MEETING MINUTES OF THEA regular meeting of the Board of The Lake Wynonah Municipal Authority was held on September 18, 2007 at the Lake Wynonah Municipal Authority Business Office Building, South Manheim Township, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.
LAKE WYNONAH MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY
Board members present at the meeting were Jim Ridderhoff, Joe Chicora, Walter Jaros, Tom Nagle, and Dennis Scharadin. Also in attendance were Dave Bright (SSM Engineer); Mike Stewart (American Water Service); LWMA attorney Joe Zerbe; LWPOA Board members Paul Lund, John Paul Marceau, Bryan Richie, Tom Stone, Jerry Heffleger, John Weagar, and Chuck Wynne; and property owners Amy Beres and Lucinda Nagle.
Jim Ridderhoff called the meeting to order at 6:01 p.m.
The minutes of the prior meeting were reviewed and accepted by motion of Walter Jaros, seconded by Dennis Scharadin, carried by all.
The Treasurer's reports for July and August 2007 were reviewed and accepted by motion of Joe Chicora, seconded by Walter Jaros, 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:
- Well #8 has been permitted by the PA DEP.
- Meter conversions are being scheduled at four per day.
- Water storage tanks are at 67% capacity. The pool is now closed for the season, and lawn watering is dropping off. Emergency use of Well #2 was authorized by the PA DEP but it has not yet been necessary to put it into use. Well #2 was run to waste for approximately one week, and was sampled as required by the PA DEP, but the well has not been connected to the water system. We have the option of connecting Well #2 to the water system again as an emergency water source for the duration of the water emergency, but it has not yet been necessary. It will take approximately one to two hours to put Well #2 back into production if itís required.
- A leak in the water supply line was found on Wynonah Drive, and it has been repaired by Paul Harrington. A broken curb stop was also replaced at another location. A boil water alert was issued as a precaution due to system repairs.
- We have had good cooperation from most of the customers in respect to water conservation measures.
Jim asked if the current tank level (67%) indicated that tank was going up or going down in the last few days. Mike said itís stayed pretty much the same over the last few days, but itís gone up a little bit over the last two weeks. He said itís slowly going up but itís hit a plateau. The latest leak was small and probably didnít significantly impact the tank levels. Mike said he thinks the level will slowly climb now that the summer is coming to an end. Jim asked how full the storage tanks are normally. Mike said the tanks normally stay between 95% and 100%. Joe Chicora added that the tanks were often at 40% during the summer, which equates to seven or eight feet of water in the tank.
- One pump truck is operational.
- The old Mack has a broken gas tank support clamp which is on order from Blue Mountain Mack.
- The holding tanks for raw sewage at the wastewater treatment plant are being repaired by Rick Seiler Welding.
Jim said the bids for the new well building were opened, and Joe Chicora asked Dave Bright to present the information from the bidders. Dave said the bids were opened on September 7th for the contracts for the three building. The bids were for general/mechanical contracting, electrical, and plumbing/HVAC.
The bidders and bids for the general/mechanical contract were Spotts Brothers, Inc. at $218,000, DESCCO at $243, 201, and Bertolet Construction Corporation at $250,171. There was only one bid for the electrical contact: J. B. Electrical Corp. at $26,296. The two bidders for the Plumbing and HVAC were Spotts Brothers, Inc. at $18,500 and ANTZ Energy Systems at $41,246. The total cost was approximately $270,000. Joe Chicora said that, after reviewing the bids, he determined that the cost was over the budget amount of what the LWMA wants to spend. He said the well has to go online as quickly as possible, but not at that cost. Joe added that more than $100,000 has already been spent on the well.
Joe Chicora suggested a smaller building to cut down on the cost, and stressed the importance of getting a new design ready as quickly as possible so that construction could start this year. The Board discussed the minimum size that would be needed for the building, keeping in mind that significant clearance for electrical panels would be required. Joe said a minimum of three feet before the electrical panel was needed as an escape, and it shouldnít be located near the water. Dave Bright agreed. Dennis and Walter said that they, too, thought the cost was far too high. The size required for the building was discussed, and all agreed the size should be about 15í x 15í. Mike said that a cinder block building would probably be less expensive than a pole building, and it would be more functional. Joe added that a cinder block building would also be more maintenance-free.
Upon motion by Joe Chicora, seconded by Dennis Scharadin, and carried by all, all bids for the new well building were rejected. Upon motion by Joe Chicora, seconded by Walter Jaros, and carried by all, Joe Chicora was given authorization to review and approve the new cinder block building design, and Spotts|Stevens|McCoy was authorized to redesign and re-advertise for bids based on Joe Chicoraís approval of the new design.
