MEETING MINUTES OF THE
PLUM CREEK MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY
A regular meeting of the Board of The Plum Creek Municipal Authority was held on September 17, 2013 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 Joe Zerbe (PCMA Attorney), Mike Stewart (PCMA Operations Manager), and Dave Bright (PCMA Engineer).
Jim Ridderhoff called the meeting to order at 6:10 p.m.
The minutes of the prior meeting held in July, 2013 were reviewed and accepted by motion of Jerry Weiss, seconded by Dennis Scharadin, carried by all.
The Treasurer's reports for July 2013 and August 2013 were reviewed and accepted by motion of Dennis Scharadin, seconded by Matt Gruber, 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 reported that:
- Jockey Pump #1 at the Booster Station has been rebuilt by Axiom.
- The contactor for the pump at Well #1 is nearing the failure point. The part is no longer a stock item in the electrical industry, and must be special ordered. One was ordered and it should be available within the next few weeks, and will be installed by Dave Meyers as soon as it's available. At this point, Well #1 is fully operational using the old contactor, and it is not expected to have problems while waiting for the new one to be installed.
Matt asked about selling one of the pump trucks, and Mike said a decision will be made in the next few days as to which one to sell. It was originally decided that the red Mack would be the one that will be sold, but it's being used more than the white Mack. Mike said he would check with Joe Clemas, PCMA employee, and then a final decision will be made. Dennis asked which of the two pump trucks worked the best. Mike said the white pump truck pumps better, but the red pump truck is newer. Joe Zerbe will advertise for bids when a final decision has been made.
- All three pump trucks are operational at this time.
- The two-speed screen wash pump at the Wastewater Treatment Plant has been rebuilt and is fully operational at this time.
- The blocked sensor for the automatic entry gate at the sewage plant/business office failed and has been replaced with a better configuration that should reduce the problems with closing the gate in the rain. The former configuration consisted of a sending and receiving unit, along with a reflector to bounce the beam back to the sensor. The new unit uses a laser sending unit that's powered by the office rather than the reflector, thus shortening the light path. It also reduces degradation of the signal by the reflector.
In engineering matters, Dave Bright briefly went over the new monitoring requirements regarding disinfection byproducts. Also, the both storage tanks were checked by Dave's contact, Ed Enoch, on July 31st. Ed had inspected them two years earlier, and his recommendation at that time was to surface prep the rust spots on the small tank and then overcoat it. He suggested both the interior and exterior be completely blasted on the larger tank and repainted as if it were a new tank. His current recommendations are more involved than they were two years ago. Dave said recent bids received on a project of a similar nature were in the neighborhood of $260,000 which included engineering costs of $15,000. He said if the Board wanted to go ahead with putting the repainting project out for bid, approval for repainting the interiors will have to be obtained from the DEP. Approval for the exteriors is not needed and can be done at any time.
Upon motion by Tom Nagle, seconded by Jerry Weiss, and carried by all, it was decided to proceed with the steps needed to put the repainting project for the two water storage tanks out for bid this year to be implemented in the spring of 2014, or when weather permits. Jim Ridderhoff said he would work toward getting the financing for the tank repainting project, as the PCMA does not have enough money in reserves to pay for the project outright without depleting operating funds.
In legal matters, Joe Zerbe said that a tax exemption was given to the PCMA for the property that was purchased for wellhead protection. He and Jen attended a tax assessment appeal hearing the week before to obtain the exemption. He also noted that routine matters, which included filing and satisfying liens, were addressed.
The water and sewage rates for 2014 were discussed at length. As of August 31st, the Authority had total funds available for all purposes in the amount of $396,000. After considering the maintenance projects that need to be addressed in 2014 and after, which includes repainting the water storage tanks and replacing the large sewage tanks at the sewage treatment plant, the Board reviewed the three-year plan for rate increases that had been compiled a few years earlier. A variety of rate structure increases were examined in relation to current and upcoming expenses, and the financial shortfall that would occur if rates were not increased proportionately. After much discussion, the Board voted to adopt a new rate structure that will go into effect on January 1, 2014. The motion was made by Jim Ridderhoff, seconded by Dennis Scharadin, and the motion carried. The water and sewage rates for 2014 are as follows:
Jen Hoy, PCMA Office Manager, told the Board that the software company chosen to take over the Authority's billing and other software programs isn't working out as well as expected. The representative from the company assured the PCMA that the programs it was currently using for water and sewage operations could be duplicated and maintained, but the company is struggling to set up the simplest of data files. Jen said she believes there's more than a good chance the company will not be able to complete file setup and program duplication, resulting in the loss of a huge amount of data manipulation capabilities that have been in place for the past 20 years.
- Water rates will be $115 per quarter, up from $105, which covers 9,000 gallons of water used. Additional usage charges will be $6 per 1,000 gallons of water used over the base-rate allowance of 9,000 gallons.
- The cost of a holding tank pump will be $145, up from $125.
- The cost of a holding tank test will be $75 - no change.
- The cost of a septic pump will be $240, up from $230.
- All additional charges relating to distance and elevation, etc. for pumping holding tanks and septic tanks will remain the same.
Jen suggested that the PCMA think about obtaining the software needed for her to update all of her original programming to assure that the programs already in use are suitable for new Windows platforms for a number of years to come. In addition, she will be able to add new programs and update others that were put on hold in anticipation of a new company taking over. Although she has no plans to leave the Authority, Jen is eligible for full retirement in a year, and the PCMA needs to protect its current custom programming in addition to finding a replacement to take over her programming responsibilities when the time comes for her to leave. It is crucial to implement safeguards to prevent any interruption in day-to-day operations that are dependent upon the programs she created. The software needed to reconstruct the programs for future use will cost approximately $3,300 and perhaps a few hundred dollars more depending on additional programming modules that may be needed.
Upon motion by Dennis Scharadin, seconded by Matt Gruber, and carried by all, Jen was instructed to explore the option of reprogramming the PCMA's computer system, and obtain the necessary software if she decided it was in the Authority's best interest to do so. Also, she will continue to look for a suitable replacement for the future. Jen said she will keep working with the new company but, if it doesn't work out, she will pursue obtaining the software needed to keep the Authority's operating system intact.
The Board approved Jen's request for vacation from November 21, 2013 through December 8, 2013.
There being no further business, Jerry Weiss motioned for adjournment, Matt Gruber seconded the motion, carried by all. The meeting was adjourned by Jim Ridderhoff at 7:30 pm.
Meeting minutes were taken, prepared, and submitted by Jennifer Hoy.