The Board of Public Works of Trenton Municipal Utilities held a special meeting on Tuesday evening at Trenton City Hall and took action on two items.
The board approved a bid for upgrades to the diesel-powered electric generators the utility owns to comply with Environmental Protection Agency RICE rules on emission standards.
TMU Director Chad Davis said three bids were received with the lowest bid from CSE Enterprises of Rolla for $231,000. The other bids were for $529,482 and $744,000. Davis said because of the big difference in the bid prices the utility, along with Consultant Ken Fairchild of Olsson Associates, checked three references from cities the company had done work for and also worked with the company to make sure nothing had been left out of the bid. He said the references checked out and the other clients were happy with the company’s work, which is similar to the work that will be done on the exhaust of TMU’s 12 generators.
Also approved was a contract with Olsson Associates to oversee the installation of the equipment on the generators and to provide certification services to show the work is in compliance with EPA regulations. The cost is not to exceed $48,000. Recertification will be required every three-year period following the initial installation. The work is scheduled to be completed by May 1.
Both votes were 4-0.
TMU and the City of Trenton had issued certificates of participation to provide financing for the RICE upgrades and also for disinfection improvements at the wastewater treatment plant in the amount of $1.25 million. Since the bid for the RICE work on the generators came in so much lower than expected, the board discussed whether it would be better to reduce the amount of funds borrowed or to do another project with the available funds.
Included in the proposed 2014-15 budget is $450,000 to do pole replacement on the north 69kV line and since the available funds will be approximately $500,000, it was agreed ito go ahead and pay for the project with the financed funds. It had originally been planned to use both financing and cash reserves to complete the project.
Comptroller Rosetta Marsh said the use of the financed funds will lessen the cash flow problems the utility might face if it tried to complete the project with cash reserves. She noted it could cause the reserves to drop to the $1 million mark as the utility tries to maintain a $2 million reserve for emergency purposes.
The board adjourned its special meeting and held a workshop to continue work on the 2014-15 budget.
The Board of Public Works, which oversees operations of Trenton Municipal Utilities, will meet in special session at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 4 at city hall.
Items on the announced agenda include approval of bids for the RICE upgrades as well as approval of an agreement for certification services for the RICE upgrades. A budget workshop to review the preliminary FY14-15 TMU budget is also planned following the meeting.
The Board of Public Works of Trenton Municipal Utilities held its regular meeting on Tuesday evening at Trenton City Hall, discussing several items and tabling action on two items.
The board tabled action on bids for upgrades to the diesel-powered electric generators it owns to comply with Environmental Protection Agency RICE rules on emission standards.
TMU Director Chad Davis said the bids on the upgrades were just opened on Tuesday and three bids were received. The apparent low bidder is CSE Enterprises and Davis said the price was lower than anticipated. He said TMU staff would like to check references on the company and come back with a full recommendation at a meeting next Tuesday. Also to be considered is an agreement with Olsson Associates to oversee testing of the units once the upgrades are made to ensure they meet certification to operate under the new EPA requirements.
The net income statement for all three departments of the utility at the end of January shows a loss of $977,272 in the electric department, a profit of $159,472 in the water department and a profit of $183,339 in the wastewater department. It was noted that rate increases went into effect in the water and wastewater departments last month with a projected 9 percent rate increase in the electric department to begin in May or June. A 2 percent increase in rates was made last July. Board Chairman Robert Day said guidelines for electric utilities are to keep at least three months of operating revenues in unrestricted reserves for emergency purposes and when the amount for the TMU electric department dips below $2 million it reaches an uncomfortable stage. Reserves are now at approximately $1.8 million for the department. Davis said TMU had budgeted for an approximate $560,000 loss in the electric department for the year ending April 30.
