Minutes of the October 19, 2017 Meeting of the
Representative Advisory Board to the
Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority
Waterford Public Library
49 Rope Ferry Rd, Waterford, CT 06385
1. Call to Order and Roll Call
In the absence of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman at the start of the meeting, former Chairman Jeffrey Callahan ran this meeting of the SCWA Representative Advisory Board. Mr. Callahan called the meeting to order at approximately 7:07 p.m. Based on the fact that a majority of members were present (15 of 25), and/or a majority of the municipalities with appointed representatives were represented (12 of 15), this meeting met the requirements for a quorum, according to the bylaws.
Representative Advisory Board: (RAB) Members: Steven Coit and Jim Bonanno, Bozrah; Carol Russell, East Lyme; Thomas Seidel, Franklin; Martin Artale Jr., Groton (City); Dean Antipas and Mary Lou Smith, Groton (Town); Timothy Norris, Ledyard; Anthony Siragusa, Montville; Barry Weiner, New London; Michael Macina, North Stonington; James Fogarty and George Jackson, Salem; Jeffrey Callahan, Stonington Borough; Jim Thevenut, Voluntown.
Authority Members: Chairman Edward Monahan, Harry Watson, Paul Eccard, Peter Balestracci, Barbara Lee Franciosi, Michael O’Connor, and Nicholas Mullane.
Authority Staff: General Manager Josh Cansler
2. Public Comment - None.
3. Approval of Prior Minutes
On a motion of Mr. Fogarty, seconded by Mr. Jackson, the minutes of the July 20, 2017 meeting were unanimously approved, as distributed.
4. FY 2017 Audit Report Presentation by Sandra Welwwod, LLC, Independent Auditors
Ms. Sandra Welwood from the Audit Firm Sandra Welwood, LLC, presented the Fiscal Year 2017 Independent Auditor’s Report. She stated that the audit’s findings were favorable. She said that as with any first year audit, there were a few small bumps, but nothing worth noting. Ms. Welwood complimented the SCWA office staff and said that the Audit went smoothly in large part because all requested information was provided expeditiously. She mentioned that the SCWA office could improve the process by which Form 1099 are issued. Ms. Welwood also mentioned that she had discussed several budget management efficiency improvements with the General Manager and Office Manager.
5. Finance Committee Report
Ms. Smith, stated that the Auditor, Ms. Welwood, had presented an excellent detailed summary of the audit results to the SCWA Representative Advisory Board earlier in the week, and she was very satisfied with the results of the annual SCWA audit report. Ms. Smith made a motion to accept the FY 2017 Independent Auditor’s Report, as presented. Her motion, seconded by Mr. Antipas, was unanimously approved by the members of the Representative Advisory Board that were present.
6. Report by the Authority Chairman
Dr. Monahan presented the Authority report, with highlights as follows:
I. Operational Activities
A. Emergency Interconnections with Ledyard/Groton Utilities
In conjunction with a $15 million DPH DWSRF (Drinking Water State Revolving Fund) funding package intended to assist with financing the upgrade of the Groton Water Purification Plant, Groton Utilities will install emergency water main interconnections between all five SCWA Ledyard divisions, and the Ledyard WPCA system. Distribution of the funding package is contingent on having a signed Emergency Water Supply agreement in place between SCWA, Groton Utilities, and the Town of Ledyard.
In August, the Authority approved a motion for the Chairman and General Manager to work together with legal counsel to ensure the language of the agreement best supports the long-term needs and requirements of the Authority. In September, the Authority approved a motion for the Chairman to sign the agreement once minor SCWA revisions had been made, and all parties have approved the final text. Dr. Monahan stated that he would be signing the document the next day. He also expressed thanks to the rest of the Authority members for their time and effort reviewing and discussing the draft versions of the agreement. Although Lori Mathieu, Chief of the DPH Drinking Water Section, broached the subject of long-term regional planning during initial meetings regarding the emergency interconnections, there has not been any further discussions about regional planning. Dr. Monahan added that SCWA is always sensitive to the fact that our charter says SCWA will always have a role in regional planning.
