THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE BOARD OF PUBLIC WORKS
March 16, 2020
The regular meeting of the Board of Public Works was held on March 16, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. Those in attendance were President John Neer (via phone), Vice President Kevin Butner (via phone), Board Member J.D. King, Board Member Brian Terry, General Manager Stephanie Wilson, Operations Consultant Scott Lucas, Assistants to the General Managers Bryce Butner and Ben Stueve, Controller Jennifer McLeland, Mayor Talt Holman, City Administrator Avis Marshall, City Councilman Tony Petre, and attending guest David Wilt. City Councilman Jarold Carr arrived near the end of the meeting.
Vice 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 Kevin Butner to approve the minutes from the February 17, 2020 meeting. The motion carried with four votes for and none against.
First item on the agenda was an election of officers for the Board of Public Works. Per the By-Laws, an election of officers shall be held at the first regular meeting at which all members are present following the appointment of a new board member. As Tim Watts was not re-appointed and Brian Terry was appointed at the February 24, 2020 City Council meeting, an election was held due to all being present. Board Member J.D. King made a motion, seconded by Board Member Kevin Butner, to nominate John Neer to be President of the Board of Public Works. The motioned passed with three votes in favor and none against. President John Neer made a motion, seconded by Board Member J.D. King, to nominate Kevin Butner to be Vice President of the Board of Public Works. The motion passed with three votes for and none against.
Next item on the agenda was a review of monthly financials for February 2020. All funds are performing year-to-date similar to 2019.
Next item was to discuss the Minimum Cash Reserve Statement. This internal document was first adopted in March 2019. At that time, it was noted that it should be updated annually to evaluate current reserves and targets based on future projects. The document was tabled to allow the Board another month for review.
Next item on the agenda was approval to proceed with the budgeted fixed asset replacement of the South Blees Lift Station. This lift station in the wastewater collection system is circa 1984 and has been slated next for rehabilitation as replacement parts cannot be located. Vice President Kevin Butner made a motion, seconded by Board Member J.D. King, to accept the low bid from Willis Brothers, Inc. in the amount of $91,177.00. The motion passed with four votes for and none against.
Next item on the agenda was discussion of legislation relating to territorial issues and future annexations. General Manager Stephanie Wilson shared updates on bills currently affecting municipalities under consideration in Jefferson City, Missouri during this legislative session.
Next item on the agenda was the approval of 2020 Truck & Labor Rates. General Manager Stephanie Wilson noted that rates have been updated to be current based on the current staff in each group to reimburse MMU for special services (courtesy call-outs, special projects, or mutual aid) plus truck and equipment rates have been made current. Board Member Brian Terry made a motion, seconded by Board Member J.D. King, to approve the document as presented. The motion passed with four votes for and none against.
Next item on the agenda was approval of Resolution 2020-02-24 Revised Personnel Policies for Employees of the City of Macon and Macon Municipal Utilities which was adopted by the City Council of Macon, Missouri on February 24, 2020. MMU has also been asked to approve updates to the personnel manual relating to time worked. Primarily “tours of duty” language was deleted and “duty” remains. The language change does not affect how MMU employees are treated given that everyone works in eight-hour increments. Also, a section has been added to the Purchasing section of the manual to allow for surplus property purchases and other items. The goal is to update the entire manual in 2020. Board Member J.D. King made a motion, seconded by Board Member Brian Terry, to adopt the updated Personnel Policies manual changes as presented. The motion passed with four votes for and none against.
Next item on the agenda was discussion of unfinished projects awarded to Holman Construction, LLC. The retaining wall and sidewalk project on the west side of City Hall was awarded to Holman Construction on April 15, 2019 preferred to be completed by September 30, 2019 and the 4-Bay Building to house Underground Facilities equipment was awarded on August 19, 2019 preferred to be completed by November 30, 2019. After much discussion, extensions were granted for the retaining wall and sidewalk project to be completed by May 1, 2020 and for the 4-Bay Building to be completed by July 10, 2020 with $100 per consecutive calendar day penalties each day thereafter. Board Member J.D. King made a motion, seconded by Board Member Brian Terry, to extend the time line for completion of both projects. The motion passed with four votes for and none against.
Managers shared operational updates from various departments. Covid-19 virus impacts were discussed at length. Staff is paying close attention to operations to provide continuity of service to customers. Also, MMU will use much leniency to work with customers on a case-by-case basis regarding options and abilities to pay utility bills. Staff will not be attending training events and MMU is declining out of town visits from vendors. Only deliveries are being accepted.
The opening meeting was paused to hold a Public Hearing regarding a Wastewater User Charge Ordinance. President John Neer suggested to proceed with the hearing at 5:00 pm fifteen minutes prior to the scheduled start time as no additional guests were expected and to conclude the meeting as timely as possible so that folks could separate in light of Covid-19 recommendations of small group gatherings. General Manager Stephanie Wilson shared that a public hearing and ordinance are required for wastewater rates each time that they are adjusted. The proposed rate adjustment would increase wastewater user fees by $.50 per 1,000 gallons. For an average residential customer that has a consumption of 3,233 gallons of water per month the monthly increase would be $1.62 per month. The most recent rate adjustment to wastewater fees was in March 2015. Comments from the public hearing included timing of the rate adjustment budgeted for 2020 given the recent Coronavirus outbreak and perception. Councilman Jarold Carr arrived during the discussion and he did not have additional comment. The public hearing was closed at 5:17 pm.
When the meeting reopened, the last item on the agenda was recommendation of the Wastewater User Charge Ordinance to be adopted by the City Council of Macon, Missouri. With much consideration, Kevin Butner made a motion, seconded by J.D. King, to recommend that the Wastewater User Charge Ordinance be passed at the Board of Public Works level and moved to the City Council for consideration for implementation. The motion passed with four votes for and none against.
Prior to the closure of the open meeting, Vice President Kevin Butner read the following statement: “Good Evening, I wanted to explain why I’m not in attendance this evening, and it is not because of Covid -19. I am very disappointed in our City’s Leadership decision to remove Tim Watts, as well as the person chosen to replace him. First, removing the President of a Board when no harm or malice has taken place, but rather because the City believes that we need younger blood on this Board is not only insulting, but a violation of Age Discrimination Laws. I also see this appointment in violation of the State’s Ethics Laws. The new member being a close friend, business partner, as well as a next-door neighbor (to Mayor Talt Holman) truly shows a violation of Ethics. For the life of me, I cannot understand why the Council would approve an individual that has never served on a community board, or served this community in any service orientated way over Tim Watts, who has led this Municipality in forward thinking, having well trained employees, along with a plan for the future with the funds to ensure that Macon will always have a solvent City Owned Utility. I do not plan to return to the Board (in person), until the decision is reversed and Tim is re-installed in his former position with the Board. Many things are at stake here. As a board member it is our responsibility to ensure we are focusing on the well-being of our Utilities for all the good citizens in Macon, with NO other agenda or purpose.”
After approval of accounts payable and setting the next regular meeting for Monday, April 20, 2020 a motion was made by President John Neer, seconded by J.D. King, to adjourn the meeting. The motion passed with four votes for and none against. President John Neer adjourned the meeting at 5:20 p.m.