Minutes of the January 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
Chairman Allen called the meeting to order at approximately 7:02 p.m. Based on the fact that a majority of the total membership was present (17 of 27), and/or the majority of the municipalities with appointed representatives were represented (13 of 16), this meeting met the requirements for a quorum, according to the bylaws.
Representative Advisory Board: (RAB) Members: Steven Coit, Bozrah; Carol Russell, East Lyme; Thomas Seidel, Franklin; Martin Artale Jr., Groton (City); Dean Antipas and Mary Lou Smith, Groton (Town); Anthony Siragusa, Montville; Barry Weiner, New London; Michael Macina, North Stonington; Rodney Bowie, Norwich; Jerry Morales, Preston; James Fogarty and George Jackson, Salem; Chairman Dennison Allen and Jack Malone, Sprague; Jeffrey Callahan and Michael Adair; Stonington Borough.
Authority Members: Chairman Edward Monahan, Harry Watson, Paul Eccard, Peter Balestracci, Michael O’Connor, Barbara Lee Franciosi, Nicholas Mullane.
Authority Staff: General Manager Josh Cansler
2. Public Comment - None.
3. Approval of Prior Minutes – Vote Required
On a motion of Mr. Callahan, seconded by Mr. Bowie, the minutes of the October 20, 2016 meeting were unanimously approved, with one change, as requested by Mr. Fogarty.
4. FY 2016 Audit Report Presentation by Cohn, Reznick, Independent Auditors
Mr. Joe Centofanti from the Audit Firm CohnReznick, presented the Fiscal Year 2016 Independent Auditor’s Report. He stated that the audit’s findings were favorable, noting the following: the report rendered an “unmodified, clean opinion”; “no material weakness” was identified; “no compliance violations” were noted; and no “memorandums to management” were required. He reviewed various components of the audit report, including: the statement of net position; the balance sheet; and the statement of revenues, expenses and changes in net position. He noted that all of the prior year’s audit report’s recommendations had been satisfactorily addressed. He stated that the organization was in a financially sound condition.
5. Finance Committee Report
Chairman Allen reported that the RAB Finance Committee had met with a representative of CohnReznick the week before to discuss the FY 2016 Independent Auditor’s Report. He stated that the members of the committee were satisfied with the report.
6. Acceptance of FY 2016 Audit Report
Mr. Bowie, stated that he had gone over the audit report and made a motion to accept the FY 2016 Independent Auditor’s Report, as presented. His motion, seconded by Mr. Antipas, was unanimously approved by the members of the Representative Advisory Board that were present.
7. Report By The Authority Chairman
Dr. Monahan presented the Authority report, with highlights as follows:
I. Operational Activities
A. Transfer of Lantern Hill Division
On December 28, 2016, SCWA officially transferred the Lantern Hill Division over to Aquarion Water Company. The Lantern Hill pump house was in major need of repairs, estimated at around $95,000. Since the Lantern Hill station only serves 23 customers this was not economically feasible. Aquarion has a large pump station a few hundred yards from Lantern Hill, and a water main that passes within 100 feet of the current SCWA Lantern Hill distribution system.
In February 2016, SCWA and Aquarion submitted an official request to the State Public Utility Regulatory Agency (PURA), and the Department of Public Health (DPH), to transfer Lantern Hill over to Aquarion. In June 2016, PURA held public hearings in Stonington and New Britain to consider the proposed transfer, and in early December 2016, PURA officially approved the transfer. Aquarion and SCWA completed the new main extension on 28 December, and SCWA completed final meter readings the same day. Dr. Monahan added that to get approval by the State to transfer a 23 customer division required the same effort as transferring a 20,000 customer community.
B. Extension of Services on Fairway Drive -Ledyard
Ledyard SCWA continues to work with the Town of Ledyard, and Ledyard WPCA, regarding support of a proposed extension of Fairway Drive in Ledyard Center, including the proposed Thames Aquatic Center project. The Aquatic Center is proposed for a parcel along Iron Street (Route 214) that is part of a much larger property currently owned by the Holdridge family. Although the Ledyard WPCA proposed supporting the new Aquatic Center from their water main along Route 117, a distance of 700 feet, SCWA, within whose Exclusive Service Area the proposed Aquatic Center would be located, favored supporting the new Aquatic Center via our main, which ends about 300 feet away.
SCWA has offered two alternatives. One alternative is to install a water main straight across the adjoining property (300 feet). This alternative will require an easement. The second alternative, to avoid the easement, is to extend the main to Iron Street, and then along the street right-of-way to the corner of the proposed Aquatic Center property. This proposal would require an additional 150 feet of pipe (450’ total). As a measure of our support for this project, SCWA has offered to absorb the cost of the additional 150 feet.
Mr. Dave Holdridge, representing the landowner of all the vacant Fairway Drive lands, has submitted a request for a permit to install a well on the proposed Aquatic Center property. Mr. Holdridge asked if SCWA would agree to run/monitor the well. SCWA has responded that we are willing to operate the well system, for a fee, however our preference is to connect to the existing main. Mr. Holdridge has indicated that if and when the proposed Fairway Drive main extension is constructed in the future, they would connect to the new Fairway Drive main.
