• City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
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muc meeting minutes

September 24, 2009
 

Municipal Utilities Commission

Minutes

September 24th, 2009

 The Municipal Utilities Commission met on Thursday, September 24th, 2009 at the Council Chambers, 305 Gay St., Cambridge, Md.  Mayor Jackson-Stanley convened the meeting at 6:27 pm.

Present:            Mayor Jackson-Stanley

                         Andy Pasden-MUC Commissioner

                         Glen Ford-MUC Commissioner

                         Norma Alschbach-MUC Commissioner

                         Gary Newcomb- MUC Manager

                          Carrie Hall-MUC-Asst. Manager

                          Sylvester Molock-MUC Superintendent

                          Greg LeBlanc-DPW-Asst. Engineer

Mayor Jackson-Stanley asked for approval of expenses for the month of July and August 2009.

Mr. Newcomb mentioned ck#19958 to City of Cambridge $23,450.33 is for worksmans compensation.  This is an annual charge.  Ck#19998 to Utility Services $53,942.42  is the third installment for the ground storage renovation at Stone Boundary Ground Storage tank.  Next year this amount would drop down to the normal amount of $17,000.00.

Ck#20005 to LGIT  $5,897.00 is for vehicle insurance which is annual.

This makes the total expenditures for July 2009 $245,663.47.  All items are budgeted.

Commission Pasden asked what Ck#19962 $3,100.00 is for?  Mr. Newcomb stated it is for the new pole building insulation.

Mr. Newcomb said Ck# 20029 to Computer Maintenance Services $1231.99 is for an annual maintenance agreement on our equipment.  Mr. Newcomb state the August expenditures are about as low as you will see in the amount of $102,990.36 with normal operating expenses.

Mr. Pasden asked about the Bay Restoration.  Is it accrued monthly?

Mr. Newcomb explained that is, but reported quarterly.  We do receive a percentage not to exceed $4,000 to cover office and personnel expense.

With no further discussion motion to approve expenses for July and August 2009 was made by Mr. Pasden, seconded by Mr. Ford.  Approved.

Mayor Jackson-Stanley asked for approval of the minutes of the MUC Meeting of July 23, 2009.

Mr. Pasden asked about the status of the leak on Poplar St?

Mr. Newcomb said we still don't know but we have not forgotten it.

Motion to approve was made by Ms. Alschbach, seconded by Mr. Pasden. Passed.                                  

Financial Alliance - Credit Card

Mr. Newcomb said he felt that we are moving to a time where we need to reconsider the use of credit and debit cards.  It is becoming a way of life with many individuals.  Even people with unemployment, their money is put on a debit card.  He stated he has discussed this with Mr. Kinnamon, even though he deals in larger money amounts, Mr. Kinnamon felt the City should not bear the costs.  He as been approached with a pitch also and the fees are becoming very minimal.  Mr. Newcomb said he would like to get permission for he and Mr. Kinnamon to explore what would be best overall.  There still may be some small costs associated with it.

Mayor Jackson-Stanley stated she agreed.  Some people never get a paper check, it is directly deposited.  No upfront fees sounds too good to be true.

Mr. Newcomb said some charge for equipment , etc. but even those fees are becoming minimal.  BB & T, a local bank is the one who made the pitch to Mr. Kinnamon.  Their costs sounded really good.

Mr. Pasden asked if we have thought thru how this would work?  Would someone have to bring the card into the office or could they mail.

Mayor Jackson-Stanley stated maybe even pay on-line.

Mr. Newcomb explained he has been in touch with our computer programmer if we wanted to carry it further that way.  The way it would work, someone could call and give us the number and pay it that way.  This he mentioned previously would be ideal for absentee landlords when the water has been shut off. They could pay immediately for service to be reconnected. This is an area in which he thought would be good.  Now it is to the point where a lot of people have these cards.  It is amazing how it all works.

Mayor Jackson-Stanley said it is now, not the future.

Mr. Pasden stated he pays his electronically, but the bank sends out the check.

Mr. Newcomb said we have a direct debit system in play, which is done by application at the office. 

Mayor Jackson-Stanley asked Mr. Newcomb is he asking permission to explore how we can come up to the 21st century?

Mr. Pasden made a motion for Mr. Newcomb and Staff to explore and bring our bill collecting methodology to modern technology with a financial alliance for global. Seconded by Ms. Alschbach. Passed.

Replacement of Commissioner Prahl

Mayor Jackson-Stanley stated her and Mr. Pasden were both on the same page to see that Mr. Prahl is in someway recognized for his City contribution and service.  She made up a rough draft for presentation but also discuss his replacement.  She asked Mr. Newcomb what is the normal protocol for replacement?

