January 15, 2020 Minutes

January 15, 2020 Minutes

Meeting Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 6:00 PM by Jim Haney.

  • Present: Jim Haney, Mike DeWald, Parke Smith, Bob Marcuccilli, Frank Kurth, Sue Ann Mitchell
  • Vacant Seat: Greg Mitchell

Report of Meeting Notice

The meeting date and time were posted and advertised as required.

Election of 2020 Officers

Jim Haney noted that the LRSD board needed to elect officers for the 2020 calendar year. Mike DeWald made a motion to present the current slate of officers to fulfill the same positions for 2020. The motion was seconded by Sue Ann Mitchell.

By voice vote, the election of Jim Haney as President was carried by the vote of:

5 Yeas 0 Nays 1 Abstain

By voice vote, the election of Bob Marcuccilli as Vice President and Assistant Secretary was carried by the vote of:

5 Yeas 0 Nays 1 Abstain

By voice vote, the election of Mike DeWald as Treasurer was carried by the vote of:

5 Yeas 0 Nays 1 Abstain

By voice vote, the election of Parke Smith as Secretary was carried by the vote of:

5 Yeas 0 Nays 1 Abstain

Approval of Previous Minutes

Parke Smith presented the December 11, 2019 regular meeting minutes and made a motion to approve. The motion was seconded by Bob Marcuccilli, and by voice vote was carried by the vote:

6 Yeas 0 Nays 0 Abstain

Treasurers Report and Other Financial Matters:

Mike DeWald presented financial reports and statements from Krohn and Associates and provided commentary. Mike reported:

  • The reports and matrix are similar to reports in the past, with nothing unusual for December.
  • The district had an increase of $107,838 in cash for the month.
  • Mike DeWald made a motion to approve the Unaudited Schedule of Cash Receipts and Disbursements, the Monthly Analysis of Funds and Balances, and the Monthly Analysis of Cash Investment Accounts. The motion was seconded by Jim Haney, and by voice vote was carried by the vote:

6 Yeas 0 Nays 0 Abstain

Mike DeWald presented the Cash and Fund Balance Matrix, the Management Cash Budget, and the Monthly Claim Approval Form and provided commentary. Mike reported:

  • No surprises on the cash management budget.
  • Plant operations (repairs and supplies) have come in substantially below budget.
  • Customer collections are higher than expected.
  • The number of pumps to be sold were over-estimated but are offset by not having to buy additional pumps.
  • Receipts have exceeded expenditures, including USDA, by $314,854 for 2019. This surplus may contribute to future conversations regarding the potential creation of an asset replacement fund.
  • Astbury raised the issue that the district was running a month behind on payment for the plant operating contract. The district should be paying for January’s operating contract in January but has been paying a month behind. Mike reviewed payments month-by-month to the beginning of the contract and Astbury is correct. The claims form this month requests approval for two plant operating contract payments to bring the contract billing cycle to current.
  • There was a payment to Superior Excavating for line repair that had been previously approved by the board.
  • Jim Haney made a motion to approve the Monthly Claim Approval Form and the list of bills paid after 12/9/19 in the amount of $75,599.56. The motion was seconded by Bob Marcuccilli, and by voice vote was carried by the vote:

6 Yeas 0 Nays 0 Abstain

2020 Rate Study

Jim Haney noted that LRSD has received 2 responses to the proposal request for conducting the rate study.

  • Krohn and Associates (Steve Carter) quote for the 3 scenarios is $3,500 to $5,000.
  • Baker Tilley’s (Jeff Rowe) quote is not to exceed $6,500.
  • Andy Boxberger noted that the Krohn quote is an estimate and does not include a “not to exceed” commitment.
  • Parke Smith made a motion to accept the quote from Krohn and Associates with the stipulation that they modify the language in the quote to reflect “not to exceed” $5,000. The motion was seconded by Mike DeWald, and by voice vote was carried by the vote:

6 Yeas 0 Nays 0 Abstain

Engineering Update- DLZ

Casey Erwin submitted a written report prior to the meeting and was in attendance, representing DLZ and provided commentary. Casey reported:

  • Item #1-Blower noise at WWTP
    • Casey and the board confirmed that no further action was needed at this point.
  • Item #2-Grassy Creek Subdivision
    • Casey provided information and plot diagrams for a proposed 3 lot subdivision to be developed within the district boundaries. The proposed subdivision is in Section A, the north side of the collection system, adjacent to Pump Station 2 at the corner of CR 450 and B40 Lane.
    • The developer is seeking Primary Plat Approval from Kosciusko County at the February 2020 meeting. As part of their Typical and Standard procedure for a Development or Subdivision, the County is requesting a Feasibility letter from the public utility to confirm that public sewers are available and have capacity.
    • Casey and the board discussed the current request to confirm access and capacity for this subdivision, as compared to future connection and system design needs that will need to be addressed for the future addition of any subdivision.
    • The general consensus was that the board could provide confirmation that the Grassy Creek subdivision could access the system and that there is sufficient capacity in the system to support the 3 lots.
    • It was also the general consensus that the board will need to create processes, standards, and infrastructure plans to accommodate subdivisions into the system.
    • The board determined that a letter could be provided to the developer to meet his needs without a commitment to a particular design or connection process, which can be determined at a later time.
    • The board will begin working as soon as possible with legal counsel to develop processes and standards for the addition of multiple structure subdivisions.
    • Jim Haney made a motion to provide the requested letter to the Area Plan Commission with a copy to the property owner as requested, pending language approval by legal counsel. The motion was seconded by Parke Smith, and by voice vote was carried by the vote:

