muc meeting minutes
July 28th, 2011
Municipal Utilities Commission
July 28th, 2011
The Municipal Utilities Commission met on Thursday, July 28th, 2011, at the Cambridge Council Chambers, 305 Gay Street, Cambridge, Maryland. Mayor Victoria Stanley-Jackson convened the meeting at approximately 6:30 pm.
Present: Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley
Andy Pasden-MUC Commissioner
Norma Alschbach-MUC Commissioner
Glenn Ford-MUC Commissioner
Rex Marshall-MUC Commissioner
Steve Williams-MUC Commissioner
Gary R. Newcomb-MUC Manager
Carrie Hall-MUC Asst. Manager
Kevin Johnson-Asst. Superintendent
Greg LeBlanc-DPW Asst. Engineer
Mayor Jackson-Stanley asked for approval for expenses for the month of May 2011.
Mr. Newcomb said Ck#21448 to Md. Unemployment Insurance Fund for $4,312.00 was due to the previous fiscal year we had two employees, one was a voluntary let go and the other resigned. The City does not pay unemployment insurance. When we lose someone or let someone go, after any penalty period, we have to reimburse their unemployment. The two individuals, our total obligation is just under $16,000 at $15,800. We will be getting quarterly bills. This is the second. This is the reason one position was not included in the budget and the other will be filled this fiscal year. Kevin and Sylvester have been filling in, which involves weekends. We are thankful that they are doing that.
Commissioner Alschbach asked if someone resigns, do we have to pay unemployment?
Mr. Newcomb said there is a penalty period but after that he did not know what it would take to be denied. Check #21476 for $4,218.21 to Jess Jr. & Son Body Shop, was for repairs to Sylvester's truck that was involved in an accident. We did receive a check from the insurance company for this. This shows as an expense but we were reimbursed. The general ledger will show us as being over but it was this amount we were reimbursed. Total expenses for the month of May were $79,438.88. This is about as low as you will see the expenditures.
For the month of June, ck#21484 to Uni-Tech Drilling $88,893.75 is, with the exception of the electrical, is the balance of the new well. It is not budgeted, but an approved expenditure by the board. Ck#21499 for $3,571.20 to Brinsfield Fence is for the well, a MDE requirement. Ck#21501 to the City of Cambridge $32,861.39, of that amount $30,793.00 is the MUC portion of the injured workers insurance fund. Ck #21570 to Gemini Group for $2,967.00 is for the Water Quality Reports. They do an excellent job.
Commissioner Pasden asked who does the writing?
Mr. Newcomb said some of the articles are ones he picked out that they recommended. The articles pertaining to the system, he put together.
Mr. Pasden said it was very impressive.
Totals expenses for the month of June 2011 were $241,198.71. All items are budgeted except the two items of the well.
Mayor Jackson Stanley asked for approval expenses for May and June 2011.
Motion of approve was made by Commissioner Alschbach and seconded by Commissioner Pasden, all in favor, approved.
Mayor Jackson-Stanley asked to have the minutes deferred for approval until the August 2011 meeting.
Magothy Well - Nathan's Ave
Mr. Newcomb said everyone should have a copy of the agreement from Delmarva Power, which he signed. This is for the installation of an additional pole that was required. He stated, he was shocked when he received this in the mail. He had met with representatives of Delmarva Power a year ago and at that time our discussion with Mr. Rodney Travers present, it was agreed to be done at no cost. We received this when Mr. Travers made the contact when he was authorized by Uni-Tech to proceed with the electrical. Time was an issue. He said he signed it to proceed but did make some contacts with Delmarva Power.
They agreed to do this at no charge per our agreement a year ago. There had been a change of people in Delmarva Power. With just a few phone calls, this $5017.00 bill was eliminated.
Mayor Jackson-Stanley said this is wonderful.
Mr. Newcomb said the electrical was just finished yesterday. Uni-Tech Drilling should be coming down next week to do the start up. Mr. Newcomb said it seems a little late, but we received notice from MDE, we have to notify property owners adjoining the well property about the well. We have sent certified letters to all adjoining property owners.
If there were an issue with any of them, then we would have to have a public hearing. He did talk to three owners, they were well aware of the well but were curious. He does not anticipate any problems. Maybe by next meeting, we will be pumping water.
The balance we will owe is $12,500 for the electrical.
Mayor Jackson-Stanley asked if there was any ceremony planned?
Mr. Newcomb said it would be nice once the well is completed.
Mayor Jackson-Stanley said we would have to wait till September.
Woods Road Tank
Mr. Newcomb said at the previous meeting, he mentioned they were working on it and it has received an exterior painting. It looks good. The City of Cambridge tanks look as good as you see anywhere. This is included in the maintenance contract. There are no additional fees when they paint interior and exterior and we will be getting the tank washed out in the interior later this year. Stone boundary tank will also be washed out as well.
Commissioner Alschbach asked how often does that happen.
