April 2018 Meeting
A Commission Meeting was held on April 11, 2018 at the Water Filtration Plant located at 400 West Bender Road, Glendale, WI 53217. (Map)
- Call to order by the Chairman.
- Approval of the minutes of the March meeting.
- Monthly report of plant operations.
- Discussion of annual operating budget.
- Approval of monthly bills.
- Status report of current capital projects. Action may be taken to approve capital expenditures pertaining to the projects and authorize payment to vendors.
- Discussion of bank services used by the Commission and possible action to switch from BMO Harris Bank to a different bank.
- Discussion of cancelled agreement with Starnet Technologies and possible action to approve a new agreement with Redford Data Services.
- Discussion and possible action to approve a letter of support for Dr. Junhong Chen’s proposal regarding real-time sensors in drinking water systems and to approve Mr. Kiefer’s participation as water utility advisor.
- Discussion of lead and copper testing scheduled for this summer and the latest update from the Department of Natural Resources.
- Discussion of Department of Natural Resources comments from most recent sanitary survey.
- Manager’s report.
- Date and time of the next regular Commission Meeting.
A meeting of the North Shore Water Commission was held at the Filtration Plant, 400 West Bender Road, Glendale, Wisconsin on Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
Meeting was called to order at 8:04 A.M. by Mr. Botcher.
Present: Scott Botcher, Chair (Fox Point); Rachel Reiss, Alternate (Glendale); John Edlebeck, Member (Whitefish Bay)
Also present: Eric Kiefer, Plant Manager & Recording Secretary; Charlie Imig
Mr. Kiefer informed the Commissioners that the title and first sentence of the minutes need to be corrected. Instead of “Wednesday”, it should be “Thursday.” The Commission agreed. It was moved by Ms. Reiss, seconded by Mr. Botcher, and unanimously carried to approve the minutes, as amended during discussion, for the meeting held March 8, 2018.
MONTHLY REPORT OF PLANT OPERATIONS
Mr. Kiefer provided the Commission with a report regarding plant operations. The report was placed on file without any motion.
ANNUAL OPERATING BUDGET
Mr. Kiefer presented the monthly financial reports, and they were put on file without motion.
It was moved by Ms. Reiss, seconded by Mr. Edlebeck, and unanimously carried that the following payments be approved and authorization was given to the Fiscal Agent to make such payments:
|Atsou-Tse Koffi-Kutodzo (conference)||$236.05|
|BMO Harris Bank (credit card - General Fund)||$159.23|
|-- AT&T (monthly charge for internet): $59.18|
|-- Google (monthly charge for Google Suite Basic): $54.15|
|-- Straight Talk (monthly cell phone charges): $45.90|
|BMO Harris Bank (safe deposit box rental)||$95.00|
|Batteries Plus (lamp disposal, lamps, and batteries)||$99.49|
|Buelow Vetter (legal services)||$171.00|
|Concentra (pre-employment testing)||$174.00|
|DAMARC (inspection of boiler and pressure vessel)||$110.00|
|Diversified Benefit Services (Section 125 Plan administration and mailings)||$100.91|
|DSPS - Industry Services (permit to operate boiler and pressure vessel)||$100.00|
|Eurofins (compliance monitoring)||$380.00|
|Filtration Solutions (air compressor filters)||$210.10|
|Fuchs & Boyle (legal services)||$136.50|
|Grainger (plumbing materials, clamps, shaft collars, custodial supplies, electrical supplies, exit light, tubes, hardware, and lamps)||$437.24|
|Great America (lease payment for copier/printer)||$100.00|
|Hawkins (treatment chemicals: aqueous ammonia)||$376.61|
|Home Depot (torch head and concrete)||$58.22|
|John Mayer (review of wholesale water rate)||$120.00|
|LAI (parts for sludge pump)||$1,609.65|
|McMaster-Carr (clamps, shaft, shaft collars, tubes, bolts, channel connectors, washers, plastic sheets, and aluminum sheets)||$1,176.88|
|Metals Supermarkets (2 in carbon steel shafts)||$1,944.51|
|Minnesota Life / Securian (employee life insurance)||$128.92|
|Office Copying Equipment (maintenance payment for copier/printer)||$23.83|
|Revere Electric Supply (Rockwell product support)||$794.00|
|Rotroff Jeanson (monthly accounting services and end-of-the year accounting work)||$1,935.00|
|Spectrum Business (internet services, Bender phone, and Klode phone)||$526.11|
|T-Mobile (mobile internet)||$31.05|
|USA Bluebook (flange spacers and chlorine reagents)||$694.25|
|We Energies (Bender Electric)||$12,770.66|
|We Energies (Bender Gas)||$1,706.40|
|We Energies (Green Tree Electric)||$15.98|
|We Energies (Henry Clay Electric)||$18.14|
|We Energies (Klode Electric - ESTIMATE)||$3,637.53|
|We Energies (Klode Gas)||$14.64|
|Wilkens-Anderson (alcohol wipes and fluoride probe)||$969.93|
Mr. Kiefer explained that plant staff continued to work on the filter upgrade project by installing stands where new electrical panels will be installed by an electrical contractor. Since the last meeting, the pressure transducers and related components arrived which is a major component of the payment request.
