Minutes – June 8, 2020

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

Roll Call

Present by Phone: Rocco Arcuri, Richard Karam, Joe Samson. Present by Skype: Bruce Brodsky, Elis DeLia, Vincent Coyne, Mark Ford, Luke Lewis and Ken Bobrow, Esq.. Bette Szesny logged in after approval of minutes. Absent: Mr. Bova, Mr. Corr and Mr. Mutolo. Present in Board Room: Patrick Becher, Suzanne Harmon, Richard Goodney, Anne Milograno, Phil Tangorra, Jim Mack, Jim Korfonta and Scott Gorgas.

Chairman DeLia stated that when we meet in person at the July Board meeting the Board will be re-affirm everything that the Board is doing this evening.

Approval of the January 27, 2020 Minutes

Motion made by Mr. Coyne to approve the minutes. Seconded by: Mr. Brodsky
Vote: (8) Ayes (0) Nays (0) Abstain (4) Absent Motion Carried.

Resolution: Award of Professional Services Contract Ramboll Engineers for Raw Water Main, Archeological, Geotechnical, Environmental Related Services

The MVWA Capital Improvement Program calls for design and construction of nearly 3 miles of new 54” diameter Raw Water Main from Hinckley Reservoir to the WTP in Prospect to replace a 115 year old 24” diameter main. The project will involve land and shallow water specialty pipe construction, tunneling and/or boring to install the new 54” water main, temporary line stops (valves), new valves ad connections to existing mains. Ramboll Engineers, Utica, NY submitted a detailed Task Based Scope of Services to be completed at a fee of $48,230. The Engineering Department has recommended Ramboll Engineers to Perform the services.

Motion made by Mr. Karam to approve. Seconded by: Mr. Coyne
Vote: (9) Ayes (0) Nays (0) Abstain (3) Absent Motion Carried.

Approval: Proposal to Evaluate Scada System

Brock Solutions is pleased to provide the MVWA with a proposal to deliver a SCADA Master Plan for the water distribution system. The first step was to develop a SCADA master plan to evaluate the current SCADA system, architecture, and hardware and to identify the future goals of the organization around key areas including maintainability, growth and security. Going forward the responsibilities for the SCADA system are being migrated to the IT department and steps are already underway to begin addressing cyber security concerns by isolating engineering and IT systems on the existing corporate network. Brock will assess the areas of concern and exposure facing the organization and recommend a strategy that will address the current state and help define the vision for SCADA 2020.

They expect to complete this project in four weeks. Brock’s fixed price amount for professional services is $62,000. Price excludes applicable taxes.

Motion made by Mr. Arcuri to approve. Seconded by: Mr. Brodsky
Vote: (9) Ayes (0) Nays (0) Abstain (3) Absent Motion Carried.

Brock Solutions – Engineering Change Proposal

Through investigations on the MVWA SCADA Master Plan we had discussions with Jonathon Arneth about the Water Treatment Plant (WTP) which is operated and maintained by Suez. At a higher level however MVWA is responsible for approving any capital projects and improvements at the WTP. Through discussions and our interim review, we recommend including the WTP into the overall SCADA strategy.

Motion made by Mr. Brodsky to approve. Seconded by: Mr. Arcuri
Vote: (9) Ayes (0) Nays (0) Abstain (3) Absent Motion Carried.

Approval: Use of Reserve Funds for Technology and Security

Mr. Becher stated that there were a range of things not included in the Operation Budget last year. When the Finance Committee met in February regarding all of the security improvements that we are doing that are not budgeted the categories fell into Physical Security, Alarm Systems, New Recording and Camera Systems throughout City Hall and other facilities, the Study for SCADA and additional Firewalling and protection that IBM at that time was going to do. It was going to be $480,000 in total. Since then Jim Mack and the IT Department have had discussions with Tri-Delta and they can do what IBM was going to do. Their cost is $50,000. When you include the Brock study, physical security for $127,000, security at the pump stations is additional $101,000. The cameras at City Hall and the maintenance yard total $42,000, the SCADA systems and firewalling total $398,650 as opposed to $480,000, which is $82,000 less than we had estimated. The Chairman said go ahead with this and the MVWA has drawn down $140,000 of that to pay for some of the work that has been in progress. The Finance Committee has met in February and approved and was going to bring it forward to the March meeting.

Motion made by Mr. Brodsky to approve to take funds from the O&M Fund. Seconded by Mr. Coyne
Vote: (9) Ayes (0) Nays (0) Abstain (3) Absent Motion Carried.

Approval: MVWA Fourth Quarter Investment Statement as of 12/31/19 and the First Quarter Statement Ending 3/31/20

Mr. Korfonta stated that this is an investment statement of the MVWA trust funds. The Board has been presented with these statements every quarter for approval.

