September 2013

Minutes

Webb Creek Utility District

Friday, September 6, 2013

 

Commissioners Present

Steven McCarter, President

Robert Vick, Vice President

Delmar Ball, Secretary

 

In Attendance

Wayne Ball, District Manager (Staff)

Karen Huffaker, Interim Office Manager (Staff)

Gary McGill, McGill and Associates

Donald Wallace, Utility Customer

 

Meeting Minutes

 

Determination of a Quorum and Call to Order

With a quorum present, Steven McCarter called the September 2013, WCUD Board of Commissioners meeting, held at the district office located at 3625 Lindsey Mill Road, Gatlinburg, TN. 37738, to order at 10:00 a.m.

 

Item 1 – Approval of Agenda    

Steven McCarter made a motion to approve the agenda.  The motion was seconded by Robert Vick, with all voting in favor of the motion.

 

Item 2 – Approval of August 2, 2013 Meeting Minutes

Delmar Ball made a motion to approve the minutes from the previous board meeting held on August 2, 2013.  This motion was seconded by Robert Vick with all voting in favor of the motion.

 

Item 3 – District Manager’s Report

Wayne Ball introduced Karen Huffaker as interim office manager and also noted Edward Burke, who holds a TN Class IV Waste Water Operators License, and was hired primarily to assist with the operation of the waste water treatment plant.

 

Item 3 – District Manager’s Report (continued)

Mr. Ball reported of inquiries being made by customers to obtain a credit card machine to be placed in the office. Mr. McCarter stated his approval of getting a credit card machine at the office for the convenience of the customers.  Robert Vick stated the importance not having a long term contract and to be careful of excessive the fees that are charged by the third party company.  Ms. Huffaker will check on options and report back to board next meeting.

 

Mr. Ball reported on bank account information and a summary of account balances was provided to the commissioners. The operating account balance was down from the previous month due to the payment of invoices for the new SCATA system and hand held meter readers along with payment of sales taxes. Funds were transferred from the operating account to the money market account and to the debit service fund making sure the accounts meet state requirements.

 

Mr. Ball reported a monthly water loss of 7% with no leaks.

 

Mr. Ball reported on his conversation with Newport Utilities (NU) about attaching a new SCATA system to their meter.  The NU representative said it was fine to do now, but it would be better if we waited until they updated their software.  Once the update is in place, we may be able to see the information directly from their website.  This would save WCUD the $6,000 to $7,000 cost of another SCATA system.  After some discussion, all commissioners were in agreement with Mr. Ball to wait on update.

 

Mr. Ball reported on NU’s recent rate increase.  Per an e-mail communication from NU on dated July 26, 2013, the NU board voted, at a board meeting on July 23rd, to increase the bulk rate from $2.87 per 1,000 gallons to $3.44 per 1,000 gallons effective August 1, 2013.  This new rate is $3.44 along with a higher surcharge rate, if we go over the contract specified rate of use, will be in effect until June 30, 2014, which is the end of their fiscal year.  Mr. Vick questioned concern of the large increase which was from $2.87 to $3.44, making it almost a 20% increase.  Mr. McCarter inquired on whether Newport Utility had guidelines on how they raise rates or what they could raise.  Mr. McGill explained they have a financial calculation on their cost of service and rate is set annually on this cost.  Depending on this calculation, rates can go up or down annually.    Mr. McGill also stated that he spoke to them about WCUD during contract negotiations, and because of our fiscal year being off theirs by six months, Newport Utility will give us a projection so we can budget any rate changes into our yearly budget and that Newport Utility will give us a 60 or 90 day notice before any rates actually change.  This notice was not given prior to the August 1, 2013 rate increase.

 

Item 4 – Interim Office Manager’s Report

Ms. Huffaker suggested we check into Quick Books to replace Mass90 if it shows to be a simpler accounting system with less expensive technical support.  Ms. Huffaker will gather information on this and report back to the board next meeting.

