Call to Order – Chairman J.B. White called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. Board members present were J.B.White, Eddie Roberts, Jr., and Eddie Ford; also present were Marcie Seleb, general manager, Herbert Head, water production superintendent, Teresa Swan, plant operator, and Joyce Hosey, clerk to the board.
Opening Prayer – Mr. Roberts opened the meeting with a prayer.
Approval of Minutes from Previous Meetings – Mr. Roberts made a motion to dispense with the reading of the minutes from the March 11, 2014 meeting. This was seconded by Mr. Ford and approved unanimously.
Mr. Norris joined the meeting.
Gold and Platinum Award Recognition -Recognition was given to all treatment plant operators for the 2013 Gold Awards presented to the Burford Water Treatment Plant and the Bucksnort Ranch Land Application System and for the 2013 Platinum Award presented to the Stewart Water Treatment Plant. Ms. Seleb expressed special appreciation to Teresa Swan, who is the only regular operator at the Stewart plant, which has won the award for seven straight years. Board members thanked Mr. Head and Ms. Swan for their service to the Authority and the community. Mr. Head and Ms. Swan left the meeting.
Review Compact Track Loader Bids – Only two bids were received for the compact track loader, which has been approved in the current budget for the water distribution unit.
The low bid was received from Metroquip for a Mustang brand unit at $53,327. The other bid, from Yancey Brothers, was $$57,156, for a Caterpillar unit. $70,000 had been allocated in the budget for this piece of equipment. The Mustang unit has not been demonstrated and staff is unfamiliar with the brand, or with Metroquip’s service capabilities. Board members recommended that staff request a demonstration of this product before making a decision.
Confirm Selection of Bond Attorney – Board members reviewed pricing received from six different legal firms for bond counsel and disclosure services on the revenue bonds sought to refinance two existing Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) loans. The lowest price proposal was from Jones, Cork, and Miller at $33,000. The estimated cost of this work had been set at $41,250. Due to the need to move ahead quickly, Chairman White had signed an agreement with Jones, Cork, and Miller on March 28, 2014. A motion was made by Mr. Ford to confirm the selection of Jones, Cork and Miller as bond counsel and disclosure services attorney for the revenue bond issuance. This was seconded by Mr. Norris and approved unanimously. A tabulation of all bids received is attached and made a part of these minutes.
Clarification of Leave Accrual While on Leave – Ms. Seleb stated that the existing personnel policy does not clarify how leave should be accrued when an employee is on leave. After investigating this issue, Ms. Seleb recommended the following verbiage be added to the Authority’s personnel policy:
All employees who are actively at work, or on paid annual or sick leave, will continue to accrue paid leave benefits provided by the Authority. Generally, employees on unpaid leave will not be entitled to continue accruing paid leave benefits. This includes employees who are receiving income replacement benefits such as short-term disability, long-term disability, or workers’ compensation.
However, employees on eligible military leave may be entitled to reinstatement upon returning from military leave with all benefits that would have been obtained but for being absent on military leave. This right is provided for by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), and is known as the “escalator principle.”
When an employee is out on leave that is protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), that employee will continue accruing paid leave as long as the employee is using paid leave benefits such as the items listed above. If an employee on FMLA leave uses all paid leave in accordance with the company’s FMLA policy and remains unable to return to work, then the remainder of the FMLA leave will be unpaid. During the period of unpaid FMLA leave, the employee will not continue to accrue paid leave, consistent with the company’s policy for all types of unpaid leave.
A motion by Mr. Norris was made to approve this addition to the policy. This was seconded by Mr. Ford and approved unanimously.
Additional Step to Pay Plan – Ms. Seleb informed board members that several employees are at, or near to, Step 15 of the Authority’s pay plan. This is the final step of the plan. She requested that the Authority approve a temporary Step 16 of the pay plan so that effected staff members will not face a freeze in wages. She also stated that she would like to undertake an overhaul of the pay plan within the next year.
Operations Overview for the Month – Ms. Seleb stated that water use and billing for the month of March was down considerably after customers had repaired many leaks caused by the ice and extreme cold weather of January. Average combined system pumping was 2.2 million gallons per day, with the maximum daily pumping of 2.5 million gallons. Water billing was $182,038.
An average of 310,000 gallons per day was received at the Bucksnort Ranch Land Application System. Sewer billing was $44,958.
Four new subdivision water service connections were sold in March, three of which included sewer service. Water accounts totaled 5,323 with 4,800 active water customers. Sewer accounts totaled 133 with 130 active sewer customers.
Hwy. 16 West Sewer – Video of the installed project shows that one relined section must be done again due to an irregular surface. All relined sections still must be pressure tested.
Great American Travel Center – The bore under Hwy. 16 has been completed. Water main and the meter vault will be installed in the coming week.
Nathan Thaxton Road Extension – Materials for the project have been delivered. Ted Spears has agreed to grant an easement on his property extending approximately 2000 linear feet in exchange for one 3/4″ tap at no cost. A motion was made by Mr. Norris to give Mr. Spears a no cost water tap in exchange for the easement. This was seconded by Mr. Roberts and approved unanimously.
Henry County Emergency Tie-ins – The connections between the Authority’s system and Henry County on Hwy. 42 and Keys Ferry Road are complete and ready to use.
Hwy. 16 East Sewer – Bids will open on April 30, 2014 for the lift station and deep gravity sewer needed to serve the southeast quadrant of the Highway 16 in Interstate 75.
South River Bridge Replacement – The Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT) has re-activated the South River Bridge Replacement project which has been dormant since 2008. The Authority will need to relocate its water main crossing on Hwy. 36 at Elizabeth Circle to accommodate elevation changes for the project. The cost of the relocation was estimated at $25,000. DOT will open bids in May 2014.
Industry Appreciation Breakfast – Ms. Seleb reminded board members of the Industry Appreciation Breakfast to be held April 11, 2014 at 7:30 a.m. at the Central Georgia Electric Membership Cooperative.
Financial Report – Ms. Seleb went over the financial summaries for Water & Sewer Operations, Capital Recovery Fees and Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) for March 2014. Water operations income was $195,980, and expenses were $265,889. Sewer operations income for March 2014 was $45,091, and expenses were $33,687.
The Authority continues to use 2007-12 SPLOST to pay the monthly debt on the Bucksnort Ranch expansion loan. As of April 7, 2014, $339,223 remained in 2007-12 SPLOST funds for this purpose.
New 2013-19 SPLOST funds of $54,274 were received in March. Overall, $438,882 has been received in SPLOST, $21,912 in SPLOST-TATV, and $152 in interest for a combined balance of $460,946 through April 7, 2014.
Total cash on hand through the end of March was $6,753,256. This is $583,254 over the June 30, 2013 balance. Copies of financial summaries, combined fund balance sheets, and combined fund income statements are attached and made a part of these minutes.
Review Bills Paid – Board members reviewed check registers and credit card statements for the month of March 2014.
Adjourn – A motion was made by Mr. Roberts to adjourn meeting at 6:30 p.m. This was seconded by Mr. Norris and approved unanimously.