July 2014

A regular meeting of the Board of The Plum Creek Municipal Authority was held on July 15, 2014 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, Jerry Weiss, and Dennis Scharadin. Also in attendance were Dave Bright (PCMA Engineer), Joe Zerbe (PCMA Attorney), Mike Stewart (PCMA Operations Manager), and PCMA employee Joe Clemas.

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

The minutes of the prior meeting held in May, 2014 were reviewed and accepted by motion of Jerry Weiss, seconded by Dennis Scharadin, carried by all.

The Treasurer's reports for May, 2014 and June, 2014 were reviewed and accepted by motion of Jerry Weiss, seconded by Tom Nagle, carried by all.

In legal matters, Joe Zerbe said he took care of routine matters such as filing and satisfying liens but, other than that, he had nothing to report.

In engineering matters, Dave Bright said he received the draft for the final application for payment for the repainting project which is in the amount of $77,500. He said Kountoupes Painting Co. was finished with the painting work but they still had to remove some things from the site. The certification that’s required as a condition of the construction permit was submitted to the DEP, and he said the DEP will then issue an operation permit.

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 reported that: Mike said that, since he did his report, he found out that that the white Mack needed more repairs than originally thought. He said he was also going to have the pickup truck checked out to make sure as to what’s wrong with it, and then it can be determined whether or not it’s cost effective to be repaired. He said if the transmission went, it wouldn’t be worth repairing in his opinion. Upon motion by Jim Ridderhoff, seconded by Dennis Scharadin, and carried by all, it was decided that Mike would make the decision to either repair the pickup truck or dispose of it based on the findings after he consulted with someone to see what is wrong with it.

Dennis asked how the new pickup truck was running. [Note that the “new” pickup truck was a used truck, and not new in the sense that it was new from the dealer.] Mike said that there had been some problems with it but most of them were fixed. He said two rusted exhaust manifolds had to be replaced and the brakes had to be repaired. He said it cost roughly $1,700 to fix those things. Once the exhaust system was fixed, they were able to hear a tapping sound coming from somewhere. He also said that the gear shift indicator doesn’t line up with the numbers very well and it’s causing trouble starting the truck. He said you have to keep shifting it from park to drive to get the starter engaged. He said that’s something that will have to be checked, and he said the tires are dry rotted and will need to be replaced before winter. Dennis asked Mike if he had any idea what it might cost to have the gear shifting problem repaired. Mike said there were similar problems with the old pickup truck and he was told by a mechanic that the whole steering column would have to be replaced to fix it.

Dennis also told Mike that the hydrant markings that were painted on the road are fading and should be repainted. They were originally painted orange but they’ve faded to white.

Jim noted that the audit report for 2013 had been submitted by Jones & Co.

An anonymous property owner sent a letter describing problems for the PCMA’s pump truck that involved safety issues due to tree branches growing over an access road used to pump a holding tank. The Board asked if there was another way the PCMA could pump the tank on the property without using that road. Mike said they could pump it from the street, but it would probably be more than 100 feet and an extra fee would be charged. The problem seems to be caused by conflicts between the neighbors in the area and nobody is cooperating with each other to provide access to the property being serviced. Because the property owner being serviced does not own the access road, the PCMA has no authority to instruct the owner to cut the trees to make access safe for PCMA drivers. The PCMA also does not own the property and cannot cut the trees. Mike said one of the property owners involved in the feud has branches hanging over his property, and he wants to cut the overhanging branches, but he wants the PCMA to be present when he does it. PCMA attorney, Joe Zerbe, told Mike that it’s up to the property owners involved to enforce their rights, and that the PCMA has no right getting involved. The Board agreed and told Mike that he was not to get involved with anything to do with cutting any trees on the road in question, nor should he be present for cutting any tree branches, nor should he instruct anyone to cut any trees. He was told to not get involved in any way. Furthermore, Jim told Mike that the tank would either have to be pumped from the road, or have another PCMA employee on site as a “flagger” to direct the pump truck driver when he enters and exits in order to make the process safe for all concerned. Jim said if it didn’t work for the pump truck driver to do that, then the tank will have to be pumped from the street.

The Board discussed the possibility of adding a second restroom to the business office building for a variety of reasons including having to share the current bathroom with the public and for the sake of sanitation and health issues. Tom suggested doing it in the fall when contractors are looking for work and the cost of building it would be less. Tom said he would look into it further and try to get some prices.

Jen told the Board that the security cameras needed updating and a more secure system was required if they wanted to continue to keep monitoring the office building, the sewage treatment plant, and all the well sites. She said the current system had to be repaired three times already, and repairs were needed again. She asked the Board if they wanted to abandon the camera monitoring or if they wanted her to look around for other options for the Board to consider. Mike said higher resolution cameras should be considered in order to see details better. The Board told Jen to look for other options and present what she found at the next meeting.

Jerry brought up a question concerning municipal insurance on the vehicles because of an incident he’d heard about. Mike said that he was told by the PCMA’s former insurance agent that municipalities have immunity in vehicle incidents and that the other person’s insurance has to pay for the repairs. In that case, the question arose as to why municipal authorities needed vehicle insurance. Joe Zerbe said he wasn’t sure how the liability fell in the case of an accident, although he said he would not drop the Authority’s vehicle insurance. Jen said she would call the PCMA’s insurance agent and get some answers.

There being no further business, Dennis Scharadin motioned for adjournment, and Jerry Weiss seconded the motion, carried by all. The meeting was adjourned by Jim Ridderhoff at 7:05 pm.

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

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