Mr. Newcomb said every other year. One year a written inspection is done and the next a wash out inspection. Since we started the wash outs of the tanks, our brown water calls have diminished.
Cattail Crossing HOA
Mr. Newcomb said he has a letter from Cattail Crossing HOA (Mr. McKee) and a printout of their account. The current bill is $5,463.41. If you look on the account a year ago, a sprinkler head was leaking into the storm drain. This is an irrigation account. It has been a policy, which he adheres to that we do not give adjustments on irrigation accts due to the nature of what it is. Most of the complaints are: didn't know irrigation used that much, it was suppose to be on a timer, it did not shut off, these type of things.
Ms. Alschbach said there is no date on the letter from Mr. McKee. When did you receive this?
Mr. Newcomb said just recently after the bill was sent. The meter was flying; we contacted the manager and shut the meter off. The meter reader does not know the consumption when he reads it. The office staff picks it up on billing and sends out the service tech that checks on the problem and shuts it off.
Mr. Newcomb said he is brought this up for the board to do what is appropriate. Our leak adjustment policy is lenient. He feels uncomfortable about breaking our policy.
Commissioner Alschbach stated the agreement between Appletree and the next group did not go thru and that is why Mr. Mckee still has the HOA.
Mr. Newcomb stated that the Triathlon did use this service. It was a year ago this same time they had a similar problem. Minor compared to this year.
Mayor Jackson-Stanley said he is only making a statement and not a request.
Mr. Newcomb said the invoice was submitted for an adjustment. This is an exception.
He did give a couple of examples with irrigation problems with no adjustments.
Mr. Williams asked what is our policy for other leaks?
Mr. Newcomb said a one-month adjustment or maybe two depending if the leak ran into the next month.
After a discussion, Commissioner Pasden asked if we could negotiate, higher than 81,000 gals but less than 2,640,000 gals.
Commissioner Williams asked, "we have a written policy for water leaks but not written for irrigation?"
Mr. Newcomb said that is correct.
Commissioner Williams made a motion to credit the bill $419.76 seconded by Commissioner Alshbach. With no further approval, the motion did not carry.
Mr. Newcomb explained further the history of this account. Possibly having the customer remove the yard hydrant that could possibly cause the problem.
Mr. Pasden said he liked the idea of charging the customer 3 times the highest bill, which would still be a substantial adjustment. He made a motion to adjust the bill to $1,149.81.
This was seconded by Mr. Marshall, All approved. Passed.
Hyatt Irrigation Meter
Mr. Newcomb said he does not know why, but there was a problem with the Hyatt irrigation meter. It was new in November 2010. He thinks a possibility when we had the big leak this fall that it contributed to it. When the reading was done from Apr 29th to May 31st it registered 651,000 gals. We knew then that something was wrong because the station operator said the pumpage went substantially. He knew it was the Hyatt. The pumpage went up 1,300,000 gals. He said he had a meeting with Mr. Ross about a problem with the meter. He told him there was no way he would allow them to pull water when he knew the meter was not working properly. We ordered a new one immediately. I told him he had two choices. 1, don't use water or 2; come up with a reasonable number of what you used. Mr. Newcomb said he estimated they used at least 15,000,000 gals.
He agreed with no problem to be billed at 12,000,000 gals of water. There is no way we can show a meter reading to justify it. Pumpage numbers are up and down but we would have a good argument. They paid the $24,417.41. We can't prove it but they may have used as much as 20,000,000 gals. We will be reading that meter again tomorrow. We got the new meter in. We have a different type of meter with a strainer in front to prevent stones and such to damage the meter. We probably have lost about $15,000. worth of revenue on that one meter.
Commissioner Pasden said he remembered we had problems once before when their people had access to the meter. This is the third time to change this meter. It is now with a new type. He said he is still at a loss of why we had problems. Maybe after we had that bad leak out there, it caused such a flow that any loss stone could have come thru the meter.
Commissioner Pasden asked if Mr. Newcomb needed anything from the Commission?
Mr. Newcomb said no, this is just for their information.
MDE - Sediment/Erosion-105 Brohawn Ave.
We were reported to MDE from an adjacent property owner about our spoil pile.
The Owner had been on him about pushing some dirt. His attitude was, you're on me how about them? We had an inspection from MDE and there was an issue. Thanks to Greg who developed an erosion control plan and submitted it to them. He said he did not anticipate any more from this issue. This did bring about other information we were not aware of. Our spoil pile that we have, part is on a property the City does not own. The property owner is not aware of this. He said he was totally unaware of, until Greg was made aware of it. Now that we are aware, we cannot turn our back on it. This could turn into an issue. The spoil pile has been steadily growing for the last 35 years. The temporary fix is, we have some silt fence up to stabilize it with no immediate violations.
The other problem is we need to do something differently with the dirt we take out of the ground from street opening and so on. We asked about property out to Leonard Lane or DPW. They basically have the same situation.