6 Yeas 0 Nays 0 Abstain

  • Item #3-Standards & Process for Privately installed District Infrastructure
    • There are currently no district provisions for New Developments (residential, commercial, subdivisions, large users, etc.), that are not simple new service connections.
    • This item was part of the discussion from Item #2, with the following considerations discussed:
      • May require privately installed infrastructure that will be turned over to the District.
      • May require IDEM Construction Permit.
      • May involve gravity sewer systems that flow to pump stations or grinder stations.
      • May involve preliminary and final plan approval and coordination with County Planning.
      • May require the developer to provide drawings and other documents that are developed by surveyor/engineer to meet various District, County, State and IDEM requirements.
  • Item #4- Check Valve Failures
    • Astbury has experienced several instances where check valves appear to be failing.
    • Casey provided diagrams and actual failed parts to help the board understand the scope of the issue.
    • DLZ and Astbury are currently investigating and attempting to identify causes. The investigation may include pressure testing and/or check valve replacement at three sites where the issue may exist in order to learn more about potential causes.
    • Jim Haney made a motion to authorize Astbury to replace check valves at the 3 sites identified by Astbury as potential issues, not to exceed $5,000. The motion was seconded by Mike DeWald, and by voice vote was carried by the vote:

6 Yeas 0 Nays 0 Abstain

  • Item #5-Standards Update for Equipment Vacation and Home Tear Downs-Reconnects
    • DLZ is updating Standards, Details and Process Forms related to vacating district infrastructure or vacating/reconnecting private taps for tear downs.
    • Revised/updated Standards/Forms were sent to Greg Gear and Astbury for final review. Greg and Astbury have provided additional feedback.
    • Casey will include the additional comments to the proposal and provide the final version to the board for acceptance and approval at the February 2020 meeting.
  • Item #6-District Boundary
    • Casey shared a diagram of an area in the north-east corner of the district which does not currently have sewer lines in this area and areas adjacent to this corner. In addition, there are properties within the identified area that are currently being serviced by existing sewer lines provided by the town of North Webster.
    • There was discussion about how to address future development in this area. Andy Boxberger noted that the district does have the right, per Indiana Code, to service this area and that the district might consider communicating with the town of North Webster and other agencies regarding the boundaries and coordinate future requests.
    • Jim Haney will reach out to the town of North Webster to initiate conversation.
  • Item #7-DLZ 2020 Agreement & Contract
    • Casey presented the 2020 Engineering Services Agreement. The terms of the agreement remain unchanged from the previous year, but the proposal has been updated to reflect current dates.
    • Jim Haney made a motion to approve the proposed yearly agreement with DLZ for 2020 engineering services, not to exceed $10,000. The motion was seconded by Mike DeWald, and by voice vote was carried by the vote:

6 Yeas 0 Nays 0 Abstain

Astbury Monthly Report

Matt Rippey provided a written report to the board prior to the meeting and was present and provided the updates from Astbury. Matt reported:

  • During the December board meeting the board approved the replacement of the grinder station discharge line at 38 EMS B38 Lane. On December 26th Superior Excavating completed this project. The old discharge line was cut and capped, and a new line was tapped onto the force main. Since this project was completed, there have been no reported problems with this grinder station. There will be some additional restoration work needed at this location in the spring.
  • On December 27th Astbury received a call from the homeowner at 7122 South Barbee Road. The property owner reported that sewage was coming up from the ground a few feet from his grinder station. Astbury was able to close the discharge line valve which stopped the sewage leak. An emergency locate was called in for this location. The customer’s tank was vacuumed out over the weekend. On December 30th Cary Excavating uncovered the check valve which was broken in half. Astbury replaced the check valve and put the grinder back in service. A spill report was sent to IDEM. There will be some restoration work at this site in the spring.
  • Over the last four months, Astbury has identified a total of eight failed check valves in the collection system. All grinder stations have two check valves. One is built into the grinder pump and the second is on the discharge line buried in the ground. The check valves that are buried are the ones experiencing failures. The only way to identify that a check valve has failed is when the pump is pulled, and sewage starts to come back into the station from the main. When the flapper on the check valve breaks free it can get into a position in the valve that blocks the line which causes the station to alarm. It is hard to tell how extensive this issue is but from the number of failed check valves identified in the past couple of weeks, this may be a major issue. Digging up and replacing the check valves are the only way to fix these problems. Below is a list of the addresses where failed check valves have been identified.
Location Date Discovered Status
38 EMS B38 8/7/2019 repaired
173 EMS B27 9/22/2019 not repaired
181 EMS B27 11/7/2019 not repaired
191 EMS B27 11/8/2019 not repaired
7122 South Barbee 12/27/2019 repaired
58 EMS B33A 12/29/2019 not repaired
3631 North Barbee 1/4/2020 not repaired
62 EMS B22 1/5/2020 not repaired
  • Matt also noted that Astbury is continuing to seal the gaskets on Type 2 grinders as weather permits.

