Draft Minutes of the October 16, 2017 Water Authority Meeting

Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority

1649 Route 12, Gales Ferry, CT

 

 

 

Present

Authority:  Chairman Edward Monahan, Treasurer Paul Eccard, Barbara Lee Franciosi, Peter Balestracci, and Nicholas Mullane.

Authority Staff:  General Manager Josh Cansler

 

Call to Order

Chairman Monahan called the meeting to order at approximately 5:15 p.m. 

 

Public Comment on any Item on the Agenda – None

 

Approval of September 11, 2017 Meeting Minutes

On a motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Mr. Balestracci, the Authority approved the minutes of the September 11, 2017 Water Authority Meeting, by a vote of 5-0.

 

Approval of September 25, 2017 Special Meeting Minutes

On a motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Mr. Mullane, the Authority approved the minutes of the September 25, 2017 Special Water Authority Meeting, by a vote of 5-0. 

 

Correspondence – General Manager Cansler said that included in the correspondence folder was a letter, received from the First Selectman of North Stonington, requesting a waiver of the System Development Fee for the Town’s new Center for Emergency Services.  Mr. Cansler said that he had forgotten to include the letter as part of the meeting’s agenda.  Mr. Eccard made a motion that the letter be discussed as part of the General Manager’s report, under the item titled “Town of North Stonington – New Center for Emergency Services/Water Main Extension”.  This motion, seconded by Mr. Balestracci, was approved by a vote of 4-0, with one abstention.  Mr. Mullane abstained due to his direct affiliation with North Stonington as a Town Selectman.   

 

General Manager’s Report

1.  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 SCWA legal counsel (Attorney Nick Kepple) 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. 

General Manager Cansler stated that as of today he had not seen a copy of the agreement that incorporated the final changes requested by the Authority at the September 25th Special Meeting.  He had verified the changes had gone to our attorney the next day, September 26th, and that Attorney Kepple had forwarded our requested changes to the Groton Utilities attorney that same day.  Mr. Cansler stated that he had requested a copy of the final agreement from Groton Utilities.  Chairman Monahan said that there was an ongoing discussion regarding the best way for the three parties to sign and notarize the agreement, while ensuring that all parties received duplicate copies of the final agreement 

 

2.  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. 

 

Mr. Cansler stated that Attorney Kepple had informed him a few days before that he could not conduct the legal review of the Schacht MPLLC memo for SCWA due to a conflict of interest with his firm.  Mr. Eccard said that in his opinion a legal review was necessary in order for SCWA to counter the Schacht’s proposal memo.  He said that Attorney Tom Barger had been the SCWA legal counsel during prior Miller’s Pond discussions, however since that time, Attorney Barger has been representing the Ledyard WPCA.  Mr. Eccard said that in light of SCWA’s ongoing discussions with Ledyard regarding several other issues, he recommended that SCWA hire another legal counsel to avoid a conflict of interest.  He proposed that the Authority members provide suggestions for legal counsel by the next meeting, and then the SCWA Miller’s Pond Committee will convene to discuss the options, and select a legal firm to represent SCWA during discussions regarding Miller’s Pond.

 

3.  DWSRF Emergency Generator Program

Through the DPH Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (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. 

 

General Manager Cansler stated that site work was mostly completed on all three projects by mid-September, and installation of new transfer switches and associated new 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.  He said that the completion date for these three projects is December 31, 2017.

 

 

4.  DWSRF Call for Projects

(Attachment #1 – DWSRF Project List for SFY 2018)

In late 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.  Mr. Cansler stated that two of the SCWA Projects; Replacement of Tower Division Pump Replacement, and Interconnection of Montville and Seven Oaks Divisions, finished very high, 4th and 5th respectively.  He said there has not been any indication of how much money will be made available for this program yet.

 

5.  Extension of Services on Fairway Drive/Thames Aquatic Center –Ledyard

SCWA continues to work with the Town of Ledyard, and the Ledyard WPCA, 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.  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.  Mr. Cansler said that there has not been any signs of construction, or well drilling, at the proposed site to date.

 

6.  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.

 

7.  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 14 and 28, 2017. 

