Utility Meeting Minutes
October 16, 2017
The meeting was called to order by Chairman Cindy Endicott at 6:00 p.m. Present for the meeting were Chairman Endicott, Commission members Jayme Heim and Pegra Cobb, Clerk Joan Jauss, Joe Jurewicz from MSA and attached list of public.
Business from the floor: Joan asked Chair Endicott if one piece of Council business could be conducted with the utility meeting, since there is a quorum of Councilors, Chair Endicott agreed. Joan stated she received an email from Minnesota Power stating they need payment prior to the three phase work beginning at City Hall. The cost to bring the three-phase power in is $12,189.18. John G. made a motion to approve pre-paying Minnesota Power to bring the three-phase power into City Hall. Suzanne second the motion. All vote. Motion passed.
Approval of Minutes: The September 8, 2017 Utility Commission meeting minutes were approved with a motion from Jayme and second by Pegra.
Water Tower Painting Costs: Joan shared the breakdown of the final cost to paint the water tower; the total came to $180,543.92, the original estimate was around $220,000.
3rd Ave. S. sewer line: Joan received the PFA loan application and is working on it. Joe will re-check the estimated cost to do this project. It is everyone’s hope we can put this project out for bid in January. Joan shared she is still working with Scott @ Minnesota Pump on getting an estimate for the E-1 grinder stations.
WLSSD CAF Permit: Joan shared a copy of a new agreement from WLSSD for the City’s CAF permit. The peak allocation capacity and level of service are not the same. Cindy asked the difference; Joe stated the peak is one point at time, level of service is the capacity reserved at the plant. John W. stated to make sure WLSSD is not taking any of our extra capacity. We need to maintain our capacity at the Woodland and Hermantown Interceptors. John W. thought we had 40% capacity at the Woodland interceptor. Joe will check on the purpose of the new permit and let Joan know what he finds out.
WLSSD 2018 monthly charge: Joan shared a copy of a letter she received stating our 2018 WLSSD monthly fee. There is a rate increase of $1,645 or 3.45%. The rate increase is partially due to our exceedances. The allocation fee is the same.
Howard Gnesen I&I issues: Joan shared there are two residents that are served south of lift station 3 on Howard Gnesen Road. Joan sent letters to the two residents asking them to call and set up times when the City could do an inspection of their sump pumps and floor drains. Per Greg, an inspection was done on one of the homes and all is good, there does not appear to be any I&I coming from this residence. The floor drains and sump pumps are all installed properly. The other resident on the line does have a sump pump which is draining into the ditch. If the issue is a lateral pipe, we will need to remove the E-1 pump and televise, this should be done by a professional. Joe stated it could be a crack or bad seal in the basin; we will need to inspect to determine. Another way to check is to read the E1 hours for a couple of months. John W. stated he received a call from the resident filing a complaint on this issue. John W. stated he explained the purpose of the inspection and asked the resident to call City Hall and set up an appointment for and inspection. This line cannot be televised as it is a force main. The City should hire a contractor to inspect the basin and camera from the basin to the home. Bob @ Miller E1 would be a qualified contractor to open the E1 grinder.
Star Grant: Joe is working on writing up and applying for a Star Grant to help the City pay for the cost of inspections and finding I&I issues. Joe confirmed there are still Star Grant funds available. Joe also shared a copy of the televising camera he is going to spec in the application. He shared a draft copy for the grant for the Commission to review. Joan is to bring back to the Nov. meeting.
Water and Sewer rates: Due to rate increases from the City of Duluth as well as WLSSD, we will need to raise our rates for both water and sewer. John W. stated there will be a meeting with Legislators after the first of the year to discuss the water rate increases as well as another meeting with the City of Duluth. After much discussion, the Utilities Commission made the recommendation to increase the water rate effective Jan. 1, 2018 from $15.18 per 1,000 gallons to $15.36. The service charge will be increased from $6.50 per month to $7.00. Sewer rates will go from $12.17 per 1,000 gallons to $14.60 and the monthly service charge will go from $12.59 to $13.09. Flat rate residents will go from $66.75 to $70.00 per month. Joan asked the Utilities Commission to write an article for the Rice Lake paper also.
I&I Ordinance: A meeting was set up for Oct. 24, 2017 to discuss the proposed I&I Ordinance. Joan shared the City of Duluth has asked if we would like to meet to discuss what they are doing now and potentially how they are going to handle in the future. It was agreed we will meet this winter when things slow down.
Next meeting date: The next Utilities meeting will be November 20, 2017.
Having nothing further to discuss a motion was made by Jayme to adjourn the meeting. Pegra second the motion. All vote. Motion passed.