Property Owner Connection Status

Greg Gear reported:

  • There are currently 10 properties that are not connected. Of the remaining properties, 2 (Nosich, Towne) are pending tax or commissioner sales.
  • On the Nosich property, LRSD is entitled to a surplus and will receive it once the release is filed.

Request to Waive Failure to Connect Penalties – Spencer, Swihart

  • Property owner Spencer (164 EMS B40 Ln) has requested that his non-connection penalties be waived and/or rescinded.
    • The property was originally by-passed. During construction, the property owner paid for design & grinder installation on 2/19/16.
    • The property owner recently requested a rate reduction and was approved pending monthly charges & fees becoming current.
    • Monthly charges & fees were paid 12/11/19 in the sum of $868.43.
    • Non-connection penalties from November 2019 in the amount of $1,600.00 were rescinded per an inspection date of 11/15/19.
    • Mr. Spencer contacted Greg Gear on 12/17/2019 requesting that remaining non-connect fees be rescinded. He stated he did not recall receiving any notices and he moved out of Indiana in mid-2016 and water damage rendered the house unlivable. He requested dates of the notices and after further conversation he requested dates with mailing address that the district had for him. Greg provided that information.
    • Records indicate settled liens were paid by his mortgage company.
    • Account shows balance of $19,129.95
      • Non-connect penalties – $19,025.00
      • Monthly charge due 1/31/20 – $69.95
      • Inspection fee for the rate reduction due 1/31/20 – $35.00
    • Jim Haney made a motion to approve the waiving of failure to connect penalties in the amount of $19,025, but not to reimburse for other fees and penalties that had been paid by the mortgage holder. The motion was seconded by Bob Marcuccilli, and by voice vote was carried by the vote:

6 Yeas 0 Nays 0 Abstain

  • Property Owner Swihart (12 EMS B31 Ln) has requested for all failure to connect penalties to be waived and/or rescinded.
    • The property owner stated that the property was condemned on/or around August of 2013 and is uninhabitable. The property owner will be providing documentation from the Health Department to the district.
    • The property owner previously requested a rate reduction and was approved pending all monthly charges & fees become current.
    • Non-connection penalties were stopped on the rate reduction inspection date of 10/25/19.
    • The property owner stated that she could not afford the home and her intention is to sell it.
    • Status of current account:
      • Balance of $69.95 is due on 1/31/20.
      • A lien was filled 12/31/19 for $22,519.50.
      • Of the lien amount $21,370.00 are non-connection penalties.
    • After discussions among and questions from board members, Jim Haney suggested the property owner gather and provide additional documentation to establish when the home became uninhabitable and was vacated (utility disconnects, etc.) in order to make an informed decision on her request. The request is tabled until other documentation is provided.

Updates to LRSD Website

Parke Smith reported:

  • Greg Gear provided to Greg Burkett (Ripfish) the final items he requested.
  • Greg Gear will resend the link and password to the entire board with a request to complete individual reviews by January 30.
  • After the full board has an opportunity to review, a final release meeting will be scheduled with Greg Burkett for February.
  • At the conclusion of the final review meeting, a date will be established for the new site to go live.

Other Items That May Come Before the Board

Jim Haney reported on 2 items:

  • Ditch Assessments
    • The required ditch assessment is due February 1.
    • Greg Gear and Jim Haney will coordinate to process and report.
  • Astbury Billing Issue
    • LRSD received a proposal for a rate increase of 11.51% for operation services, based on multiple economic factors (CPI).
    • The original agreement identified specific rights of each party, including pricing increases. Andy Boxberger and Jim Haney have reviewed the agreement and noted that it states a maximum increase over a 4-year period of 5%. Astbury acknowledged that the language in the agreement did not reflect their understanding.
    • After discussion (including discussion about the value of the relationship with Astbury and the appreciation for the quality of their work), the board settled on responding to Astbury with a counter proposal which would include a one-time increase of 8.25% with a 3% annual cap going forward.
    • Jim Haney noted that there is also similar price increase language in the Astbury agreement for billing and collections services and that the board may want to consider addressing that issue at the same time as they address the operation services agreement.
    • Jim Haney made a motion to approve the Astbury operations agreement for 4 years (from August 2019) with an increase of 8.25% with subsequent increases based on CPI, limited to a maximum of 3% annually and apply the same terms to the Astbury billing and collections agreement. The motion was seconded by Bob Marcuccilli, and by voice vote was carried by the vote:

6 Yeas 0 Nays 0 Abstain

Public Q & A

  • None


Motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:17 PM was made by Jim Haney, seconded by Bob Marcuccilli, and by voice vote was carried by the vote:

6 Yeas 0 Nays 0 Abstain

Parke Smith, Secretary