Jim Ridderhoff opened the floor for comments on the new well and its building design. Paul Lund, LWPOA President said that the LWPOA Board wants to partnership with the LWMA Board so that both boards could support each other in other issues as well as the current issue with the new well. He said he understood that a new well was needed, and it was the right thing to do for the good of the community. He also said that, in light of the low water supply this summer due to lack of rain and other reasons, they didnít want to put themselves in that position again next year. Paul said one of the things they want to do is address potential leaks in the pool and water supply lines. Also, heíd like to be proactive with communications in the community in regard to water conservation. He appreciated the fact that the Authority had a huge responsibility in supplying water to the community as it continues to expand.
Joe Chicora said that the number of wells being used today is less than the number being used in 1991 when there were approximately 300 homes in Lake Wynonah, and now there were close to 1,200 homes in the development. He added that, although itís hard to believe, there is the same or less water being used now than in 1991. The higher usage in 1991 was due to no maintenance being done on the water system as well as numerous leaks not being repaired. Tom Nagle added that a lot of money was put toward leak detection and repair since he, Jim, Joe, and Walter came on the Board in 1990 - 1992. Also, upgrading the system when leaks were repaired was put into effect. Joe added that new technology now makes it easier to detect leaks, and repairs are addressed quickly to keep water production lower. Jim said that there is an inherent problem with leaks because the water mains have such high pressure due to the elevation of the tanks. The system is gravity-fed because the tanks are at a much higher elevation than the houses in the community.
Jim asked for input from the LWPOA Board as to the size of the building. Paul Lund said he felt that what the LWMA was considering (12 x 12, 12 x 15, or thereabouts) is acceptable to facilitate the well pump at the Indian Drive location, and the chemicals needed to operate it. Joe Chicora wanted to clarify that the LWMA does not store hazardous chemicals at the well houses; it stores chlorine. He added that homeowners probably store a lot of chemicals far more harmful than anything the LWMA has. Tom Nagle said the only chemicals that are going to be stored there are the chemicals that are needed for that well. Mike added that the amount of chlorine that the LWMA has at all four wells and the sewage treatment plant combined is less than is in the day tank at the pool. Tom Stone asked if the Authority was still planning on putting a barbed wire fence around the property. Joe said it would be around the well head. Tom Stone said the reason he asked is because some of the other wells donít have them. Joe Chicora said the others didnít have them because they were grandfathered and didnít require barbed wire fences, but it is recommended that new water sources be protected more aggressively. Jim and Joe said that an ďinvisible,Ē monitored fence (electronic) will be tried around the building because an unoccupied building must be secured, but the well head will be protected with a barbed wire fence. Tom Nagle said he did a lot of research on security and the barbed wire fences are strongly recommended. Mike added that the new well is the only well the LWMA will not be able to do without to provide an adequate water supply, and it must be protected as much as possible. Tom Nagle said because the chemicals are added to the water inside the building, the building itself has to be protected in order to prevent vandalism of the water system. He said the building has to be secure.
Paul Lund said the LWPOA has multiple communication resources the LWMA could take advantage of to educate the property owners about water conservation when the water supply is low, and he offered to help to distribute the information for the Authority. Lucinda Nagle said water conservation should be something thatís ongoing, not just when thereís an emergency. She said people have to take an interest in the environment in which they live. She added that the pool is one of the biggest users of water, and the people overseeing need to be qualified persons who can make sure things are done properly and efficiently. Paul Lund agreed and suggested that there needs to be a line of communication between the LWMA and the LWPOA to get information out to the residents. Tom Nagle said the LWMA used to have a mailbox at the front and back gates to put our newsletters in so the residents could pick up a copy and read about water conservation and whatís happening with the water supply. He added that the mailboxes were taken down because a past LWPOA president objected to them.
Paul Lund said the current LWPOA Board and many active members in the community are interested in both organizations running efficiently. He said he believed the problems that arose concerning the LWMAís new well project were due to lack of communication. He said all they heard about was the size of the building. They didnít know what it was going to be used for, how it would look, or if it would blend in with the rest of the community. He said the LWPOA wanted more information, and the LWPOA would help the LWMA look for more suitable locations. Tom Nagle said there wasnít a more suitable location for a well. Jim Ridderhoff said the search for water is much different than the search for a suitable location for a building. He said the LWMA has drilled for water on its own properties two other times in the last 10 years in hopes of finding a new water supply, but both locations were unsuitable. Jim said the LWMA then sought out a location, not necessarily LWMA property, that would most likely produce water, and an area that produced an abundant supply of water was then found on Indian Drive. He said the LWMAís primary function as a municipal authority is to supply water to the community. The location for a new well was found and the LWMA Board has been trying to design the building and site to make it blend into the community.