B. DWSRF Emergency Generator Program
Through the DPH DWSRF program, SCWA received approval for three emergency generator projects. This program provides a 45% grant for new generators, a 25% grant for replacement of old generators, and no interest loans for the remaining costs. The three projects, at the Tower, Montville, and Chesterfield pump stations, were awarded to two separate contractors in June, following a public bidding process.
Site work was mostly completed on all three projects by mid-September, and installation of new transfer switches and associated wiring and panels was completed by mid-October. Once the generators arrive they will be installed and connected to the pump stations at all three sites. The completion date for these three projects is December 31, 2017.
C. Montville Oakdale Elementary School Water Supply
In 2015 the Authority approved a connection to the Montville Oakdale Elementary School. The school previously utilized an on-site well system to provide for their water needs. A cost agreement that was satisfactory for both parties was agreed upon last year, and the Montville Schools Finance committee authorized funding earlier this year. The connection was completed in mid-August of 2017.
D. Town of North Stonington - New Center for Emergency Services/Water Main Extension
The Town of North Stonington is constructing a new Center for Emergency Services, which also involves extending the North Stonington water distribution system 1500 feet. SCWA continues to work with the construction contractors on both projects, as needed, to assist with planning the main extension and emergency center water system. Successful pressure tests of the new water main, monitored by SCWA staff, were conducted on August 14th and 28th.
E. Thames Aquatic Center –Ledyard
SCWA continues to work with the Town of Ledyard regarding support of the proposed Thames Aquatic Center project, as well as the proposed extension of Fairway Drive in Ledyard; both of which are in the SCWA Exclusive Service Area (ESA). Although SCWA proposed alternatives to provide water from our Ledyard Center system, DPH granted approval of a well for the Aquatic Center, with the stipulation that they connect to the water main on Fairway Drive extension once it is installed, and that the Aquatic Center use SCWA for all required testing and monitoring of the well.
Dr. Monahan said that he was perplexed to report that to date, there has not been any signs of construction, or well drilling. Mr. Norris asked if the Aquatic Center was a private commercial venture. Dr. Monahan said that it was a private venture and explained the concept of the new facility, as he understood it. Mr. Norris asked about the ESAs and how they were developed, specifically in Ledyard. Dr. Monahan explained how the ESAs had come about, and gave some of the history of ESA “turf wars” in Ledyard. After some more discussion regarding Ledyard ESAs, they agreed to chat after the meeting, at the suggestion of the acting RAB Chairman.
II. Planning Activities
A. Update on Miller’s Pond
Several times in the past the Schacht family has offered SCWA the opportunity to purchase Miller’s Pond for use as an alternate regional water supply. The Authority worked with the Schacht family for several years in an effort to support their efforts to create an additional regional reservoir. In August the Schacht’s presented a memo which included ideas and concepts for SCWA to assist the Miller’s Pond L.L.C. (MPLLC) to move forward with the excavation permitting process, and operation of Miller’s Pond as a regional wholesale water supply. Mr. Eccard, Chairman of the SCWA Miller’s Pond committee, presented this memo to the Authority at the August meeting.
The Authority agreed as a whole that any funds expended on a joint venture, and on excavating and/or developing Miller’s Pond, would have to come from revenues from the pond, or outsides sources such as state or federal grants. At the August meeting the Authority voted to have legal counsel review the concept memo prepared by the Schacht’s, before making any decisions regarding possible future coordination with MPLLC.
Dr. Monahan said that the Authority was seeking a new attorney for the legal review because our General Counsel (Avena and Kepple) had recused themselves from involvement with Miller’s Pond, stating a conflict of interest with other clients. Mr. Weiner asked if the Authority had expended any money to date regarding the Miller’s Pond issue. Dr. Monahan replied that they had not. Mr. Weiner stated that based on past history, SCWA needed to precede cautiously with the Miller’s Pond issue.
B. DWSRF Call for Projects
In April 2017, SCWA submitted application packages and concept designs for three projects under the State DPH Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). This program provides low-interest loans, with the potential for subsidization, for eligible projects in the form of principal forgiveness. Two of the SCWA Projects; Replacement of Tower Division Pump Station, and Interconnection of Montville and Seven Oaks Divisions, finished very high, 4th and 5th respectively. There has not been any indication of how much money will be made available for this program yet.
