2018 February Utilities minutes

 Utility Meeting Minutes

February 13, 2018

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Cindy Endicott at 6:00 p.m.  Present for the meeting were Chairman Endicott, Commission member Jayme Heim, Mayor John Werner, Councilors John Goman, Bob Quade, and Suzanne Herstad, Clerk Joan Jauss, and Joe Jurewicz and Josie Olsen from MSA.  List of public attached.

Approval of Minutes: Jayme made the motion to approve the January 18, 2018 Utility Commission Minutes with the correction to the next meeting date, it should have been February 13, not 15 with a second by Cindy. All vote in favor.  Motion passed

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 asked Council to approve appointing Teresa Koivula as a Deputy Treasurer.  Due to vacations, we need to have another Deputy Treasurer appointed before the next Council meeting.  Joan also explained to Council she researched with City Attorney Mike Couri, every check needs to have the Mayor, Clerk, and Treasurer sign per Minnesota State Statute.   John G. made a motion to approve appointing Teresa Koivula as a Deputy Treasurer with a second by Suzanne.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.

Commission member oath: Joan swore Cindy Endicott in as the Utilities Commission Chair for a three-year term.

Correspondence: None

City of Duluth water rate increase: John W. stated Proctor has withdrawn its claim against the City of Duluth with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC).  City of Duluth Public Utilities has offered a uniform rate for all municipalities.  If approved by the City of Duluth PUC and the Duluth City Council, this would go into effect in April.

MSA and contractors: Joan shared with the Commission that per City Attorney Mike Couri, as long as there is an agreement that complies with all City Ordinances, specifications, and the contractor escrows the cost for the drawings before anything is done, our engineer could do the drawings.  The City would have no more liability if they draw or if they only review.  Cindy asked how the City knows how much the drawings would cost, Joe stated he would have to supply the estimated cost.  Once the drawings are done, MSA would no longer be involved with the contractor, he would work for the City only.  Cindy asked Joe if he would have any interest, Joe stated only if it is set up as Mike Couri noted and how John W. described.  John G. stated if MSA does the drawings then there are no competing plans.  Cindy and Jamie recommend MSA be allowed to draw the plans if City Council approves, we find out from the contractor what the scope of work is, water and/or sewer, and Joe gives the City an estimated cost based on the scope.

3rd Ave. South sewer: Joe stated he is checking references on the bidders.  He is hoping to bring to the March Council meeting for approval.  John W. stated he is talking with the City Attorney on some contractor concerns.  Suzanne asked if we are going to be doing any blasting in the ledge rock on 3rd Ave. S.  Joe stated no, wherever possible, we are going to use the existing trenches.  If the trenches need to be modified, they will use a hydraulic hammer.

2017 water/sewer comparison report: Joan shared the completed 2017 water/sewer comparison report with the Commission.  It was noted the we have a high-water loss and some I&I issues.  There were some questions as to how much the fire department uses during fires.

Utility account adjustment policy: Joan shared a copy of the utility account adjustment policy with the Commission.  The Commission felt the policy looked good.

Non-paying Customers: Last month at the Utility meeting there was a concern on how delinquent accounts are being collected.  Joan shared what the current policy is with the Commission.  Every quarter letters are written to water residents noting to pay on their account or be shut off.  Water and sewer customers are assessed to their property taxes for any outstanding balance over $100.  After discussing, it was decided to leave as is.

Star Grant: Joe stated that he is going to be submitting the Star grant at the end of the week, as there is still funding.  Joe will email Joan a copy of what is submitted.

WLSSD Grant: Joe shared a draft of a WLSSD grant application with the Commission.  He asked everyone to review and let Joan know of any changes.  Joe is going to submit the application at the end of the month. Joe explained the grant is to create a GIS of all the water and sewer lines and valve locations.  There will be an annual license for $500 the City will have to pay for.  The grant is for $17,500 of which $10,000 would be from WLSSD and the other $7,500 would be from the City.

Next meeting date: There will be an I&I meeting on March 13, 2018 and a Utilities meeting on March 19, 2018.

Having nothing further to discuss a motion was made by Cindy to adjourn the meeting with a second by Jayme.  All vote in favor.  Motion passed.