Jim said that LWPOA Boards have been negative and unpleasant toward the efforts of the LWMA in the past, and he wondered why that was. Lucinda Nagle said she believed it was because a lot of people donít understand that the two organizations are separate and not run the same. She pointed out that the LWPOA is run by the property owners, and the LWMA is a government organization that must abide by municipal laws and regulations. Although they both provide services to the community, they both serve two entirely different purposes. Jim said that both organizations exist for the homeowners but the functions of each are different. Because of that, he said the LWPOAís perspective is different than that of the LWMAís. He hoped the two organizations could work together in the future.
The huge water loss at the pool was discussed briefly, and Paul Lund said he was embarrassed by some of the things that happened during the efforts to solve the problem. He said that it would have helped things if he would have understood what the problems were. Jim Ridderhoff reminded him that the huge, unnecessary water loss at the pool has been occurring for a number of years. Both Boards agreed to work together to solve the problem.
Jim Ridderhoff asked the LWPOA Board members present if they had any other specific issues with the well building design. Jerry Heffleger said he felt the building has to be made secure, but it should also fit well within its surroundings. Jim said that the LWMA will try to construct the most aesthetic concrete building it can. Joe
Chicora said that Dave Bright can email a plot plan file to him, and he will forward it to Paul Lund right away. Jerry said there are cinder block buildings that are nice and decorative rather than just a flat, plain block building. Jim said thatís what the LWMA has in mind. Joe Chicora said a split-faced block building would work well and it would require less maintenance as well.
In legal matters, Joe Zerbe said some routine legal services and lien satisfactions were taken care of. He said that he and Mike attended a tax assessment hearing for the Well #8 lot, and they were successful in getting an exemption. He said that the taxes would have to be paid this year, but they will not have to be paid in upcoming years. Jim asked if the hearing is something thatís only done in September. Joe explained that, in the recent past, property obtained for municipal purposes was automatically exempt from real estate taxes. He said that changed four to five years ago, and now all property obtained by municipal authorities requires a hearing (held in September each year) to prove it will be used for municipal purposes. Dennis Scharadin asked if this was something that had to be done on a yearly basis. Joe said only if the Authority obtained new properties.
Tom Nagle wrote a severance pay policy for the Board to look over, as it was one area not covered in the employee manual. The policy was distributed to the Board members prior to the meeting. Tom said it was talked about over the years, but nothing had been done about it. He said he did a lot of research and looked at a variety of samples, and he compiled the policy from his findings. Basically, the policy provides one week of severance pay for each year of employment if the employee has been employed for at least five years with the Authority. A formula was included for partial years. Upon motion by Tom Nagle, seconded by Joe Chicora, and carried by all, the severance pay policy was approved and adopted as part of the LWMAís employee manual.
A request was submitted to the Board to ask if the LWMA would include a public notice with its next quarterly water billing. The insert is for people to purchase reflective address markers to raise money for training and education of direct care workers. All Board members thought the concept was a good idea, although not realistic, and Joe Zerbe didnít know if would be legal under the municipal authorities act. Also, Tom Nagle said that allowing it might open the door for a lot of other people to ask for the same consideration, and the LWMA could not accommodate everyone. Joe Zerbe added that other people may ask for the same favor and they may not be promoting a worthy cause such as this one. After some discussion, Joe Chicora made a motion to deny the request, as well as all future requests, to include the insert with the LWMAís water billing, seconded by Dennis Scharadin, carried by all.
Jim Ridderhoff asked Mike to review the procedures the LWMA is using to supply and record water use at the pool at the Lodge so that the issue can be discussed with the LWPOA before it becomes a problem again next year. The information can then be given to the LWPOA to take action accordingly. Jen said that Tom Nagle recently made a lot of contacts with people in the area to find out what needs to be done to keep the pool running efficiently, and his written report was given to Sue Ohlinger at the LWPOA office. He also gave Sue the contact name of the person who certifies people for operating pools. The contact person said he would help out any time the LWPOA needed him to.
There being no further business, Walter Jaros motioned for adjournment, Tom Nagle seconded the motion, carried by all. The meeting was adjourned by Jim Ridderhoff at 7:23 p.m.
Meeting minutes were taken, prepared, and submitted by Jennifer Hoy.