Thurston Board of Public Affairs
November 08, 2005
The meeting was called to order by Lowell @ 6:30 P.M.
Roll call: Lowell Hite, present; Bev Reese, present; Laura Clark, present; Aaron Reedy, present.
Visitors present: Mike Wagner, Zeke McClurg, JoAnn Hite, Michelle Shumaker (Village Secretary), Mary Barber (Mayor)
Mike needs a 2” water tap for the new car wash he is building by his current business (Fast Max). He said it will have a water recycling system that will have a 4500 gallon tank. He is wants to pay a reasonable tap fee. Ordinance 12-20-90-2 says that for a connection over ¾”, the tap fee is 50-cents per square foot of the structure. Mike said it will be 126’ x 30’, which is 3,780 square feet. That total fee would be $1,890. Mike said there are some months he won’t use any water at all. Lowell told him the minimum charge is about $30 per month. Mike said he would like a break on the tap fee. Lowell told Mike to make sure his contractors install a device to prevent backflow. Lowell said board will discuss it and get back to Mike.
Mike and Zeke left and the board discussed the request. If they make an exception for one, they would be setting a bad precedent. Bev made a motion to not give Mike a break on the tap fee, but to leave it at 50-cents per square foot, per the ordinance. Laura second. All yea.
Bev made a motion to approve the October 2005, meeting minutes. Laura second. All yea.
Laura made a motion to accept the October 2005 Financial Statement. Bev second. All yea.
The board reviewed an e-mail from Richard Gould. Aaron will have Michelle send a letter to Mr. Gould with a copy of the past-due history. Michelle asked Lowell about charging Gould for the new lid on the meter that had to be replaced due to Mr. Gould driving heaving equipment over the truck and breaking it. Lowell said he didn’t know how much just the lid portion would be, but to call Midwest Pipe and find out. He needs to be charged for the replacement lid.
Michelle asked the Board about the Water Service Agreement with Walnut Creek Sewer District (WCSD). She said in Section L, it says that “BOPA agrees to require the customer to pay $62.50, as of May 1999 or the current cost thereafter for new water meters and replacement water meters where a replacement water meter is required to be installed because of customer neglect, abuse or freeze up,” etc. Michelle asked if we have ever charged this fee. Lowell said this was supposed to cover when meter freezes up and busts (they must not have had heat tape on it). Michelle says she’s never seen that situation, so she’s wondering if we’re charging people the way we should. Lowell said we are.
Michelle asked about Section M of the agreement – regarding charges for voluntary shut-offs. Michelle said we’ve never charged this fee, and she gave several examples of when we should have. No specific response was given by the board.
Michelle asked about Section I of the agreement – regarding providing WCSD with the tools necessary to do their work. She asked if we needed to get more tools, for instance Klouse has a 2” meter, but don’t have the tool to turn them on/off. Lowell said he has tried to shut it off, but couldn’t.
Michelle asked if we were enforcing any “work hours” for turning disconnected services back on. She didn’t like that Lowell has to do it any time of the day. Lowell said that when the WCSD takes over full responsibility, they will go by their hours.
Michelle said that Linda Crow paid her tap fee.
Michelle asked if we had guidelines or requirements of how taps are to be installed. Lowell said the WCSD inspects installations of water and sewer taps per the water agreement. Aaron couldn’t find in the contract where that was listed. Lowell said the contract says one thing one place and something else in another place.
Michelle asked when we were going to increase water tap fees. Lowell said he wasn’t aware of it. Aaron said the Finance Committee and discussed increasing the water tap fee to a flat $1500. Lowell asked why. Aaron said it was to bring us up in alignment with what other entities are charging in Fairfield County. Michelle called around and compiled a list of tap fees from other entities. She shared the list with the board. Lowell said Baltimore charges so much because they install the tap themselves. Aaron said he was not aware of that and would let Council know. Lowell also said that if you leave it a flat $1,500, then any company can come in and be as big as 40 acres and only have to pay $1,500. Aaron said he would let Council know so they can consider raising the rate for commercial taps. Aaron pointed out that WCSD sewer tap fee was $1,500, so they must be installing that tap. Lowell said they are not. Aaron asked why it was so high then. JoAnn said it was because the WCSD was money-hungry.
Lowell told Michelle that she or Council should come up with something for water meter installation guidelines. Aaron suggested she contact Pleasantville for some samples. Michelle said there should be regulations for placement of meters, too. Lowell had to crawl in the mud to replace a meter under a trailer. She said it seems we should have a placement and access plan to give to customers; and that since BOPA is in charge of all that, we should have some guidelines. Bev said that the current ordinance states that the meter must be placed in a reasonable and convenient location; that should cover it.
Michelle said that Ordinance 12-20-90-2, Section 3, states that contractors installing the tap must be approved by the BOPA and post a $250 bond prior to installation. Lowell said we just need a copy of the bond.
Michelle said that the Meter Service Checklist is looking good (those needing replacement). Hutchison, Lester & Vera Seevers in the trailer court still need done. Michelle said she sent a letter about the Seevers meter to Chris Whightsel, since he is the property owner. The ordinance from October 1, 1982 says it falls on the property owner. Michelle asked why he fixed Dixon’s meter, who is in the trailer court. He said he did it because Tammy wasn’t charging enough. Lowell said to send a letter to Vera Seevers about the meter.
Michelle said he got a call from Hugh Farmer asking why he was still being billed since the house has been empty. She explained about the minimum charge. Hugh said he will pay what’s due. Most of it was already assessed to the property. Michelle asked how we change anything on the account since the property has been sold. Lowell said when they come in, tell them they owe from since they bought the property.
Michelle said Larry Robinson’s property went up for Sheriff’s sale. Lowell said we should have turned in the bill to them. They used to call the finance company or real estate agent and tell them there was an outstanding bill. Michelle asked how do we track what’s for sale? Lowell said it’s in the paper. Michelle asked who’s responsibility it was to track all this in the paper.
Michelle shared a spreadsheet with the Board of how much water we purchased from Baltimore each month versus what we billed for the last 12 months. It’s about 1.7 million gallons short. She wonders if it’s because of faulty meters or a lot of leaks.
Michelle said the check for Account # 218B came back from the bank today. She left a message at their house. This was for their September bill. They now owe for three months. She wondered what BOPA would like to do now – normal procedures? Lowell said to try to contact them. If it’s not paid by shut-off date, we’ll turn her off.
Aaron asked about reading meters every other month instead of monthly. That would save us some money. Lowell said we wouldn’t be able to catch faulty meters quickly enough.
Aaron shared a bill from WCSD for PC maintenance and software annual maintenance. It was for $711.94. Everyone agreed it was okay to pay. Lowell said we have to.
Lowell said Baltimore water rates are going up the first of the year, so we’ll have to take a look at increasing the rates again.
Lowell asked Michelle what her hours were. She said 9 am – 1 pm. Lowell said “sometimes.” Michelle said she stops at the post office first thing. Lowell asked Michelle was Tammy at WCSD’s hours were. She said she wasn’t sure, but she’s always there when she needs her. Lowell said they didn’t know what Tammy’s hours were, either. JoAnn said “Well, we’re gonna find out next meeting.”
Bev made a motion to adjourn. Laura second. All yea. Time-8:10 P.M.
Aaron L. Reedy, Clerk