Board members reviewed the recently received audit report and Mark Cole expressed his displeasure that the audit was dated April 30, 2013. He felt the information was stale and that much of the information was the same from year to year. Chairman Robert Day also said the timeliness was terrible and that it had been better in recent years. Comptroller Rosetta Marsh said the same company will do the 2013-14 audit, but the work will be rebid for a three-year period beginning with the 2014-15 fiscal year.
One issue continued to be raised in the audit is the segregation of duties. Ms. Marsh said different employees perform different tasks with the cash, checks and deposits. She said there are as many dual controls as they can have with a seven-person office staff. City Administrator Kerry Sampson said the only way the utility and city can separate more duties is to hire additional employees, which is too costly.
Wastewater Supervisor Bob Hutchinson said engineers studying disinfection options at the plant have indicated the wastewater may be too cloudy to use ultraviolet radiation as a disinfection option. If that proves to be unusable, chlorine will have to be used for disinfection before the effluent is discharged into Muddy Creek.
Water Treatment Plant Supervisor Steve Reid said work continues on improvements at the plant and that the contractor has asked for an extension to complete the project, which was scheduled for the middle of March. Davis said it has been an abnormally harsh winter and the utility is working with the contractor to determine what will be a fair extension of time. TMU has asked the contractor to focus on the technical aspects of the work so the utility will be in compliance for trihalomethanes this summer as required by the agreement TMU has with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. He said TMU has been in compliance the last two quarters and he expects it to also be in compliance in March.
Day said he had discussions with Sampson about board participation in evaluations for Davis and Marsh, which has normally been done only by Sampson. Sampson said he welcomed board involvement and the board directed Day to participate in the evaluations and keep them informed during the process.
The board will meet inspecial session on Tuesday, March 4, to consider the bids for RICE upgrades and the agreement for services with Olsson Associates and then continue the meeting with a workshop on next year’s budget. The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. at city hall. The next regular meeting of the board is scheduled for Tuesday, March 18.
The Board of Public Works, which oversees operations of Trenton Municipal Utilities, will meet in regular session at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday at city hall.
Items on the announced agenda include audit review questions, approval of bids for the RICE upgrades, approval of an agreement for certification services for the RICE upgrades and reports from department heads, the comptroller and the utility director.
After a nearly one-hour discussion, members of the Trenton City Council have voted to approve an ordinance that will allow the city to obtain up to $6.25 million in participation certificates for utility upgrades.
Meeting in special session on Thursday, the council approved the ordinance tabled from Monday night’s meeting after some council members expressed concerns about the cost of the project being proposed as well as federal and state regulations that were requiring the work to be done. Much of the same discussion was held at Thursday’s meeting, which also included members of the Board of Public Works. Last month, the board voted to ask the council to approve the ordinance, but only after having postponed the vote a month because of concerns members also had with the costs.
The vote to approve the ordinance was 6-1 with councilman Mark Moore voting no. Voting in favor were Jacob Black, Kenneth Ewing, Mark Robinson, Travis Elbert, Larry Huffstutter and Jim Bush. Chuck Elliott was absent.
The project includes improvements to the city’s generators to meet federal RICE emissions rules, estimated to cost around $1.3 million. Among improvements to the city’s wastewater system area are the purchase of equipment and construction to control wastewater issues that include disinfection of the effluent at the wastewater plant before it is discharged into Muddy Creek. In addition, there would also be funding available to make upgrades to the systems that have been needed for several years. Those costs have been estimated at around $4.7 million.
Much of the discussion centered around the state and federal regulations that have resulted in the city having to fund the work in order to meet the requirements. Trenton Municipal Utilities Director Chad Davis noted the utility has been working since 2003 to meet the regulations, some of which have been delayed due to permitting disagreements between the city and state as well as changes in rules due to court cases. Davis said what the utility and Board of Public Works is trying to do is to develop a long -term plan to address not only the work being required now, but to be ready for any other regulations the city might face in the coming years. In addition, the utility is also looking to make repairs to some of its aging infrastructure, in particular some sewer lines that are nearly 100 years old.