Mr. Newcomb said normally the appointment is by the Mayor, and  approved by City Council.  In the past years they have tried to have a representative from each ward.

Mr. Charles Hachmeister has expressed interest in being on the board. 

Mayor Jackson-Stanley said she would read the charter about members on the board.

Mr. Newcomb said he would check with his brother about having a little something for Mr. Prahl at the October meeting.

Other Old Business

Mr. Pasden stated he did not remember any discussion about the operation numbers from last year and here it is two month into the new year.

Mr. Newcomb said as a rule we usually don't get the audit reports back until the 1st of November. We will probably get a draft by the middle of October.

Pink's Pond Estates

Mr. Newcomb said he received a letter from Mr. Ryan Showalter from Miles and Stockbridge which everyone has a copy.  There is also a map enclosed.  The City Council by code has delegated the MUC  powers to administer, maintain, manage, operate, repair, expand and charge for service of the water supply distribution system, thus the purpose of this board.

Years ago the water system extended water supply to the Jenkins Creek subdivision. At that time the City Council felt strongly not to supply water to areas of growth outside the City Limits.  That is why the City Council put in the Code that only thru City Council approval  any extension of the water supply outside the city limits without annexation.

Mr. Newcomb said he wanted to bring this to the Commission's attention because the original request was made to us.

Mr. LeBlanc asked if the City were to allow this, how would be pay for this?

Mr. Newcomb stated  just for discussion , if it were approved, they would be responsible for the cost of putting it into the model and if it were inadequate fire flow, they would be required to upgrading the system to make it so.

Hyatt

We found a meter problem with the irrigation meter.  The meter only works at lower flows.  The meter was replaced once.  We ordered a new element forward on June 23rd.

The ship date is November 2nd.  The original meter was purchased by the contractor.

The first problem when it was replaced was stones in the meter.  This may very well be the same problem.  This is an eight inch meter.  We have lost a significant amount of revenue from this problem.  This particular account would depend on rainfall and it would be hard to estimate. Could explain a lot of unaccountable water.

Mayor Jackson-Stanley asked how do you resolve this?

We have to replace the measuring element.  We replaced the previous one.  We ordered the part in June and it is to be shipped in November. 

Mayor Jackson-Stanley asked six months to get a part is unacceptable.

Mr. Newcomb agreed. 

Mr. Pasden asked if we have to pay for this.  Mr. Newcomb said yes. 

Mayor Jackson-Stanley said the unaccountable water was up and that would explain some of it.

Magothy well - Station 7

Mr. Newcomb said he wanted to bring up a possibility to increase fire flow to many areas.  He would like to dig another well at Station 7.  All three aquifers would then be covered.  One good thing is the MUC is debt free.  Our present reserve is $800,000.

We estimate the cost to be approximately $471,000.

Mr. Pasden asked if there was any stimulus or grant money available?

Mr. Newcomb said he was not aware of any, nor was the Mayor.

Mr. Pasden asked if any previous board set an amount for reserves?

Mr. Newcomb said no.

Mr. Pasden asked if there was any other source of money to pay for the well other than reserves?

Mr. Newcomb said grant money, but again he was not aware of any.

Mr. Pasden said one thing for sure, next year it will not be any cheaper.  If we do not have any plans for increased revenue next year than it would be a smarter idea to spend the money now.

Ms. Alschbach asked if the design and preparation be extra?

Mayor Jackson-Stanley said she was looking at a proposal for a well design in front of her and it looks like it is to be paid separately.

Mr. Newcomb said they would submit a well design but we would let them know what we want constructed.  They have engineers on staff to understand the acquifers in the area. We will still have to have a design to show the physical layout and  electrical controls.

Mayor Jackson-Stanley asked if that was extra?

Mr. Newcomb said yes.

Mr. LeBlanc stated  it is usually about half of the construction.

Mr. Pasden said now we are up to about $700,000.

Mr. Newcomb said he can't believe it will be that high.

Mayor Jackson-Stanley said, back to Ms. Alschbach's question, will there be additional expenses?

Mr. Newcomb said there will be additional costs for engineer work.

Mayor Jackson-Stanley said with what she was looking at on page two of the proposal from AC Schultes, we will have used up the $800,000 in reserve.

Mr. Pasden said what they are looking for is a better estimate of the bottom line amount.

Mr. Newcomb said if their figure was $471,000, he felt they would not be looking at more than an addition amount of $30,000.

Mayor Jackson-Stanley said half of a million would be a good estimate?