C. Water Supply Plan
Per the terms of the September 2015 Consent Agreement with DPH, SCWA is required to submit an updated Water Supply Plan to DPH no later than January 1, 2018. After soliciting bids from several engineering firms, the Authority selected Lenard Engineering to prepare the Water Supply Plan for SCWA. General Manager Cansler received a draft copy of the plan in August, and returned it back to Lenard Engineering, with comments, in September. A final draft copy of the Water Supply Plan should be ready for review in October.
D. State Water Plan and Water Utility Coordinating Committees (WUCC)
Pursuant to Public Act 14-163, a State Water Plan for the management of water resources in the State of Connecticut is required to be presented by the State Water Planning Council (WPC), to the General Assembly by January 1, 2018. The Draft State Water Plan is currently in the 120-day public review and comment stage. The Eastern Connecticut WUCC officially convened in June 2016. WUCC member meetings are held every second Wednesday of the month, and are open to the public.
E. SCWA Interaction with SCCOG, AWWA, and CWWA
SCWA and the SCCOG continue to interact cooperatively. To this end, Chairman Monahan routinely attends the regular monthly SCCOG meetings, and frequently the SCCOG Regional Water Committee meetings as well. The General Manager participates on the SCCOG Regional Water Committee’s Technical Advisory Subcommittee (TAS).
The General Manager represents SCWA as a member of the Connecticut Water Planning Council Advisory Group (WPCAG), which meets monthly; and as a member of the Connecticut Water Works Association (CWWA) Legislative Affairs Committee, which meets monthly between November and June.
III. Administrative Activities
A. Annual Audit
Dr. Monahan said that Sandra Welwood conducted her on-site audit visit August 29-30, 2017, and noted that she had earlier in the meeting provided a synopsis of the annual audit. Her firm, Sandra Welwood, LLC, was selected by the Representative Advisory Board (RAB) to conduct the annual audit for SCWA. In mid-September, Ms. Welwood returned for a follow-up visit, and forwarded a completed Draft Audit Report the following week. She presented the report to the RAB Finance Committee on October 16, 2017, and again to the entire Representative Advisory Board at the October 19th quarterly meeting.
B. Transition of SCWA Bank Accounts to new Bank
In May SCWA received a Letter from Bank of America announcing termination of our current bank accounts, effective August 15, 2017. Reason given was that Bank of America has changed the type of accounts they intend to manage in the future. After reviewing proposals from three banks/credit unions, the Authority voted in July to transition our Bank of America accounts to Chelsea Groton Bank. This transition went very smoothly, and was completed well in advance of the August 15th deadline.
C. 2018 Meeting Schedule
(Attachment #1 – 2018 Meeting schedule)
Dr. Monahan stated that copies of a 2018 calendar, and a schedule of meetings for next year, for both the Authority Board and Representative Advisory Board (RAB), was attached. The Quarterly RAB meetings are held on the third Thursdays of January, April, July, and October, at rotating locations, within the SCWA district. Authority meetings are generally held on the second Monday of each month, unless the Monday conflicts with a holiday.
Mr. Norris made a motion to approve the 2018 meeting calendar and schedule as presented. His motion was seconded by Ms. Russell. Dr. Monahan pointed out that the Representative Advisory Board only needed to approve the RAB meeting schedule as the Authority had already approved their own meeting schedule. Mr. Weiner made a motion to amend the original motion to just approval of the 2018 RAB meeting schedule. His motion, seconded by Ms. Russell, was unanimously approved by the members of the Representative Advisory Board that were present.
Dr. Monahan asked if there were any other questions pertaining to the Chairman’s Report.
Mr. Fogarty asked about the status of the Trailer-Mounted Mobile Pump Station, which had been discussed in previous meetings. Mr. Cansler responded that is was complete, but that they had not tested it yet, since they had been waiting on approval from DPH. He said that they had finally received approval the week before.
7. Report by the Chairman of the Representative Advisory Board - none
8. Representative Advisory Board Member Reports - none
9. New Business - none
On motion of Mr. Weiner, seconded by Mr. Jackson, the meeting adjourned at approx. 7:47 p.m.
Josh Cansler, Secretary
Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority