July 2012

A regular meeting of the Board of The Plum Creek Municipal Authority was held on July 17, 2012 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, Jerry Weiss, and Matt Gruber. Also in attendance were Dave Bright (PCMA Engineer), Mike Stewart (PCMA Operations Manager) & his daughter Sara, and Joe Zerbe (PCMA Attorney).

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

Upon motion by Jerry Weiss, the minutes of the regular prior meeting held in May 2012 were amended, seconded by Tom Nagle, carried by all. The amended minutes were reviewed and accepted by motion of Jerry Weiss, seconded by Tom Nagle, carried by all.

The Treasurer's reports for May 2012 and June 2012 were reviewed and accepted by motion of Tom Nagle, seconded by Dennis Scharadin, 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 said that Well #1 will also need its roof replaced, probably next year, and the sides aren’t in very good condition either. He expects it to cost about $2,500.

In engineering matters, Dave Bright said that he had nothing to report. He said it’s been quiet on the regulatory front, which is always good. He will also see what he can find out regarding the Well #1 remediation.

In legal matters, Joe Zerbe said he attended to routine matters such as satisfaction and filing of municipal liens. He said he had a chance to review the ordinances regarding the PCMA’s Sewage Management Plan (SMP). The ordinances do allow for outsourcing the pumping of holding and septic tanks in the community, but there is a requirement that all sewage collected in the development has to be processed at the PCMA’s sewage treatment plant. He said the SMP doesn’t allow for outsourcing the pumping, but the ordinances allow for rewriting the SMP as necessary. One point he brought up is that the ordinances state that the PCMA or its designee can do sewage pumping, requiring the PCMA to put together a list of approved pumpers. He said the PCMA would also have to coordinate efforts with the pumpers, if the PCMA goes that way, to make sure the inspection reports are filled out properly and returned to the PCMA. The Board was talking about the possibility of outsourcing, but had not discussed it in any length for it to be seriously considered. In speaking more about the possibility of outsourcing the sewage pumping, the Board decided there are too many variables to consider it at the current time or in the foreseeable future.

The Board discussed the possibility of purchasing another pump truck, as the ones the PCMA have are costing a lot of money to keep in operation. Mike asked if Mickey, one of the pump truck drivers, could call some places that have trucks for sale to get more detailed information to come up with a set of specs. The Board said he could go ahead and do that, and gather enough information to make some recommendations at the next Board meeting. Dave Bright said trucks may be available through one of the state programs, and maybe some grants would be available. Matt said he could try to get more information about it. Mike said he and Jen had looked at some of the new ones for sale and found it would be more cost effective to purchase a new one rather than buying the truck piecemeal and paying to have everything put together. Matt also recommended looking into a steering lift axle as part of the truck specs. Mike said that had been a problem with the trucks we have and it would solve a lot of problems if they had the steering lift axles.

The topic of sewage rates for the year 2013 was brought up and discussed. Tom had done some research as to what the haulers in the area would charge for holding tank pumps, and also checked other sources including a DEP 2008 survey and an EPA Fact sheet as to costs to pump an average sized tank. A local hauler quoted a charge of $250 per 1,000 gallons (an average holding tank holds 4,000 gallons); the DEP 2008 survey indicated the cost of pumping a holding tank ranges from $150 to $300; the EPA fact sheet stated 10¢ to 30¢ per gallon, or $400 to $1,200 per 4,000 gallons. Another source charged $165 for a 4,000-gallon tank, and another charged $150 to $600 for a 4,000-gallon tank depending on distance and elevation.

After much discussion, the Board decided to gradually make all sewage pumping fees uniform across the board.

As a step toward uniformity, Jerry Weiss made a motion to raise the holding tank rates to $125 per pump, up from $73, starting January 1, 2013 with additional increases in subsequent years until all sewage pumps, including pumps for repair, are the same rate across the board for both holding tanks and septic tanks; Dennis Scharadin seconded the motion, and the motion carried.

Upon motion by Tom Nagle, seconded by Matt Gruber, and carried by all, the cost of a holding tank test will be $75, up from $68, starting January 1, 2013.

Upon motion by Matt Gruber, seconded by Dennis Scharadin, and carried by all, the cost of a septic pump will be $230, up from $225, starting January 1, 2013. All additional charges relating to distance and elevation, etc. will remain the same.

Upon motion by Tom Nagle, seconded by Matt Gruber, and carried by all, the new water rates starting January 1, 2013 will be $105 per quarter, up from $95, which covers 9,000 gallons of usage. Additional usage charges will not change, and will remain at $5 per 1,000 gallons used over the base-rate allowance of 9,000 gallons.

The Emergency Response Plan, updated by Nancy and Mike, was reviewed and approved upon motion by Tom Nagle, seconded by Dennis Scharadin, and carried by all.

It was noted that the Audit report had been received by Jones & Co. The report was distributed to the Board prior to the meeting.

Jen updated the Board on the search for a software package for the Authority. She said she was contacted by a representative from a company called MuniBilling, and she was interested in finding out more information about it. The company has clients in and out of the area, and a rep will come to the office to demonstrate the program. It will be a lot less expensive than the package that was originally being looked at. She also said she contacted authorities that are using it, and she received very good reports. She heard no negative feedback about the use and capability of the software. Everyone she talked to said they loved using it. She said she hopes it’s as good as people say it is because it would solve a lot of problems relating to programming the software needed for water and sewage billing and accounts.

There being no further business, Tom Nagle motioned for adjournment, Jerry Weiss seconded the motion, carried by all. The meeting was adjourned by Jim Ridderhoff at 7:55 pm.

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

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