Mr. Kiefer also explained that more items were purchased for the SCADA upgrade project. Besides that, no additional progress has been made on that project.
It was moved by Mr. Edlebeck, seconded by Ms. Reiss, and unanimously carried to approve the payment request for the Filter Improvement Project in the amount of $25,987.52 and the payment request for the SCADA Upgrade Project in the amount of $474.56 as per Mr. Kiefer’s memos dated April 11, 2018.
Mr. Kiefer explained that he researched and met with representatives from 5 nearby banks. After an initial evaluation, he decided to request proposals from Associated Bank, PNC Bank, and WaterStone Bank. Mr. Kiefer provided the Commission with proposals from those banking institutions. In his brief overview of the proposals, Mr. Kiefer mentioned that Associated Bank appears to have the best customer service, but is the most expensive. WaterStone is the cheapest and simplest option.
Mr. Botcher described his experience when looking for a new bank. He agreed with the conclusion that WaterStone Bank is cheaper than Associated Bank. He also shared that Fox Point has received exceptional customer service from them.
After a brief discussion, it was moved by Ms. Reiss, seconded by Mr. Botcher, and unanimously carried to authorize Mr. Kiefer to switch the Commission’s bank from BMO Harris Bank to WaterStone Bank.
REDFORD DATA SERVICES
Mr. Kiefer explained that Starnet Technologies has apparently made a business decision to focus more on panel building and less on programming--at least for our equipment. Consequently, a long-time employee and cofounder of Starnet Technologies, Jim Redford, left the company to start his own company called Redford Data Services. Since Mr. Redford was the main employee responsible for programming and integrating equipment at the Commission, Starnet Technologies cancelled its agreement with the Commission and refunded the payment made in January; with the loss of Mr. Redford, they were unable to perform contracted services.
Redford Data Services provided the Commission with a proposal to perform the same services that we used to get from Starnet Technologies, at a lower cost.
After some discussion about contract language, it was moved by Ms. Reiss, seconded by Mr. Edlebeck, and unanimously carried to authorize the Plant Manager to execute the Control System Support and Preventative Maintenance Agreement with Redford Data Services as presented.
LETTER OF SUPPORT FOR DR. CHEN
Mr. Kiefer explained that the Commission previously committed to assisting Dr. Chen in designing and testing equipment which monitors lead in drinking water. He explained that the proposal never got funded. Since then, Dr. Chen started his own company and is receiving funding from a different grant to continue his effort to develop new lead detection equipment.
Dr. Chen is applying for another grant and is asking for the Commission’s support to get practical water utility guidance and support in adapting / testing his device for use in a water utility. This time he is requesting the Commission charge for its services (instead of volunteering). Mr. Kiefer explained that he ran the idea past Legal Counsel; Mr. Fuchs did not have a problem with it.
It was moved by Mr. Botcher, seconded by Ms. Reiss, and unanimously agreed to officially support Dr. Chen’s project.
LEAD AND COPPER TESTING UPDATE
Mr. Kiefer gave the Commission a background of the lead and copper rule and the way in which the Commission and member utilities are regulated.
Mr. Kiefer said that he requested a meeting with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WNDR) and the member water utilities to discuss lead and copper testing this year. On Monday, April 9, a meeting was held at the Bender plant. At this meeting, WDNR representatives announced that they may change our testing requirements at any time. In fact, they may change it during the lead and copper monitoring event scheduled from June 1, 2018 to September 30, 2018.