 

General Manager Cansler discussed the aforementioned letter from First Selectmen Murphy of the Town of North Stonington requesting a waiver of the $5,678.00 System Development Fee for water hook-up to the Town’s new Center for Emergency Services.  The basis of the waiver request was that the Town had done all of the work to get the water line extended to the new Emergency Services Center, and had made extensions in the past, which the Town had handed over to SCWA at no cost.  Although the Authority agreed with Mr. Murphy’s logic regarding the request, there was concern about precedent.  Mr. Cansler said that in the past SCWA has charged System Development Fees for new fire stations in other towns that hooked into the SCWA distribution system, however in those cases the towns had not paid anything to get the lines to their stations; they had simply hooked-up to existing SCWA mains.  After some discussion the Authority agreed that if a Town was paying for the extension of water mains, and was handing over the new water main extensions, at no cost to SCWA, then there was reasonable argument that the Town had already paid for System Development through their costs of extending the line. 

 

Mr. Eccard made a motion to grant First Selectman Murphy’s request for a waiver of the $5,678.00 System Development Fee.  This motion, seconded by Mr. Balestracci, was approved by a vote of 4-0, with one abstention.  Mr. Mullane again abstained due to his direct affiliation with North Stonington.  

 

8.  Town of North Stonington School Upgrade Project

SCWA has been working with the Design/Engineer Firm, as needed, to assist with the initial engineering and design of a project to renovate existing facilities, and construct some additions, to the Town of North Stonington Elementary School and Middle/High School.  Currently this project is pending approval of the State Budget, which will determine allocations for schools statewide.

 

9.  Annual Audit

Sandra Welwood conducted her on-site audit visit August 29-30, 2017.  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 will present the report to the RAB Finance Committee after the October 16, 2017 Authority meeting, and then again to the entire Representative Advisory Board at the October 19th quarterly meeting. 

 

10.  Regional Considerations

 

a)  State Water Plan and Water Utility Coordinating Committees (WUCC):

The State of Connecticut is currently in the process of developing a State Water Plan for the management of water resources within the state.  In conjunction with State Water Plan, DPH has coordinated the activities of the three Water Utility Coordinating Committees (WUCCs).   The Eastern Connecticut WUCC member meetings are held at 1 p.m. every second Wednesday of the month, at either the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments (SCCOG) offices in Norwich, or the Northeastern Connecticut Council of Governments (NECCOG) offices in Killingly.  These meetings are open to the public.  

 

b)  SCWA interaction with the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments (SCCOG).  Chairman Monahan periodically attends the regular monthly SCCOG meetings. 

 

c)  SCCOG Regional Water Committee’s Technical Advisory Subcommittee (TAS).  SCWA staff participate on the SCCOG Regional Water Committee’s Technical Advisory Subcommittee.

 

d)  General Manager Cansler continues to represent SCWA as a member of the Connecticut Water Planning Council Advisory Group (WPCAG), which meets monthly; and a as a member of the Connecticut Water Works Association (CWWA) Legislative Affairs Committee, which meets monthly between November and June.

 

 11.  2018 Authority Meeting Schedule

(Attachment #2 – 2018 SCWA Meeting schedule)

Mr. Cansler said that he had attached a calendar with the proposed Authority Board, and Representative Advisory Board (RAB), meeting dates for 2018.  He proposed that the Authority continue to meet at SCWA on the second Monday of each month, unless the Monday conflicts with a holiday.  The RAB schedule will remain the same; quarterly meetings, at rotating locations within the SCWA district, on the third Thursdays of January, April, July, and October.  

 

Mr. Cansler said the only conflicts were in October, when Columbus Day fell on the second Monday, and November, where Veteran’s Day also fell on the second Monday.  He said that for the October conflict he had moved the Authority meeting to the third week (October 15th), but had hesitated to do so in November because the meeting would then fall into the week of Thanksgiving.  After some discussion Mr. Eccard made a motion to move the November meeting to the first Monday in November (November 5th), and approve the rest of the Authority meeting dates as presented.  This motion, seconded by Mr. Mullane, was approved by a vote of 5-0.

 

Other Business - None

 

Report from Chairman - None

 

Report from Authority Members - None

 

Public Comment – None

 

Adjourn 

On motion of Mr. Eccard, seconded by Ms. Franciosi, the Authority voted to adjourn the meeting at approximately 6:11 p.m. 

 

It was noted the next Authority meeting is scheduled to occur on November 13, 2017, 5:15 p.m. at

1649 Rt. 12, Gales Ferry, CT. 

 

                                                                                                               

 

                                                                       Joseph C. Cansler                                                                                                                                                    Secretary