THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE BOARD OF PUBLIC WORKS
June 15, 2020
The regular meeting of the Board of Public Works was held on June 15, 2020 at 4:00 pm in the City Council Chambers. Those in attendance were President John Neer, Board Member J.D. King, Board Member Brian Terry, General Manager Stephanie Wilson, Assistants to the General Manager Bryce Butner and Benjamin Stueve, Mayor Talt Holman, City Administrator Avis Marshall. Jon Kelly, a citizen of Macon, was an attending guest.
President John Neer called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. Board Member J.D. King made a motion, seconded by Board Member Brian Terry, to approve the minutes from the May 18, 2020 meeting. The motion carried with three votes for and none against.
Jon and Jo Vaughn Kelly experienced a sewer back-up at their residence on May 7, 2020 and wanted to visit with the Board about the insurance claim. The cause of the back-up was found to be flushable wipes from an unknown address on their section of the wastewater collection main. Macon Municipal Utilities (MMU) filed a claim with its liability provider, which they denied due to the sewer back-up being no fault of MMU. After details of the claim were shared, Board Member Brian Terry made a motion, seconded by Board Member J.D. King, for this specific incident to assist with 50% of the expenses in the amount of $383.16 due to it not being the homeowner’s fault either with the condition that the homeowner installs a backflow prevention device and signs a hold harmless agreement for further damages relating to this claim. The motion passed with three votes for and none against. MMU has added this section of wastewater collection main to its preventative maintenance list and will send letters to the eight homes on the affected section of wastewater collection main advising them to not flush any paper products other than toilet paper as toilet paper is the only product that dissolves in the sanitary sewer main. Information about backflow prevention devices will also be shared with the homeowners.
For the first item on the agenda, a video was shown noting the architecture of the design elements for the Headworks Project at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. Screens, pumps, grit removal, and a generator have been pre-bid. The project is expected to be let for bid to contractors in July and all items let for bid will be reviewed for approval at the August 17, 2020 Board of Public Works meeting.
Next item was a Review of the Forward Planning Document prepared by management. This document originally created in 2011 and updated periodically is useful in budget preparations for all departments. Attention was given to short-term and long-term needs at MMU. Relating to this document, the next item on the agenda was the Approval of Minimum Cash Reserves Statement which establishes an agreed up adequate level of reserve funds based on future planning needs for MMU. Board Member J.D. King made a motion, seconded by Board Member Brian Terry, to approve the document as presented. The motion carried with three votes for and none against.
Next item on the agenda was Monthly Review of Financials for May 2020. Electric usage is 1.9% less than 2019 year-to-date and timing differences for activity resulted in the fund not performing as well as prior years. Water and wastewater funds are performing per seasonal trends and commodity prices for natural gas is at a historic low.
Next item on the agenda was Discussion of Customer Accounts Affected by COVID-19 and Resuming Normal Operations. General Manager Stephanie Wilson noted that due to Governor Mike Parson’s announcement on June 11, 2020 that was discussed amongst cities and counties, City Hall will be open to the public beginning June 16, 2020. Based on a discussion of the status of customer accounts and that the majority of other utilities are resuming normal operations relating to customer accounts, President John Neer made a motion, seconded by Board Member Brian Terry, to begin assessing penalties on customer accounts due to non-payment on June 16, 2020 for June 1, 2020 statements, to begin disconnections due to non-payment on June 22, 2020, and to allow customers to make payment arrangements for balances from March, April, and May without penalty to be paid in full by October 31, 2020. Also, due to the Macon R-1 Public School’s reduced funding allocation from the State of Missouri, President John Neer made a motion, seconded by Board Member J.D. King, to process a refund in the amount of $4,603.20 which reflects a discount of demand for electricity for May and June statements. The motion carried with two votes for and one against.
Under manager reports, Ms. Wilson shared various updates relating to a timeline being established for the 2021 budget preparations, completion of audits, building and grounds improvements, and business office processes. Regarding building and ground maintenance improvements, the Board was in agreement to waive late completion fee penalties to JT Holman Construction, LLC for the City Hall retaining wall, stairs, flat work project due to delays related to COVID-19. A 4-bay garage to house equipment and allow for inside work on larger equipment is currently under construction at 301 Vine Street. Also, Board Member Brian Terry made a motion, seconded by Board Member J.D. King, to agree to 50/50 cost share of a boat dock and fishing station that would be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act at Macon Lake. The project was submitted to the Industrial Development Authority with a full funding request on June 10, 2020 and will be submitted again with the 50/50 proposal on July 8, 2020. The total cost of the two docks is $30,140.00. The motion passed with three votes for and none against.
Assistants to the General Manager, Benjamin Stueve and Bryce Butner provided updates on the Energy Centers, Special Services Group, Electric Distribution and Underground Facilities. At the Macon Energy Center simple cycle operations were noted and at Audrain Energy Center a semi-annual inspection was performed with Solar during a POET outage. Electric Distribution changed out a 3-phase transformer bank pole at the post office on Sunday, May 31st, worked on overhead take off pole for Wellington Way underground project, cleared trees from lines to maintain clearance, potholed electric on Walnut for City storm water and street resurfacing project plus replaced several streetlight and service poles in various locations. An overhead to underground project for primary electric line began the week of June 15th. For underground facilities, a 4” water main on W. Goggin was abandoned due to the new main installation. Also, a building that will house lift station controls at the W. Bourke lift station for climate control is near completion and two sections of a wastewater collection main that were bored through with fiber in the early 2000’s were identified for repair. For natural gas, staff met with the Public Service Commission to conduct instant off readings of feeder line test stations and observed a contractor bore under the high pressure main in Cairo, Missouri.
Regarding updates from Supervisors Ed Samel at the Water Treatment Plant and Ronny Smith at the Wastewater Treatment plant, general operations and maintenance were noted. At the water treatment plant, operators are preparing for next level certification testing. At the wastewater treatment plant, sampling of ConAgra Frozen Foods, Inc effluent is taking place to assist with setting limits for the industrial user permit that expires at the end of the year and MMU was asked by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources if it would participate with COVID-19 wastewater sampling.
After approval of accounts payable and setting the next regular meeting for Monday, July 20, 2020 at 4:00 p.m., a motion was made by President John Neer, seconded by Board Member J.D. King, to go adjourn the meeting.
President John Neer adjourned the meeting at 5:55 pm.