muc meeting minutes
January 28th, 2010
Municipal Utilities Commission
January 28, 2010
The Municipal Utilities Commission met on Thursday, January 28th, 2010 at the Council
Chambers, 305 Gay St., Cambridge, Md. Mayor Jackon-Stanley convened the meeting at approximately 6:30pm.
Present: Mayor Jackson-Stanley
Andy Pasden-MUC Commissioner
Glen Ford-MUC Commissioner
Norma Alschbach-MUC Commissioner
Rex Marshall-MUC Commissioner
Gary Newcomb- MUC Manager
Carrie Hall-Asst. Manager
Kevin Johnson-MUC Asst. Superintendent
Greg LeBanc-DPW Asst. Engineer
Mayor Jackson-Stanley asked for approval of expenses for December 2009 in the amount of $109,855.57.
Mr. Newcomb noted that the expense are low for the month. There is nothing above our routine operating expenses. The largest item is 3 payrolls in one month, and that occurs twice a year. Mr. Newcomb mention Ck#20332 for $12,119.08 is for health insurance. We had been running around $15,370.00. We had been overpaying for a few months. Our health insurance will be $14,400.00 starting in January.
With no further discussion, motion to approve was made by Mr. Pasden, seconded by Ms. Alschbach, passed.
Minutes for the MUC Meeting of December 3, 2009 was submitted for approval.
Motion to approve was made by Mr. Marshall, seconded by Mr. Pasden and passed.
Mayor Jackson-Stanley thanked Jane Dorman for transcribing for us.
Mr. Newcomb stated we have the credit card machine and account set up. We were able to start as soon as the machine arrived around 10:00 am and our first customer for credit card was taken at 10:30am. Mr. Newcomb stated the Merchant Statement represents the amount taken in for the month of December. $1,823.93. It is not a complete month. 32 sales. Actual cost was $42.74 for the service. The breakdown would mean $10.69 would come from the water portion, $26.71 will come from sewer service fund and $5.34 from bay restoration. Mr. Newcomb said for a number of months he will be reporting monthly. Thus far, it has been going very well. It is a good service for customers. The charge to the sewer service fund will just be deducted from the amount we deposit for them.
Carrie Hall said it is so easy, it is too good to be true.
Magothy Well- Station 7
Mr. Newcomb stated, as requested at the last meeting we put an ad in the paper for bids to any qualified companies. We had inquiries from two firms. One from Dover who would in turn use AC Schultes to drill the well and we did not receive a bid. Another company, Unitech Drilling out of New Jersey expressed interest. We did receive a bid from them today. Mr. Newcomb said he talked to AC Schultes if they wanted to resubmit and they said they stood on their original proposal that we looked at the previous meeting.
Mr. Newcomb handed out the bid submitted by Unitech Drilling in Franklinville, N.J.
And A C Schultes as follows:
Unitech AC Schultes
Total Cost for Complete permit Preparation $6,875. $6,250.
Total cost to install 16"X 8" X1000' steel well $225,958 $376,458.
Total cost to complete pump option#1 $37,860. $33,968.
Total cost to complete pump option #2 $50,532. $47,645.
Total cost to install pipeline option#1 $19,500. $19,351.
Total cost to install pipeline option#2 $21,950. $22,956.
Fixed cost for 1-125HP well hook up $14,000. $23,553.
Fixed cost for 1-75 HP 480 V well hook up $12,500. $18,693.
Mr. Pasden stated just the well install alone is $150,000 difference. He asked if we are sure we are dealing with apples to apples?
Mr. Newcomb said he has done a little research on them and said they have done production wells for Oxford, Queen Anne County and they are willing to submit any information we are requesting. He stated he has not seen the numbers until now, but the cost of the well is shocking. Mr. Newcomb stated at the last meeting he was a little disappointed by the bid of Schultes because he thought it was high. Their proposed budget was the same as the proposed estimate.
Mr. Pasden asked if we owe Schultes the opportunity to know these numbers and rebid?
Where do we go from here?
Mr. Newcomb said we would give them the opportunity to know the numbers.
Mayor Jackson-Stanley asked if we give them the opportunity to rebid? Maybe someone else is out there.
Mr. Pasden said no, he thought just these two.
Mr. Newcomb repeated what Mr. Pasden had said that other than the well, the other numbers are a little here and a little there but in the same ballpark. The main item is the well itself. He stated he had not run the totals because he had not seen them. Schutles, we were looking at 476,000. We are roughly $150,000 under that which is in the neighborhood of what I originally thought it would be.