Motion made by Mr. Arcuri to approve the 4th Quarter ending 12/31/19. Seconded by: Mr. Brodsky
Vote: (9) Ayes (0) Nays (0) Abstain (3) Absent Motion Carried.

Motion made by Mr. Arcuri to approve the 1st /Quarter ending 3/31/20. Seconded by: Mr. Brodsky
Vote: (9) Ayes (0) Nays (0) Abstain (3) Absent Motion Carried.

Committee Reports

Mr. Korfonta stated that there were three months of financial statements in your binder. For the fourth month of the year, the cash balance has taken a significant downward dive due to the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic. Mr. Korfonta has estimated running this out to December with a deficit close to $3 million dollars. However, in May we did have somewhat of a recovery but still below our budget I was looking at a $350,000 deficit and that has now gone away. If we run this out to the end of the year, we are looking at a $1.7 million dollar deficit.

Mr. Becher stated that in the meantime Jim and I have come up with a number of provisions that will allow us to close that gap. There are 5 vacant positions over the last year. If we maintain a hiring freeze those 5 positions with wages and benefits would be $340,000. There are a number of miscellaneous line items in the budget we could reduce. We probably could generate $650,000 or so in the operating budget by reducing expenses. This is evolving due to the Brock report we received this morning.

Mr. Becher stated that the State Legislature has passed in the Legislation and the Senate would bar us from turning off water who is not paying us and would require us to send out notices indicating that. Mr. Bobrow stated that the Legislation the was passed by the Legislative branches applies only to residential. It does require utilities to send an enclosure that basically tells everyone that if you are having financial difficulty, which they do not define financial difficulty. There is also the issue of looking into October we normally push non-paid bills become liens on the tax rolls. That is something else that we need to look at. Mr. Bobrow suggested having customers fill out something in writing in which the affirm that they suffered financial consequences in order to be eligible. Establish what they owe and how they intend to pay it.

Executive Director’s Report

  • You all received a bonding letter. The MVWA was on a bonding schedule of every two years, borrowing around $6 million dollars and that would take us through two years of our Capital Improvement program. The MVWA was spending $3 million dollars a year or so in those bond issues. The MVWA has not bonded since 2016. Our financial consultant has recommended not waiting to the Fall but do it as fast as we can. Phase 2 of our Raw Water Line project moving forward . Phase I is the Pipe Bridge going over the gorge right behind the Treatment Plant. Phase 2 we do a mile of replacement of brand new 54” diameter pipe. Phase 2 is priced at $10 million dollars; we will be receiving $3 million toward that $10 million in grant money. The Brock Project will be $ 2.1 million dollars. We are looking at items like fire hydrants, meters and some of the larger vehicles, so we propose putting 2 years of bond items in this package. That would put the new total at $15.2 million. We will mot close on these bonds until late August and what I would propose in tandem with this, the items we discussed. I would like to ask the Finance Committee and the Operations Committee to look at the financing options here as well as the Brock study and see what kind of cost we want to include. Then we can finalize the number for the Water Finance Authority.

    The Board will initiate a request to the Finance Authority with a letter from Mr. Becher requesting them to move forward with no more than $15.2 million dollars in bonding.

    Chairman DeLia suggested putting out an ad campaign regarding the hit the MVWA has taken through this. Also, compliment all of the MVWA employees who are front line employees working hard. Not one person lost service out of 130,000 customers that we serve due to our employees.

    Motion made by Mr. Coyne to approve. Seconded by: Mr. Karam
    Vote: (9) Ayes (0) Nays (0) Abstain (3) Absent Motion Carried.
  • The MVWA reached an agreement with the Village of Oriskany to do sewer billing, which we have not started yet.

Old Business:

Resolution: MVWA Water Betterment Agreement with Mohawk Valley Health System

The NYSDOT is engaged in a Project described as the Route 5S Safety Project in the City of Utica. The Project involves the adjustment, relocation and installation of MVWA water mains and appurtenances along and by Route 5S in the City of Utica. The MVHS is desirous of having the plans for the Project modified so that in certain areas the water main shall be increased in size from 8 to 12 inches. MVHS is willing to pay the costs for such upgrade but, due to the nature of the Project, needs to have payment for the upgrade made through the MVWA. MVHS is willing to provide a deposit to the MVWA to cover the cost of the upgrade, which shall be paid by the MVWA to the NYSDOT, and MVHS agrees to pay any additional costs associated with the upgrade. The MVWA and MVHS wish to enter into an Agreement to set forth their respective rights and obligations for the upgrade.

Motion made by Mr. Arcuri to approve. Seconded by: Mr. Brodsky
Vote: (9) Ayes (0) Nays (0) Abstain (3) Absent Motion Carried.

Meeting was adjourned at 6:15 PM.

Respectfully submitted,


Suzanne M. Harmon, Secretary
Mohawk Valley Water Authority