Councilman Jacob Black continued to express his concern over the regulations and the implementation costs and questioned whether there might be a different way to address the situation.
“How long do we do this before we say enough is enough,” he asked.
Black then asked Davis if the utility had looked into any type of legal action, with Davis stating TMU was able to get a reprieve from some permitting requirements through negotiations with the state and an attorney hired by the utility. BPW member John Kennebeck noted that while the city has gotten some time from the state, if a legal fight was to ensue, it could take several years, at which time the city would pay a considerable amount of money for legal fees while more regulations could be implemented and the city could be forced to spend even more money for the work.
Kennebeck, Board President Robert Day and member Larry Crawford all pointed out during the meeting that the board spent many hours debating the financing issue.
“We did have these same concerns,” Day said. “But it is not going to stop what is going on now.”
Crawford told the council that the regulations “should be no surprise” to the council, noting that the BPW has discussed the issue for several months and that the council does have a representative who attends the BPW meetings and reports back.
“We’ve talked about this in the past,” Crawford said. “We are trying to prepare for the next level while controlling the cost as best we can and continue to provide services to our residents.”
Kennebeck presented information to the council regarding the 1 percent of gross revenues the utility gives to the city each year ,which amounts to approximately $125,000. According to Kennebeck, that amount saved over the 22-year life of the certificates and amortized at 5 percent interest would be enough for the utility to pay for this latest project, coming to $5.68 million. And if the city paid the utility for street lights as they used to, which amounted to approximately $100,000 per year, Kennebeck said that amount could balloonto nearly $11 million, money he said could be put away for future projects. While he wasn’t advocating the city make any changes, Kennebeck said he just wanted to make council members aware of the information he had calculated on his own.
Some council members discussed whether or not money would be put into a separate fund for improvement purposes if Kennebeck’s information was utilized. It was noted the city could draw up an ordinance, requiring the money be placed in a special fund, however, future councils would be able to recall the ordinance if they would so choose.
Following the vote and as the meeting was adjourning, councilman Jim Bush said that the council needs to keep Trenton “moving forward,” with Kennebeck adding, “I agree wholeheartedly.”
The Board of Public Works of Trenton Municipal Utilities held its regular meeting on Tuesday evening at Trenton City Hall and discussed several items.
The board approved a resolution to seek certificates of participation in the bond market to finance improvements in the wastewater department and electric department. Approximately $6.1 million will be borrowed, which will allow for $3.9 million in useable funds for wastewater treatment issues including disinfection of the effluent at the wastewater plant before it is discharged into Muddy Creek.
Approximately $1.3 million of the funds will be used to adapt the diesel-powered electric generators the utility owns to comply with Environmental Protection Agency emission standards known as the RICE rules. The rest of the remaining funds will be used for interest expenses associated with the borrowing of the funds.
The resolution will go to the city council for its approval at the Feb. 10 meeting and, if the issuance goes as planned, the money could be available by March 11. Charlie Zitnik of D.A. Davidson and Co., who will handle the issuance of the certificates for TMU, praised the city for going through its credit rating process in 2012, which allowed the issuance of this indebtedness to go more smoothly and quickly. The interest rate on the issuance is expected to be about 4.5 percent.
The board also approved a resolution opposing the passage of any laws in the Missouri General Assembly limiting local control and cost recovery for usage of city-owned utility assets. TMU Director Chad Davis said the issue involves rates which can be charged when telecommunications companies (phone, cable television, etc.) place their lines on city-owned utility poles. Investor-owned utilities have their rates set by the Federal Communications Commission while municipal utilities can negotiate their rates. Davis said TMU charges comparable rates charged by other municipalities and receives about $14,000 in income annually. The proposed legislation would require municipalities to comply with the FCC guidelines. There is concern that municipalities might not be able to recover their costs if they are forced to comply with the FCC rates.