Mr. Newcomb said their number of Mobilization is high and he felt it would not be that much.

Mayor Jackson-Stanley asked what did that mean, Mobilization?

Mr. Newcomb stated, bring equipment and setting up on site. 

Mayor Jackson-Stanley said is there a way to get a more realistic estimate?

Mr. Newcomb said if the board felt we should look into this more seriously, he would get proposals from engineering firms to provide a design and contract all assigns.

We could have a design cost and not go to bid.  We could have the design done, get the drawings done.  We would not necessarily have to do the well just yet.

Ms. Aslachbach asked if we could do this in steps?

Mr. Newcomb said yes.

Ms. Alschbach asked if this is the only company around that does this?

Mr. Newcomb said there is one in Talbot County, Shannahan, which drilled a few wells in the City years ago.  They do not drill this large a well anymore.

AC Schultes is the only large well driller in this area.  Lane Drillers are in Richmond.

Mr. Pasden said he felt we would move forward.

Ms. Alschbach said baby steps, maybe at least go for the design.

Ms Alschbach made a motion that we begin with the design and what else?

Mr. Newcomb stated he would request a motion to receive consultant proposals request from firms to provide design work for a Magothy Well at our Station #7.

Ms. Alschbach made that motion, seconded by Mr. Pasden.  Passed.

Mr. Newcomb stated that what they just approved will get us started with no commitment of any money being used from our reserve fund.

City Budget Reductions

Mr. Newcomb stated the City has required all departments to use furlough days.  He did ask the council why the MUC was affected?  They felt it should cover all City employees. The furlough days amount to about $18,700 reduction in salaries.  The City  also informed us we receive about $90,000 from the city sewer service fund. This year  the city reduced that by $32,000.  He felt we will be okay this year.  Mr. Newcomb said his only concern was he understood that the money being paid from the Sewer Service fund was money being paid by users to the sewer service fund, it is not less because of fewer taxes coming in and could only be used for sewer service.  It is a reduction in our proposed revenue for this year.

Mr. Pasden asked was that in our budget?

Mr. Newcomb said yes, $98,000.

Mr. Pasden asked Mr. Newcomb, were employees allowed to take annual leave or sick leave on their furlough days?

Mr. Newcomb said no.  This City will close 5 days.  Employees making under $30,000 are required to take 3 furlough days.  The other  2 days that we are closed they will have the option to use a vacation or personal day.  Employees making between 30, 000 and 50,000 will have to take 9 days.  Any over $50,000 will be have to take 10 days.  Starting October 1st, the City will reduce your salary evenly over the 19 pay periods left in the year.

Most employees were happy with that idea.

Mr. LeBlanc said he was happy to be employed.

Superintendent's report

Mr. Newcomb said he is pleased that we have had very few leaks.  This also allowed us to work more on the West by-pass line.

In the month of July that was the 18,000,000 million unaccounted for. 24%.

August is even less leaks and the unaccountable water  is 18%.

Mr. Newcomb said he included a graph and the consumption  billed

Consumption shows the decrease in water sales.

Mr. Pasden asked if there was a way to show if it was residential, commercial or manufacturing. 

Mr. Newcomb said it was in manufacturing.  If you remember Coldwater Seafood hurt us the most. They were outside City and we received twice the amount because of the outside rate.  For MUC, it was a reduction of $105,000 a year in revenue.  Commercial is slightly down and residential is up.

Mr. Pasden stated we have not lost a lot of residents, so it should be pretty much the same usage over time. 

Mr. Newcomb said the pumpage has declined.

Mr. Pasden stated which puts a lot more pressure on us to find and fix those leaks and reducing that 24% unaccountable water.

Mr. Newcomb said absolutely.

Mr. Newcomb went over the General Ledger Balance as of July 30th.

Our reserve account amount to $872,131.86.   Our billing is just about the percentage we had hoped for.  Monthly consumption report was low for July 55,776 which should be about 10 ,000 to 15,000 more due to the Hyatt meter.

August General Ledger showed very little difference in the reserves.  Billing is in line with projected totals.  Acct#4250 Sewer Service charge shows 98,000 budgeted  and we will get $50,000 less.

Expenses of the maintenance of physical plant, we had $54,000 for the Stone Boundary Tank in July.

Total consumption bill in August, 57,180. 

Mr. Newcomb said this is all he has for this meeting.

With no other business to discuss, motion to adjourn was made by Mr. Pasden, seconded by Ms. Alschbach.   Adjourned at approximately 7.55pm.

Respectfully submitted:

Jane Dorman