Mr. LeBlanc stated if this company has dug a lot of wells and is reputable, then we should just award the job to them.
Mr. Pasden stated he thought we should do that.
Mr. Newcomb said a performance bond would be required with contract.
Mrs. Alschbach asked if there are any other communities that have had to put wells in the last couple of years?
Mr. Newcomb said Schultes has done this, one in East New Market, and some as sole source. As we have found out, it would have been a mistake to take Schultes as a sole source. He said he is surprised. He said in talking to these people, there is no doubt they know what they are talking about. He said he will be happy to get all the information from them.
Mr. Pasden stated, we need to make sure we don't get any add ons.
Mr. Newcomb said we should not have any.
Mayor Jackson-Stanley said she is quickly going over this and Unitech is $389,000 and AC Schultes is $476,000. $86,825. is the difference. The decision is very clear but do we need to check them out.
Mr. Newcomb stated they are willing to supply municipalities they have done work for and this is their specialty. They came on site and familiarized themselves with the area.
They were a little concerned with the closeness to Crusader Arms. There will be some noise but they are aware and we may have to put the compressor a little further down.
Mr. Newcomb said we would make every effort to notify the residents in the area, door to door and let them know what is going on. It may last as long as seven days.
Mayor Jackson-Stanley asked if that was the same with both companies.
Mr. Newcomb responded yes, that is what has to happen when they drill a well.
There is no way around it.
Mr. LeBanc asked if we received many complaints the last time we drilled a well?
Mr. Newcomb said he don't remember getting any. Glasgow St and Washington St really don't have too many houses that close. At Crusader Arms, it is really only one building that is close.
Mr. Pasden said Mr. Newcomb would have to give them a comparison of the two prices and then they could look at it.
Mr. Newcomb said there are options in both and it looks like his original guesstimate is very close.
Mayor Jackson-Stanley asked if Mr. Newcomb would be giving a recommendation back to the Commission after the references are checked? Would Unitech come to the meeting for the Commission to eyeball them?
Mr. Newcomb said they would be happy to come.
Mayor Jackon-Stanley asked if we have a time to begin when they will dig in with the first shovel?
Mr. Newcomb said it is not anything pressing because it would make little difference what time of the year they start. There is no advantage from one time of the year to another. If we gave the go ahead in February, it would still not be until April before they would start.
Mr. Pasden asked what account would that money come from?
Mr. Newcomb said it looks like we would probably end up closing out some accounts and taking money out of the bank of the Eastern Shore, BB&T bank on some of the smaller accounts and try to keep as much money as possible in the National Bank Account.
Mr. Pasden asked if he knew which accounts he would be closing.
Mr. Newcomb said, looking at the GL reports, 1010, 1009, 1100, 1130, 1150, 1160, 1200, 1300 & 1400. Those accounts would total roughly $875,779.11.
We would be okay without touching the national bank account. This will be a major investment for the future. It will also provide the extra capacity we would need that would be required for the proposed new developments that have been approved by the City. It won't happen immediately, but when it does, at that time we would still be collecting impact fees to put money back in and have $400,000 still in reserves.
Mayor Jackson-Stanley asked what is Mr. Newcomb's pleasure.
Mr. Newcomb said he is still surprised with the bids.
Mayor Jackson-Stanley asked Mr. Newcomb if he was going to get references from Oxford and Queen Anne County and get back to us?
Mr. Newcomb stated he could get the information we need, have a contract drawn up and be ready to have them at the next meeting.
Mr. Pasden said he thought Mr. Newcomb should look it over again tomorrow and make sure there is nothing we have overlooked.
Mr. Newcomb said he would definitely look everything over very carefully and be ready by the next meeting.
Mayor Jackson-Stanley said it is a lot of money we are investing and we will look forward to next month to meet with them.
Mayor Jackson-Stanley asked if we recommend anyone to replace Mr. Prahl in that ward to the MUC Commission.
Mr. Newcomb responded he would prefer the Council to do that.
Ms. Alschbach asked who is the councilman in that ward?
Mayor Jackson-Stanley responded, Ken Knox.
Mr. Newcomb said our current years budget, we have some items that are under spent.