Also approved by the board was a memo on net metering which is when customer-owned generators provide electricity back to the utility. TMU currently has no customers with the ability to generate electricity but the memo spells out how the connections and payment for energy would be made.
Both Davis and Comptroller Rosetta Marsh said work has begun for capital and operating budgets for the utility with the new year beginning in May.
Davis also reported work continues on testing the ability of the utility to start and generate its own power when there is a loss of purchased power from its provider. He said efforts are being made to find a way to simulate the startup of the system without actually having to completely take the power down to all customers.
An executive session was held following the regular meeting for legal and audit reasons with no announcement being made following the session. All votes taken at the meeting were 3-0 with Mark Cole absent.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the board will be Tuesday, Feb. 25 and a budget planning session was tentatively set for Tuesday, March 4.
The Board of Public Works, which oversees operations of Trenton Municipal Utilities, will meet at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Trenton City Hall. This is one day later than the normal meeting time due to a scheduling conflict.
Items on the announced agenda include approval of financing parameters for electric and wastewater project financing, a resolution concerning pole attachment legislation, report on net metering and reports from department heads, the comptroller and the utility director. An executive session for legal matters and the audit is also planned.
The Board of Public Works of Trenton Municipal Utilities held its regular meeting on Tuesday evening at Trenton City Hall and approved several items.
After much discussion, the board approved an amendment to a previous agreement with Burns and McDonnell and Trekk Design to do work on the Bypass Elimination Plan for the wastewater department. The original agreement was for $153,000 and the additional work to help develop the BEP will cost $751,00, for a total of $904,000.
The work involves smoke testing and identify areas of the system where water is infiltrating the wastewater flowing into the treatment plant. Preliminary testing results on 10,000 feet of sanitary sewer line identified 11 problems which were all located on private property lines coming into the sewer main.
Board members expressed concern about the cost of the work and making sure it is a good investment for TMU customers and wanting to make sure that improvements are made in the system once the problems are identified. The work is to be completed by August 2014 in order to meet an agreed upon date of September 2014 with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to have a completed BEP. Rate increases beyond what were recently approved by the board may be needed to help pay for the identified improvements.
The board also approved the purchase of equipment from DCL America to upgrade the diesel-powered electric generators the utility owns to meet Environmental Protection Agency requirements for air emissions called RICE Rules. The cost of the equipment is $325,283.
Board members reviewed a timeline from D.A. Davidson & Co. to obtain financing to help pay for the needed improvements in both departments. Approximately $5 million in financing will be obtained by issuing certificates of participation in the bond market. Of that amount $1.25 million will be used for the for the RICE Rules compliance while the approximately $3.8 million in remaining money will be used for wastewater treatment issues including disinfection of the effluent at the wastewater plant before it is discharged into Muddy Creek. Director Chad Davis said completion of the seven-week timeline would allow the utility to have the money in-hand by mid-March of 2014.
The board discussed the electric department, which is running a deficit of $778,535 for the year-to-date. Davis said he hopes December will be a better month. He attributed much of problem to increased costs of electricity. He said several Missouri Public Energy Pool plants have had recent outages and have not been able to generate electricity, which then has to be purchased on the open market.
Chairman Robert Day expressed concern that the electric department reserves have dipped below $2 million for the first time. Those funds are held in reserve for emergency purposes such as an ice storm causing damage to electric department infrastructure.
The board held an executive session for legal reasons following the regular meeting with no announcement being made following the session.
The next regular meeting of the board will be on Tuesday, Jan. 28 with a strategic planning meeting to be held on Wednesday, Jan. 29.
The Board of Public Works, which oversees operations of Trenton Municipal Utilities, will meet in regular session at 5:30 tonight at city hall.
Items on the announced agenda include approval of an amendment to the agreement for engineering services for the bypass elimination plan, materials for RICE upgrades, discussion of financing for upcoming projects and reports from the department heads, comptroller and utility director. An executive session for legal matters is also planned.