In November, our attorney, at the request of the Authority, sent a letter to the attorney representing the Ledyard WPCA, stating our alternatives and expressing our desire to move the project forward with SCWA support as expeditiously as possible. This letter was sent to the attorney representing WPCA on November 22, 2016.
Dr. Monahan stated that SCWA was supportive of the efforts to provide water to the new Aquatic Center, but that as a cautionary note he added that the Thames Aquatic Center developer has not yet purchased the land for the proposed site.
C. Drought Issues - Montville
Currently New London and Windham counties are under a Drought Advisory, which is the first stage in the State’s Drought Plan. The rest of Connecticut is under a Drought Watch, which is the second stage. To date the only SCWA division that has experienced problems resulting from the ongoing drought is the Montville Manor Subdivision. This past summer, the wells serving that division were not able to keep up with water demands in mid-August. As a result SCWA sent out a notice restricting most outdoor water usage, which is still in effect. SCWA has not experienced problems related to the drought at any other SCWA divisions.
Mr. Callahan asked about the State’s plan for monitoring the drought, and the State’s strategy for enforcement of water restrictions by water utilizes. General Manager Cansler stated that the State did have a Drought Plan, and that they were monitoring the current situation very closely. Mr. Cansler was not sure of the State’s enforcement procedures, if any. He said that a municipality with its own police force could enforce water restrictions put in place by the municipality, however since SCWA was not a municipality, we would require support from the local municipalities to enforce water restrictions on our behalf.
D. Montville Oakdale Elementary School Water Supply
In 2015 the Authority approved supporting the Montville Oakdale Elementary School either as a primary and/or back-up water provider. The school currently operates off of an on-site well system. In December SCWA and Montville schools agreed on system development and connection fees that are satisfactory for both parties. Montville Schools will be responsible for the cost of construction/installation costs. The Montville Schools Budget Director will present their plan, and associated costs, at their next School District Finance Committee meeting.
II. Planning Activities
A. 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 that are experienced with the development of Water Supply Plans in the State of Connecticut, the Authority authorized the General Manager to award the development of the updated SCWA Water Supply Plan to Lenard Engineering, based on price and their experience with SCWA systems. The General Manager and Lenard Engineering are currently consolidating data that will be required for preparation of the updated Water Supply Plan.
B. State Water Plan and Water Utility Coordinating Committees (WUCC)
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. The next Eastern Connecticut WUCC meeting will be at 1 pm on February 8, 2017, at the Northeastern Connecticut Council of Governments (NCCOG) offices in Killingly. At the August WUCC meeting General Manager Cansler volunteered to serve on the ESA (Exclusive Service Area) sub-committee.
C. SCWA Interaction with SCCOG
SCWA and the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments (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.
SCWA’s General Manager is participating on the SCCOG Regional Water Committee’s Technical Advisory Subcommittee (TAS). SCWA welcomes this opportunity to assist SCCOG.
8. Report by the Chairman of the Representative Advisory Board - none
9. Appointment Committee Report
Mr. Callahan reported that the Authority had one member (Ms. Franciosi) whose 5-year term had expired. He stated that he had been informed only recently about the expired Authority position, and had not had an opportunity to seek nominations, or discuss the position with the rest of the RAB Appointment Committee. Since the bylaws state that an Authority member shall serve until they are either re-appointed, or their successor has been selected, Mr. Callahan recommended that the RAB defer discussion of the expired Authority position until the Appointments Committee has an opportunity to seek nominations and discuss.
Mr. Callahan also reported there are three Representative Advisory Board Officer positions that needed to be appointed by RAB each year. Those three RAB Officer positions are Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and Secretary. Mr. Callahan stated that Chairman Allen and Vice-Chairman Antipas have agreed to continue to serve in these offices, if elected by the RAB to do so. He stated that there were no known candidates interested in serving as Secretary. Mr. Callahan asked if there were any other members who wanted to serve in any of the three RAB Officer positions. There were none.
10. Authority Appointment
Ms. Franciosi stated that she is willing to serve until she is re-appointed, or her successor is selected.
11. Election of Representative Advisory Board Officers
On motion of Mr. Callahan, seconded by Mr. Weiner, the RAB unanimously voted to elect Dennison Allen as RAB Chairman and Dean Antipas as RAB Vice-Chairman, with both offices having the term of one-year. Chairman Allen stated that since there were not any members interested in serving as RAB Secretary, General Manager Cansler would continue to serve as Secretary Pro Tem.
Chairman Allen stated the RAB Finance Committee had two vacancies, and that the RAB Appeals Committee had one vacancy. He asked if there were any members willing to volunteer for these vacancies. There were no immediate volunteers, so Chairman Allen requested that if anyone was interested in the future to let him know.
12. Representative Advisory Board Member Reports - none
13. New Business - none
On motion of Mr. Jackson, seconded by Mr. Weiner, the meeting adjourned at approx. 7:52 p.m.
Josh Cansler, Secretary
Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority