Utility Board

Utility Board Minutes 2/26/2008

Written by Allison Leavitt. Posted in Minutes.




FEBRUARY 26, 2008

6:00 p.m.


1.         Chairman Buddy Qualls conducting

            Meeting called to order

Prayer was offered by Chairman Buddy Qualls.

            Approval of minutes of previous meeting

A motion was made by Board Member Perry Payne, seconded by Board Member Craig Mathie to approve the minutes of the February 12, 2008 Board Meeting.  All were in favor.

2.         Discussion items

            (A) Water lines outside Monroe City Limits.

            Last meeting council member Gordon Topham was asked to visit with Ralph Okerlund concerning the possibilities of obtaining money from the CIB.  Mr. Okerlund explained that because of the federal monies given to the Monroe Canal company Monroe would not qualify for those funds. Ralph suggested that Gordon get a hold of Keith Barnett, administrator of the CIB, to see if the project would qualify under the health and safety issue for funding.  Mr. Barnett suggested that the city change their CIB priority list, placing this project to top.  This would postpone the project at least to the fall. Mr. Barnett does not feel like the project meets the health and safety requirements for CIB emergency funding.  Gordon reported back to Ralph what Keith had said, and Ralph recommended that we follow Keith’s advice.    

            Board member R.K. Nielson, Council member Gordon Topham, and Water Superintendent Rodney Wanlass went on a field trip with Robert Worley, engineer from Sunrise Engineering to get a very rough estimate of the cost to replace the lines outside of the city limits.  Again we talked with Robert about this being an emergency because of the cost, and that there is no way that the people on these lines could pay for a project of this size. We would have to approach the CIB for a loan.  Because of the size of Monroe City and our current water rates, we would be very lucky if we would even get a no interest loan, and to get a loan we would have to change our priority list.  Gordon also asked Keith if he could contact some one that could verify that this is a health and safety issue and he referred Gordon to Roger Foisey.  Gordon spoke with Roger and he felt like it was certainly an emergency.  He has visited both with Perry Payne and R.K. Nielson and knows the problems we are facing.  Roger stated to Gordon that if needed his office would provide the city with a written statement of his opinion of the condition of these water lines.  Johnny stated how can this not be an emergency especially when people are out of water?  Gordon stated that to him an emergency is something that just automatically happens and this has been going on for a long time, Gordon does not know what qualifies an emergency.

            Robert Worley was asked to give a ball park cost of replacing the lines currently outside the city limits not including the line that runs out past the cemetery.  To replace the existing line with 3” line, where fire flow would not be achieved, the cost would be $521,000.00.  To replace existing line with 8” line, achieving fire flow would be $883,000.00.  And to replace with a 6” line and loop the two lines together and achieve fire flow would be $885,000.00.  So again Gordon called Roger Foisy to clarify if we had to provide fire flow.  Roger told him that he could not find any where in the regulations that stated fire flow was a requirement, however we have to provide equal service to all customers.  So if we went with a 3” line we would have to have all these customers sign a statement that they were aware that they did not have fire flow and that was okay with them.  Joseph did the same thing a few years ago installing all lines inside and outside the city limits.  Gordon spoke to Mayor Owens about how they went about this.  They received from the CIB a $300,000 loan and $700,000 grant, but this replaced all the lines in both the city and outside the limits on their water system.  So this is a totally different project than ours.  

            These prices that Robert quoted are by no means set in concrete, they were only a guess estimate of the cost.  Robert figured that on 29 taps the cost would be approximately $60 a month per tap for five years.  A lot of the taps are currently inactive and that is a lot to charge for inactive meters.  R.K. mentioned again that Robert suggested these people incorporate somewhat like South Monroe.  Craig Mathie asked but didn’t the South Monroe have something to incorporate around.  Yes they did, however Perry explained that Brooklyn Water does not have water rights as they contract with Elsinore Town for their water.  At times water taps are available for sale from them but they are auctioned off and the people who purchase the tap right have to provide their own pipes to their tap.  In some areas of this north line it would be nice to have them be a part of the Brooklyn water system but these tap rights are precious and hard to come by.

            Monroe city needs to pay attention to their water rights and the availability of water to all residents.  We have had new subdivisions developed inside the city limits recently that could put a strain on our water system.  Gordon suggested that as a utility board this be looked at very carefully.  R.K. suggested that as new development occurs inside the current city limits that these developments be required to turn in water shares that could be converted into underground shares to be used to drill an additional well for the city.

            R.K. would like to state that Robert was very helpful and informative and would like to suggest that a thank you note be sent to him for the time he spent on this project.  Craig suggested that a thank you letter from Buddy, chairperson, would be appropriate.

Gordon visited with Emery Polelonema on the process of changing the cities priority list to include these water line improvements.  Emery told Gordon that if this is what the city council decides to do they would need to let him know of the change. The council will need to find something on our list that this could relate to so that the county would move it to the top of our priority list and theirs. It has never been on the list because until now it was always thought to be a line outside the city limits and not the responsibility of the city.   

Last meeting we talked about the possibility of using some of the left over money from the Treatment Plant project to purchase pipe for replacing some of these old lines.  We are still not sure on this.  There is paper work that would need to be filled out and permission given before we could use these funds. Gordon will follow through on this and see if it’s a possibility.

            Mr. Qualls asked Mayor Nilsson about what type of discussion has taken place with the city council and which way they would like to see the board proceed.  The main obstacle here is that these people on these old private lines are going to have to realize that they are going to have to get financially involved.  If we were to go to the CIB for funding are current water rates would be taken into consideration as far as how much grant we would qualify for and the rest be loan.  Also they are not going to look at this project only 28 taps, it will be considered as Monroe City as a whole.

So far the most viable plan we have come up with is purchasing pipe and replacing so many feet a year with new pipe.  We could adjust the water rate for customers outside the city limits to help pay for these improvements.  This amount could be figured up so the city would know how much pipe could be replaced a year.  Rod and Devin would like to be able to have some idea of how much pipe will be installed each year and if there are no breaks starting at the meter and working forward would be the best.  Doing this would enable Rod and Devin to install additional valves so that when there are problems they do not have to shut the whole line down.

Gordon would like to give one more call to the director of the CIB and ask him if the Health Department, Roger Fosiey, was to sign  statement that this is an emergency would there be grant funds available.

If nothing comes of this our next step needs to be see if the council approves of this idea, need to see if we can use some of the Treatment plant funds to purchase pipe, and need to visit with the county roads department about right ways to place lines along the county roads.        

A motion was made by Board Member Craig Mathie to put forth a recommendation to the city council to continue looking into the chance that this situation could fall under the health and safety emergency guidelines for grant funding, this is plan A.  Plan B is the systematical replacement of water lines in the amount of what could be budgeted, a year at a time.  Plan B would include to acquire monies left over from the treatment plant project to purchase pipe, if possible, raise water rates to customers on lines outside the city limits to adjust to the additional cost of providing them water, and possibly contribute city funds as appropriated.  Motion seconded by Board Member Perry Payne. All were in favor.  Motion carried.

3.         Adjournment

A motion was made by Board Member Craig Mathie, seconded by Johnny Parsons, to adjourn.  All were in favor. Meeting adjourned.




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