THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE BOARD OF PUBLIC WORKS
February 22, 2021
A special meeting of the Board of Public Works was held on February 22, 2021 at 5:00 pm in the City Council Chambers. Those in attendance were President John Neer, Vice President Brian Terry, Board Member David Ausmus (via telephone), Board Member David Wilt, General Manager Stephanie Wilson, Assistants to the General Manager Bryce Butner and Benjamin Stueve, Controller Jennifer McLeland, Mayor James “Talt” Holman, City Administrator Avis Marshall, and City Councilman Anthony Petre. Attending citizens included Cherri Shamblin, Errol Poe and Dennis Fessler.
President John Neer called the meeting to order at 5:02 pm. Vice President Brian Terry made a motion, seconded by Board Member David Wilt, to approve the minutes from the February 15, 2021 meeting. The motion carried with four votes for and none against.
Discussion immediately began regarding the Increase in Natural Gas Prices. General Manager Stephanie Wilson shared pre-purchased and market prices for the month of February 2021. For the period February 13 -16, 2021 the spot market natural gas prices experienced a vertical increase from the $2 range to $225.00 per dekatherm. This increase coupled with increased usage due to a winter storm that affected the mid-section of the United States caused Macon Municipal Utilities to exhaust the annual budgeted amount of $1.8 million in a period of four days. A typical commodity bill for a winter month would be between $250 to $275 thousand. It is not yet known what impact the natural gas prices will have on the electric commodity due to higher input costs to produce electricity. Ms. Wilson shared that elected officials at the federal and state level have been helpful in promoting investigations into price gouging and relief packages are also being pursued. She also noted that while the temperatures were frigidly cold, it was noticeable that residents and businesses lowered their thermostats and reduced lighting needs to assist with maintaining supply of electricity and natural gas.
A lengthy discussion was held regarding customer usage and expense impacts. Passing along the commodity prices in short order was deemed to be unaffordable for customers. President John Neer made a motion, seconded by Vice President Brian Terry, to utilize reserves to pay February 2021’s natural gas commodity bill and to maintain the natural gas retail rate to customers for March 1st utility bills (usage period January 19 – February 17, 2021) at $.69 per ccf, the same as February 2021 statements. The motion passed with four votes for and none against. It was discussed that a plan will be put into place to rebuild reserves over a period of time. The Board directed Ms. Wilson to develop a letter to customers communicating the strategy.
Next item on the agenda was Approval of Bid to Proceed with Replacement of Insulators for 69 KV Line. After a recommendation from Assistant to the General Manager Ben Stueve and discussion, Vice President Brian Terry made a motion, seconded by Board Member David Ausmus, to approve to purchase 103 of the NGK Locke insulators from Fletcher-Reinhardt at $196.00 per item and a lead time of 16 weeks. The motion carried with four votes for and none against.
After setting the next regular meeting for Monday, March 15, 2021 at 4:00 pm, a motion was made by Vice President Brian Terry, seconded by President John Neer, to adjourn the meeting. The motion passed with four votes for and none against.
President John Neer adjourned the meeting at 6:10 pm.