 

Ms. Huffaker stated that a Mass90 trainer from Pugh and Company would be available for training.  The training time is being scheduled to get Ms. Huffaker up to speed on the district accounting system.

 

Item 5 – John Steven McCarter, President Report

Mr. McCarter stated that he wanted to address compensation for the District manager but wanted to wait until the end of the meeting to discuss under New Business.

 

Item 6 – Robert Vick, Vice-President Report

Mr. Vick, as acting Plan Administrator for the district, reported on Health Insurance progress for 2014.  Our agent expects to have information for discussion by the November meeting.

 

Mr. Vick stated Bent Creek could take a formal complaint to the Utility Management review Board (UMRB) by approximately October 15, 2013 to make the December UMRB meeting.  (The matter is discussed later until Item 8. Gary McGill)

 

Mr. Vick reported that a TAUD Utility Leadership Conference, from November 6-8, is being held in Gatlinburg.  Mr. Vick suggested all commissions attend to keep up their continuing education.  Mr. Vick also suggested that Wayne Ball and Ms. Huffaker attend because of the large amount of important information gained from attendance.  Mr. Vick made a motion for all listed to have the opportunity to attend.  Mr. McCarter seconded the motion and the motion was approved by all.  Ms. Huffaker will make note and check on the details for attending.

 

 

Item 6 – Robert Vick, Vice-President Report (continued)

Mr. Vick stated that Daniel Franklin from Pugh and Company suggested, at the August meeting, that we consider using their company throughout the year and find another firm to do financial audits eliminating a potential conflict of interest.  Mr. McGill stated that Pugh and Company, because of help we need during the year and the history we have with them, may be more helpful to us during the year and finding another firm to perform the financial audit may be a good idea.  Mr. McGill also agreed to give the district some recommendations on auditors who have experience with utility districts.   This way we would have two sets of eyes to catch any problems.  Mr. McGill will provide information on financial auditors so the district can obtain proposals.

 

Mr. Vick recommended that the district consider reviewing and improving the current job descriptions, which are too lengthy and general, and difficult to manage during personnel evaluations.  Mr. Vick also recommended the district abandon the job title of Assistant Manager and come up with an appropriate job title for Ms. Huffaker.

 

Item 7 – Delmar Ball, Secretary

Mr. Ball had no official report.

 

Item 8 – Gary McGill, McGill and Associates

Mr. McGill addressed issue with Bent Creek.  He, along with Jim Gass, received a letter from Bob Vance, attorney for Bent Creek, in August.  This letter asks for updates on what he had done on the 2006, 2007 and 2008 where he compared the water purchased, usage, and what their revenue payments to the overall total water purchased and used by the District along with the total District revenue.   Mr. Vance wants to know if they are paying their prorated share of revenue and are they getting their prorated share of the water for that revenue.  Mr. McGill stated the chart he created with these numbers compared within 1%.  Mr. McGill feels if meeting can be held with Mr. Vance will be closer to settling.  Mr. McGill stated that the Wayne Ball has said the flow information was in Nashville with other utility records due to the audit.  Mr. Vick stated that the flow information from the last few years may be available from the utility billing system.  Mr. McGill will check with Wayne Ball on the information.

 

Item 9 – Unfinished Business

There was no unfinished business.

 

Item 10 – New Business

Mr. McCarter addressed the issue of a pay increase for Wayne Ball to go along with his promotion last month to District Manager.  Mr. Vick stated that retroactive pay should be approved, for hours worked at the higher wage, because Wayne Ball was appointed District Manager at the August meeting and has been performing the job function since that time.  Matters of experience, training, and qualifications were discussed.  Mr. Vick stated that Wayne Ball is new to the job, would benefit from additional training and experience, and that the District Manager should be certified in water and/or waste water.  Wayne Ball stated that he plans to take the next available water certification exam.

 

Mr. Wallace stated that the district policies are not up-to-date on the web site.  Wayne Ball stated he would check that out and make the necessary changes.

 

A motion to adjourn the meeting was made by Mr. Ball.  Mr. Vick seconded the motion and the motion was approved by all.