The West side bypass was $115,000 and we are in the neighborhood of $50,000, which is substantially less. Next year we are looking at Utility Service for $62,434.10, which shows the breakdown on the handout. Current year is $100,561.18; the difference is the Stone Boundary tank, which is listed as $15,815.11 this year is listed as $53,900. Because we are paying the complete renovation over three years then it goes to the base price. Once it goes to the base price, it goes up only 3% each year or so. When it comes time to repaint, it gets repainted. There will be $38,000 less than what was budgeted this year.
There is roughly 100,000 less budgeted for next year. However, the city council reduced the amount we would be reimbursed from the City Sewer Fund by $50,000. We will still have a savings over next years budget. His question is do we consider a rate increase next year. It is tough times for everyone. A rate increase would not go over too well with the public. He stated he believed he could develop a budget to take care of our normal operating expenses, some money for improvements and like to include one pipeline project for the MUC forces to do that would be included on the master plan. He said he felt we could continue to operate the water system, make improvements without increasing rates. His recommendation is to not increase rates and develop a budget to stay within the revenues we have generated.
Looking back to the general ledger, page 4, this is our revenue. This is where we are thru the end of December. 50%. Manufacturing is right there, the commercial we are a little under. The Hyatt irrigation is listed as commercial. Last year we had a meter valve malfunction. If we look at the Commercial and say we lost at least $15,000 or better and May & June will bring it back up again. Residential is a bit lower than projected. The Municipal looks like it will end up being pretty close. Fire lines are billed once a year. Meter activation should increase somewhat, hydrants should work out to be the same as projected. Miscellaneous sales and service we are a little bit down. Depending on project in the spring, we may get back up to projection. Sewer service charge, the city deducted $50,000. from that. Overall, even taking the $50,000 away, we should be safe in using those numbers over again.
Operating expenses, we have to stay within the money we are collecting, if not we would have to go into the reserves. If that were the case, I would have to come to the board and get approval from the board to go into the reserves. I don't see the need to have to do it this year coming. We have some expenses in the first six-month that we won't have in the last six months. He said he sees no problem in maintaining expenses with what is left. We should provide the same service and be prepared for any emergencies and so on without a rate increase next year.
Mayor Jackson-Stanley stated the citizens would be very happy to hear that. She asked if we could have a motion to not increase the rate for the next budget year.
Mr. Pasden made a motion to keep the same rates for the next budget year as we have for this year.
Mrs. Alschbach seconded the motion.
Mr. Newcomb said at the next meeting he will bring with him a proposed budget, a proposed list of improvements and the commission can decide what they would like to include. He would not bring any items in that we cannot do without increasing rates.
Mr. Newcomb said this winter we have had a number of nighttime leaks. The broken hydrant was due to an accident. The broken saddle, we have had a number of them.
705 Rosemont should actually be Fairmount. He briefly went over the other leaks, mostly related to cold weather. The guys have done a good job and minimized the inconvenience to the customer.
Mr. Newcomb reviewed the consumption report and pumpage reports.
We did a rotation of our pumping station. Nathans Ave Station is down and Glasgow Station is now on since the end of November into December. Our unaccountable is down a little bit. We know that the flow meter at Nathans Ave is a little inaccurate.
We will see if the numbers come down due to that.
Mr. Newcomb showed the commission a letter he received in the mail. They have been mailed to a lot people in the area. Senior citizens in particular seem to take this as something thru the City of Cambridge. They are trying to sell insurance. If you have a water leak from the meter to your house, with this insurance they will make the repairs.
It goes to a PO Box in Florida.
Mayor Jackson-Stanley said her Mother got one and it is just another scam.
Mr. Newcomb said he couldn't say it is a scam but they should deal locally.
Mr. Pasden asked if we should put something in the paper to explain that this is something the City is not putting out and not endorsing it in anyway.
Mayor Jackson-Stanley said for senior citizens, the radio would be more efficient for them. They listen to the radio everyday.
Mr. Newcomb said he would get something together for Mayor Jackson-Stanley to report.
Mayor Jackson-Stanley said she would be happy to do that because people that prey on older people and children get under her skin.
Mr. Pasden asked if she had a community spot on the radio?
Mayor Jackson-Stanley said not but she will work on that. Something maybe coming up in February.
Mr. Pasden said he has to make his pitch on the unaccountable water. We take 10 million gallons of water out of the ground a month that we don't need.
Mr. LeBalnc said it is going back into the ground.
Mayor Jackson-Stanley said but we don't get paid for it either.
With no further discussion, motion to adjourn was made by Mr. Marshall, seconded by Mrs. Alschbach at approximately 7:25pm.