Auburn BPW Approves Water Operator Agreement with Peru City Officials
An agreement between Peru city officials and the Auburn Board of Public Works (BPW) to provide a water operator to Peru was approved by the BPW Monday, Nov. 14. The agreement runs through December. A future agreement may possibly include additional services.
David Hunter, BPW general manager, said that the agreement has worked well for both parties. BPW staff started backwashing the filters at the plant twice daily. BPW staff now is backwashing filters once daily. Peru officials repaired a couple of huge water leaks which overloaded the system. A couple of more leaks need to be repaired. Hunter said that once all leaks were repaired backwashing filters may only need to be done every other day.
BPW officials will continue to work with Peru officials to help them identify more improvements needed to restore the plant to reliable condition.
2012 Electric Rates Approved
2012 electric rates were approved. Residential customers will have a two-tenths of one percent decrease in summer rates and 6.1 percent increase in winter rates. The minimum bill will increase from $10 to $11. The monthly meter charge will increase from $8.50 to $8.70. Rural residential customers will have decreases in summer rates of 1.3 to 1.5 percent and increases in summer rates from 5.2 to 5.5 percent. The monthly meter charge will be increased from $11 to $11.20. In some rate classes the summer rate decreased. The actual increase is less than 7 percent.
The rates include Nebraska Public Power District’s (NPPD) 7 percent increase which included a 9 percent winter increase and a lesser summer increase. Rates were recalculated without franchise fees. Franchise fees will be separate items on bills. Currently, Auburn’s franchise fee is $0.003 per kilowatt hour. Brownville, Johnson and Nemaha are currently 5 percent of total sales.
The schedule of fees was also approved.
Sewer Phase III, Water Plant
A $57,959.20 payment to TJ Osborn for Sewer Phase III was approved. The contractor has completed the 27th Street and Magnolia lift stations except for some clean up work. Hunter said that everything was working well. BPW now has two lift stations that can be monitored around the clock and call officials in the event of an alarm. An emergency generator was also part of the project.
The contractor has completed the sewer lining project. The final video inspection was done last week.
BPW officials are awaiting the final pay request to close out the lift station and sewer lining projects.
A final pay request to Eriksen Construction for the water plant was denied upon recommendation of the attorney and staff. Officials have not received the lien waiver certificate and liens have not been paid.
The plant is operating as expected. A couple of issues with the SCADA need to be resolved. BPW officials have not received readings from the reservoir as were planned as the SCADA issue has slowed down getting this enhancement completed. That should be operating by the end of the month. Once it is completed, BPW officials will be able to start trending pumping capacity and gallons to get a better handle on the volume of water to determine losses.
Other Agreements Approved
An engineering agreement with Olsson Associates not to exceed $30,000 was approved. That document involves insulation on catalytic converters on the power plant to comply with the Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (RICE) compliance. Two converters will go on the roof of the power plant. That will be billed on an as used basis. If the $30,000 amount is exceeded, it will be brought back to the board for approval.
A $12,500 agreement with JEO Engineering for Highway 136 water and sewer improvements was approved. BPW officials are working with officials of JEO and the Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) on improvements to water and sewer lines to be made when Highway 136 is resurfaced in 2014. The issue came out early to allow the improvements to be incorporated in the NDOR plans and bidding documents.
A $2,057.86 maintenance agreement with Pitney Bowes was approved for the current folder/stuffer/sealing machine. Cost of a new machine was higher. BPW officials may consider offering online billing. Currently, about 200 customers are paying by credit card and 630 customers are using Auto Pay.
Capacity Fees on Vacant Properties, Other Business
The board will continue discussion in December on charging sewer and water capacity fees on vacant properties. More information is being obtained.
The recommendation of the Pension Committee to offer a Roth 457 plan for pension benefits was approved. It is at no additional cost to BPW or city officials. It provides another option for employees to save for retirement. The Roth Plan is an after tax plan that the employee can contribute a portion of after tax wages if they choose to do so. The recommendation will be forward to the City Council for its approval.
Hunter was authorized to spend up to $10,000 for an air compressor.
A $201 bid from Alan Slater was accepted to remove the utility shed. It was the highest of three bids received.
A recommendation of Hunter to continue with the current health insurance policies was approved. It called for an 8.7 percent increase, which was less than anticipated. The City Council will likely consider it.
Chamber Bucks for Employees
The board approved giving $25 in Chamber Bucks to the BPW’s 26 full-time employees in recognition of the contributions of the employees. Generally, BPW has given full-time employees a $15 gift certificate to be used towards purchase of a turkey or a ham. Previously, certificates were issued but it was decided that it was easier to issue Chamber Bucks.