Mr. Leblanc said DPW was visited by MDE also. Now we have to get rid of our spoil dirt.
Mayor Jackson Stanley asked, where do we take it?
Mr. LeBlanc said most of it would go to the landfill.
Mayor Jackson-Stanley said that we have to pay for.
Mr. LeBlanc said yes. He thinks we should not have to.
Mayor Jackson Stanley said maybe Sailwinds has some sinkholes that need filling. Maybe for a temporary fix anyway.
Mr. LeBlanc said probably some of it would go there.
Mr. Newcomb said the landfill fee would be one thing, but the transporting it would be another. He said it is clay, stone, and blacktop and basically junk. Mr. Newcomb explained that it is at least 30ft high.
Mayor Jackson-Stanley asked what was Mr. Newcomb recommending?
He feels we need to look for an area we can use, however any time we move it we need a permit.
Mr. LeBlanc said it would be nice if the County would let us take some loads there free.
Mayor Jackson-Stanley asked if next month we could possibly have a resolution?
Mr. Newcomb said maybe we could find property we have and apply for a permit and have another designated area and keep it at a manageable level. Our dump truck is a small dump truck. It will carry ten tons. It would be a lot of loads.
Mayor Jackson-Stanley said maybe DPW would help.
Mr. Newcomb said the first thing they would ask is, who is paying for the fuel?
He said he wanted to bring this up because once we get into it; we will probably be over budget on some items.
Mayor Jackson Stanley asked if we are on a deadline for this?
Mr. Newcomb said no. Mr. Newcomb said there is a storm drain and a ridge. He always assumed it was city property. Because of what we know, we need to cease adding on to it. He is making everyone aware.
Water Quality Report
Mayor Jackson Stanley said it is beautiful.
Mr. Newcomb said we have already discussed this.
Mr. Newcomb went over the street openings.
We did away with the 2" line on Maces Lane.
We had 3 new services, one was irrigation.
Pumpage report for May 66,244,000 showing unaccountable of 16,481,000, which we discussed, was due to the Hyatt meter.
Pumpage for the month of June was 76,464,000 showing an unaccountable of 8,100,000.
This is better, but using an estimate which should be 15 million instead of 12 million for the Hyatt.
Mr. Newcomb went over the general ledger for the month of June, which is the end of the fiscal year.
On page 4, under manufacturing we are 53,000 over, which is good. Commercial is under but if the Hyatt was billed accurately it would have been close.
Residential is a little under projected, Municipal shows a debit not a credit because at the end of the fiscal year we credit off all City Accounts. We billed and collected money on all the city sewer accts. This past year we received no money and we credited off $24,000. If you add that to the $28,000, the numbers would have looked a lot better.
This coming year we will also not get any money from the sewer fund.
Firelines, penalty charges are very close. Meter activation is very close. Hydrants and Misc are about as close as you can get. Overall, our income has been pretty good.
The Impact fees are something we don't budget. Bay Restoration, there is an amount that will be added to that because we should get $5,300 which has not been paid.
Salaries show we are under budget for overtime. Maintenance is under budget. Operation is under budget because we let the one employee go earlier in the year. The unemployment insurance has been charged to salaries.
Transportation and equipment maintenance is under budget. If you take out the check from the insurance co for repairs to Jess Jr., we will be under budget.
Maintenance of the physical plant is under budget.
Maintenance of station 8 well was due to the pump and shaft repaired for $28,196.00.
Meters looks like we are over budget by $1,299.82 however, we sold $1,600 worth of meters and if backed out we would be under budget.
Small tools are under budget. I will be purchasing a saw, which would take $4,000 of that money.
Nathans Ave well #4 did not include the cost of the fence, and one other charge, which we should end up us owing $12,500.
Pumping station utilities, substantially under budget.
Chemical are under budget.
Engineering fees under budget. Street repairs and uniforms under budget.
Salaries and administration are under budget. Payroll taxes are under. The retirement expense, which we talked about earlier in the year, is substantially over by $20,000.
Group Insurance, education & training and Misc. are okay. General Insurance, we have not received a bill from the City, which should be coming. Office Supplies are under. Utilities are under but we just paid a bill for the last quarter and we will still be under.
Overall our income has been close but our expenses have been under budget.
Mr. Newomb quickly summarized consumption totals for May and June.
The Auditors were in the second week in June for a preliminary and will be back the second week of August to finalize the previous year.
Commissioner Pasden said he would just like to congratulate Mr. Newcomb and his staff on making budget for another successful year. There were a lot of difficulties along the way and you have attained. He said he for one appreciated it.
Commissioner Williams said he wanted to thank the Commission for the plant he received during his loss.
Mayor Jackson-Stanley said she appreciated everyone hanging in there during a difficult year and we made it thru. She appreciates the support they give the City.
With no further business, motion to adjourn the meeting at approximately 7:50pm was made by Commissioner Pasden, seconded by Commissioner Alschbach.