirting attaches to the tank. It will help to extend the life of the paint. Dave said it will also be more difficult to repair and paint the tank if the skirting was left intact. Mike said it wouldn’t be too difficult to remove because it’s spot welded in place.

In legal matters, Joe Zerbe said he attended to routine matters such as satisfaction of municipal liens. He also researched the family leave act as it applies to the Authority, and an unemployment issue. He also looked over an energy contract through On Demand Energy, and said he didn’t see any major issues with it. There is an automatic renewal process, but the Authority will be notified twice before that happens. He said it’s a typical contract. Upon motion by Jerry Weiss, seconded by Matt Gruber, and carried by all, the Board decided to sign a two-year energy contract.

The Board also discussed pre-purchasing heating oil and decided not to because it’s too hard to predict if prices will go up or down. The way the contracts are presented, you take a chance either way.

Upon motion by Jerry Weiss, seconded by Dennis Scharadin, and carried by all, the purchase and installation of a tempered glass enclosure for the service counter was approved. The cost would be $1,500 installed.

The Board discussed water and sewage rates for a considerable length of time. Some Board members met with the PCMA’s auditor, at his request, to discuss the finances of the Authority a few weeks prior to the meeting. The Authority has been depleting monies from the savings account for a number of years to meet everyday expenses and costs, and was advised by its auditor that the Board had to act before all funds were depleted. The two small increases that were put into effect did little to meet expenses, and system repairs and operating expenses continue to increase. The bottom line was that the PCMA had three choices to resolve the situation: Raise rates, sell out to another Authority or for-profit company, or deplete all funds and become insolvent. The Board decided that raising rates was the sensible solution.

Upon motion by Jerry Weiss, seconded by Dennis Scharadin, and carried by all, the Board voted to raise the rates, effective January 1, 2012, in the following manner:

The Board also decided to include an information statement to be included in the October, 2011 water billing.

There being no further business, Jerry Weiss motioned for adjournment, Matt Gruber seconded the motion, carried by all but Dennis who voted against adjournment; he was out-voted. The meeting was adjourned by Tom Nagle at 8:10 p.m.

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

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