Mr. Kiefer explained how this is problematic. Because of the way in which the WDNR database is setup, there is no good way to adequately prepare for a sudden change in the regulation. If there is a change, sample sites need to get approved by the WDNR and properly added into their database. Then, after being notified by the Commission or a member water utility, homeowners and/or tenants must voluntarily collect water samples according to WDNR protocol. Based on past experience, participation rates will likely be low. This makes it exceptionally difficult to collect a large number of samples over a short period of time.
One of the changes that WDNR is considering involves increasing the number of required samples from 30 to 80. If such a change is made before the monitoring period begins, Mr. Kiefer believes the Commission will be able to successfully collect all of the samples by the September 30 deadline. If, however, the change comes in the middle of the monitoring period, Mr. Kiefer believes it may not be possible complete the sampling on time.
Mr. Edlebeck commented that the WDNR may not have the regulatory authority to change the regulation without giving us sufficient time to comply with it. The other Commissioners agreed with Mr. Edlebeck.
Mr. Kiefer mentioned that he may contact Lawrie Kobza from Boardman & Clark and see if her law firm could represent the Commission should it become necessary.
It was the consensus of the Commission to hold a special meeting if changes are made (or scheduled to be made) to our 2018 monitoring requirements. At this time, no action was taken by the Commission.
DISCUSSION OF LATEST WISCONSIN DNR SANITARY SURVEY
Mr. Botcher and Mr. Edlebeck wanted the Commission discuss recommendation 8 (page 3) of the latest sanitary survey report dated 3/15/2017. This comment reads, “Since NSWC does not have to provide a report to the PSC and the Villages [sic] have ⅓ [sic] ownership of the NSWC water treatment plant, the Villages [sic] should provide pertinent information … in their respective PSC reports to account for ownership of the treatment plant.”
Mr. Botcher expressed his concern that WDNR should not be instructing the Commission to file information with a different agency, the Public Service Commission (PSC). The PSC should make such a request directly to the Commission or its members.
Mr. Botcher was also concerned about the accounting of assets. Before investigating this matter in more detail, he believed the Commission maintained ledger accounts for it assets. Mr. Botcher discovered that is not the case and that each member is doing that in their own accounting system.
Mr. Kiefer commented that the Commission went through an appraisal as the Commission was preparing to bring Shorewood in as a new member. During that process, Mr. Kiefer and other consultants reviewed financial records of their members. It was at this time that Mr. Kiefer learned there were many inconsistencies. Consequently, a great deal of effort was undertaken by the Commission to put together a spreadsheet that lists out all of our assets (and retirements) based on the best available information. That spreadsheet is being maintained by Mr. Kiefer, and the annual financial statements show additions and retirements that each member can use to update their records.
Mr. Edlebeck was interested in getting more information about this spreadsheet. He expressed his recent difficulties when completing this year’s PSC report. Because of this strange accounting practice for Commission assets, he believes it isn’t easy to for its members to complete the annual PSC report.
Unfortunately, this practice has been in place since the construction of the water plant. It was the consensus of the Commission that it would be impractical or infeasible to change the practice now.
Mr. Edlebeck requested that Mr. Kiefer meet with him and other Whitefish Bay staff to discuss this issue in more detail.
At this time, no action was taken.
- Plant staff performed another external basin inspection and found 3 more broken chains on the sludge collection systems. To date, only 1 out of our 5 basins is able to properly collect sludge. Although this will not affect the basins ability to take sediments out of the water, plant staff will need to spend more time cleaning and fixing basins this summer than originally expected.
- The NSFD performed their annual inspection of the Bender treatment plant and found no problems.
- L&R Meter Testing performed meter testing of the Greenvale, Port Washington, and School Road meters.
- Plant staff is preparing for required lead and copper sampling this summer.
- Plant staff finished annual filter maintenance.
- Plant staff finished bolt replacement project for the filter drain valves.
The next regular meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at 8:00 AM.
It was moved by Ms. Reiss, seconded by Mr. Botcher, and unanimously carried to adjourn at 8:55 A.M.
Eric Kiefer, Plant Manager and Recording Secretary Date