Mohawk Valley Water Authority Minutes

October 24, 2022

Chairman DeLia called the meeting to order at 5:00 PM.
Chairman DeLia presided and Amy Passacantando took the minutes.

Roll Call

Present: Dennis Bova, Bruce Brodsky, Vincent Coyne, Elis DeLia, Mark Ford, Richard Karam and Bette Szesny
Absent: Carl Annese, Rocco Arcuri, Frank Mutolo, Joseph Samson.
Also Present in Boardroom: Patrick Becher, Phil Tangorra, Anne Milograno, Eric Schuler, Jim Mack, Jim Korfonta, Geralynn Powers. Alexis Manore from the Daily Sentinel was also in attendance.

Approval of the September 19, 2022 Minutes

Motion made by Mr. Ford to approve the minutes. Seconded by: Mr. Brodsky
Vote: (7) Ayes (0) Nays (0) Abstain (4) Absent Motion Carried.

Resolution: Approval of the Water Rates for Fiscal Year 2023.

Mr. Becher stated that this water rate increase is 4.85%. It is a little over $20.00 per year, or $1.72 per month for the average family of 4 based on 55K gallons per year usage. One reason for the increase is the additional debt service payment of about $555,000. to support an expected bond issuance to finance capital construction projects. Helping to offset the rate increase is new revenue from Wolfspeed microchip plant. There is also a convenience fee now being charged for payments made with a credit or debit card. Mr. Becher wanted to remind the public that this 4.85% increase is only on the water portion of the bill.
Chairman DeLia added that our rate consultant sent a certified letter and Mr. Becher continued that they run a number of tests to make sure we meet all of the covenant requirements, we have with the bond holders and that letter is here. The rate consultant has reviewed it. Jim, Geralynn and the accounting staff have done a great job providing all of the information to our rate consultant and it is certified that it works. Mr. Korfonta said there were a couple of small changes in the rates and fees booklet.

Motion made by Mr. Coyne to approve the Resolution. Seconded by: Mr. Karam
Vote: (7) Ayes (0) Nays (0) Abstain (4) Absent Motion Carried

Resolution: Approval of the Budget for 2023

The budget includes minor increases in operating expenses. We have been able to keep those down through a variety of ways such as, postponing some projects or equipment purchases etc… There is new debt service in here for next years budget based on anticipated borrowing to support the capital plan. The other thing to note is we typically budget for a deficit, which means that we do rely on reserves that have been built up over past operating years to be introduced back into this budget as a revenue line.
Chairman DeLia reminded everyone that working on the budget takes a lot of time and hard work between the department heads and senior staff as well as holding budget workshops.

Motion made by Mr. Ford to approve the Resolution. Seconded by: Mr. Bova
Vote: (7) Ayes (0) Nays (0) Abstain (4) Absent Motion Carried

Extension of the Veolia Contract was introduced and tabled until the next meeting to allow Board Members additional time to review the contract.

Discussion for Bonding:

Chairman DeLia started the discussion of Bonding with the draft letter that Mr. Becher had prepared to be sent to the Finance Authority. Mr. Becher explained that the Capital Committee met about 6 weeks ago and reviewed the proposed capital project list for the next 2 years. Some modifications were made to the list. What has emerged from this is a punch list of projects totaling about $9 Million. Debt servicing for this has been built into the budget.

Motion made by Mr. Coyne to approve the Draft Letter for Bonding. Seconded by Mr. Karam
Vote: (7) Ayes (0) Nays (0) Abstain (4) Absent Motion Carried

Approval: 3rd Quarter Investment Statement ending 9/30/22

A reminder that the Public Authorities Law requires that we provide you with a statement of investments and the earnings on those investments to date and any related expenses. This is primarily repair and improvement funds and reserve money that is in various bonding’s that we have accumulated over the years. Mr. Korfonta noted that it looks like a lot of these investments, as they become due, we may be able to reinvest them at higher rates because the Treasury’s and CDs are going up.

Motion made by Mr. Brodsky to approve the Investment Statement. Seconded by: Mr. Karam
Vote: (7) Ayes (0) Nays (0) Abstain (4) Absent Motion Carried

Committee Reports:

Finance: August Finance Report

Mr. Korfonta stated that water sales for the year are up about $252K over budget. Consumption is up 8.6% compared to the prior year. That is primarily due to Wolfspeed. Cash flow is up about $1.2 million, which is good because we will need those funds to pay some large bills at the end of the year.

Executive Director’s Report

Mr. Becher asked and made sure that all of the Board Members received the email regarding the water quality notice. Mr. Becher explained what the violation was, how it occurred and what’s being done to rectify the situation. He noted that even though the violation was only at one site (Airport in Oriskany), we are obligated to notify all of our customers.

Chairman DeLia said that it is important to note again that the tanks at the Airport were inherited in the system (not something we constructed), primarily to serve the Oneida County Business Park. Chairman DeLia has had a conversation with the Oneida County Executive regarding these tanks. The cost will be about $11million to replace the tanks and Chairman DeLia would like to revisit this with the OC Executive at a later date.

Mr. Brodsky asked how this water violation happened (is it due to age, chlorine or exposure to the organic material)? Mr. Tangorra stated that it’s a matter of the amount of chlorine in the water, the age of the water and the temperature of the water.

Mr. Brodsky questioned how organics get into the water and Mr. Becher stated that it begins at Hinckley Reservoir.

Mr. Tangorra said that we remove around 75-80% of the organic material that comes in the raw water. The Board has invested (10 or 11 years ago) up to 1 million dollars for replacement of granular activated carbon GAC to remove a majority of those organics. Still a small fraction remains, that 20% and because of the length of time it takes the water move through the system over there, you have time for this reaction to occur. Temperature is going down now, we expect the THM numbers to go down. We are moving water a little differently now and we expect those numbers to go down. Mr. Tangorra says it is important to note that we do take this seriously and we intend to be compliant across the board at all times.

There will be a meeting this Wednesday the 26th of Oct. with the Neptune Meter Co., our Attorney Ken Bobrow, Our consultant Don Schlenger and some of our staff. The Neptune Reps have completed the radio studies and are ready to recommend different technology to us and begin discussions on the transition and how it will work.

Mr. Brodsky asked about implementing monthly billing. Mr. Becher says that the current system is deficient and hopefully this will be implemented in the future.

Mr. Becher said that the Teamster negotiations will begin Nov 3rd to start talking about a new contract.

The Pipe Loop Study that we are doing to look at the new lead and copper revisions that are being mandated will kick off a week from Friday, the 4th of Nov. Phil has been working closely with Eric and staff from the yard to harvest lead service pipes from the ground to have a test loop set up at the maintenance building at Kemble St. There are 12 pipes (3 groups of 4). The Company hired Corona Labs and they will be overseeing the chemical experimentation, 12-18 months of testing different ways to see if we can neutralize the water better than we are now, AKA optimizing the corrosion control program to see if we can then comply with those levels without having to rip out a lot of the lead pipes.

We have collected approximately $2.2 million in past due payments.

Mr. Becher noted that the next board meeting will have the Veolia contract on the agenda as well as some of the company policies that need to be approved annually.

Old Business:
New Business:

Respectfully submitted,

Amy Passacantando, Secretary
Mohawk Valley Water Authority