Mohawk Valley Water Authority Minutes

April 17, 2023

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

Roll Call

Present: Carl Annese, Dennis Bova, Bruce Brodsky, Vincent Coyne, Elis DeLia, Mark Ford, George Haskell, Richard Karam and Bette Szesny
Absent: Rocco Arcuri, Frank Mutolo.
Also Present in Boardroom: Patrick Becher, Dan Faldzinski, Joe Roy, Phil Tangorra, Anne Milograno, Jim Mack, Jim Korfonta, Sandra Dare and Ken Bobrow, Esq.

Approval of the February 6, 2023 Minutes

Motion made by Mr. Annese to approve the Minutes. Seconded by: Mr. Brodsky
Vote: (9) Ayes (0) Nays (0) Abstain (2) Absent Motion Carried.

Presentation from Brock Solutions:

Mr. Becher stated that this was a $2.5 million project to rebuild our SCADA System (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) with remote monitoring and remote control of everything out in the field, the Distribution system, and at the Treatment Plant. We brought on Brock Solutions to help work with our Engineering staff and IT Dept. The project is now complete, and Stephanie Mickelbrencis is here to give an update on how the project went.

Stephanie works for Brock Solutions, they are a Professional Engineering Services Company with about 750 employees. They found there were some vulnerabilities in our system, and it was time for us to upgrade. We needed to figure out a way to get this up and running without any downtime. She stated that everyone she worked with did an excellent job and worked collaboratively. From Brock’s perspective, it was an excellent project. There were no delays, even during the Covid-19 period.

Mr. Mack added that there was a lot of cooperation between Steve Donovan, who built the system Joe Roy, the IT Dept, Gary Trapnell and his team, as well as Phil Tangorra and his team, while they figured out the solution and got this up and running.

Mr. Brodsky said that he is very pleased and proud to be on this Board. The Board and the Staff worked as a team to make the upgrades to this system and make it safe and secure.

Re-Affirmation of Human Resource Policy:

Mr. Becher stated that the Public Authorities Reform Act says that we need to review, make changes if necessary, and reauthorize company policies annually. The Sexual Harassment Policy needed to be updated.

Our Personnel Director, Sandra Dare, stated that NY State made changes to the policy last Thursday and added transgender language, bystander intervention, and remote workplace to the discrimination policy, and NYS also added a hotline number for sexual harassment on a 24/7 basis. This is in line with the NYS model policy. We did not write in this language; it was derived from the new NYS guidelines.

Motion made by Mr. Ford to approve the Re-affirmation of HR Policy. Seconded by: Mr. Brodsky
Vote: (9) Ayes (0) Nays (0) Abstain (2) Absent Motion Carried

Committee Reports:

Finance: January and February Finance Reports

Mr. Korfonta presented this report. The January and February monthly financial reports are here for you. We just finished the financial audit for the year and it went very well. There were a couple of new rules that we had to adopt, so that took a little longer than anticipated, but we filed on time with the state. We also have maintain continuing disclosures as a part of our bonding process that’s coming up in June.

As of the end of February, consumption is down 2.8% for the year, compared to last year. Sales are up $153,000. for the year compared to last year, a little below our budget right now. Cash flow, is positive for the year-to-date.

Executive Director’s Report:
  • Mr. Becher introduced our new Principal Engineer, Daniel Faldzinski. He also said that there are still 2 engineering positions that need to be filled.
  • Mr. Becher stated there was a press release put out today from the Governor’s office that there is $425 million of water infrastructure money available in grants, reduced financing opportunities and such. Mr. Becher and Mr. Faldzinski will develop a funding letter to send to local representatives in the Assembly and also on the Senate side to see if they are able to come together and workout some kind of line-item number items for us. There will be a scalable list of projects depending on how much funding will be available. We’ll offer some options for them to look at. Hopefully we will get interest at the state level and acquire additional funding grants or low interest loans. The letter should go out by the end of the week.
  • Hinckley is now spilling over the dam. Our point of contact, who was Howard Goebel, is no longer at the Canal Corp. We now have a couple of new contacts and Mr. Becher, Mr. Tangorra and Mr. Faldzinski will meet with the new contacts in the near future and walk them through the history of all the documents that are in place and make sure we are all on the same page.
  • Mr. Mack reported that since the COVID-19 moratorium for shut offs has expired, we have collected $3.1 million in past due payments for posted accounts.

New Business:

There was a discussion regarding the procurement policy, as to making changes to it. It was decided that Mr. Becher, Mr. Gassner and Mr. Korfonta will update the policy and bring it to the full Board at the next meeting.

Mr. Becher spoke about the new guidelines for lead service sampling, which is changing from 50 homes every 3 years to sampling 100 homes every 6 months. We are having a difficult time getting customers to participate in this. Mr. Tangorra discussed the reason for the change in the lead sampling and the difficulty in getting participants and is asking about the possibility of implementing an incentive program.
The Board Members have agreed that it is a good idea to have incentives for the customers who participate in the lead sampling. Mr. Brodsky mentioned the possibility of a 3rd party company that would make phone calls for us to customers. Another suggestion was to mail a blanket letter to customers that have lead services. Mr. Tangorra will present his plan at the next Board meeting.

Last item of the meeting is a Board Performance Self Evaluation that needs to be completed by each Board Member. This is anonymous and needs to be tallied and gone over by the Governance Committee, then submitted to the ABO (Authorities budget office).

The meeting was adjourned at 5:44 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Amy Passacantando, Secretary
Mohawk Valley Water Authority