STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA ) STOKES COUNTY
) WATER/SEWER AUTHORITY
) DANBURY, NORTH CAROLINA
COUNTY OF STOKES ) FEBRUARY 19, 2009
The Stokes County Water and Sewer Authority met in regular session in the Conference Room of the Administration Building on Thursday, February 19, 2009, at 3:00 p.m. with the following members present:
John Hawkins, Chairman
Worth Hampton, Vice Chairman
Arzell Montgomery, Member
Wayne Smart, Member-Absent
W. Scott Snow, Member-Absent
Also present were:
Mark Delehant, Public Works Director, Ex-Officio Member
Julia Edwards, Finance Director
Brenda Carter, Secretary
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Chairman Hawkins asked if there were corrections to the minutes of the January 15, 2009, meeting. As there were no corrections, Mr. Hampton made a motion, seconded by Mr. Montgomery and the motion was unanimously approved.
Chairman Hawkins recognized Ms. Edwards who gave the members a handout (attached) of the top four highest owing customers and gave an update on these past due accounts that were tabled from the last meeting.
The Board discussed the issue and noted that the figures presented by Ms. Edwards were more in line with amounts they felt was to be collected.
After discussion, Mr. Hampton made a motion that Ms. Edwards proceed with a letter to the customers stating the amount owing, minus late fees and to give the customers an option of paying the account on a one time basis or they would be allowed to make payments and if the amount owed is not paid then the Board will pursue collection of the same.
Mr. Hampton asked if there were other customers with balances owing and Mr. Delehant noted there were other accounts and he noted that he would go by these customers house and check to see if it was occupied, if not he would find out the homeowner and start charging an availability fee to the owner. If these were renter accounts the same procedure for collection as these accounts previously discussed would take place.
Mr. Hawkins requested information concerning the deposit for new accounts. Ms. Edwards noted that at present a fee of SEVENTY-FIVE DOLLARS ($75.00) was being charged. Mr. Hawkins noted that an increase in this amount for renters might be beneficial.
Mr. Hawkins then questioned if the by-laws stated if there was a time limit of two months before the water could be disconnected? Mr. Delehant will check the by-laws for a time limit for disconnection. Mr. Delehant noted that it was legal to charge a different rate for renters than property owners. Mr. Delehant noted with a charge of $150.00 deposit would allow three or four months ahead of the renter and this would encourage the renter to request his deposit, thus giving notice of his departure.
After further discussion, Mr. Hampton made a motion as of March 1st, 2009, to increase the rate deposit for renters to ONE HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS ($150.00), Mr. Hawkins seconded the motion and the motion was approved.
Ms. Edwards wanted to verify that if a citizen comes in and is buying a house, that it is her understanding that she charges the $75.00 deposit fee and only the renters pay the $150.00. The Board noted that this was correct. It was noted that the renters may bring in a lease agreement or Ms. Edwards can check to see whom the property owner is and also the form that is now being used must reflect this change.
Mr. Hawkins noted that Mr. Delehant the Public Works Director should check on the properties to see if these houses had been vacated and if they were to disconnect the service. Mr. Delehant noted that he would check on these things if he had the Board’s approval and would check the by-laws to see when the cutoff day would be for a late payment, 30-90 past due bill.
After further discussion Mr. Hampton reiterated his motion that Ms. Edwards proceed with a letter to the customers stating the amount owing, minus late fees and to give the customers an option of paying the account on a one time basis our they would be allowed to make payments and if the amount owed is not paid by a time to be determined by the SCWSA bylaws then the Board will pursue collection of the same.
Ms. Edwards noted that there was a standard letter that she would send to the customers that included a 30-day cutoff notice if the invoice were not paid.
Mr. Hawkins noted that the procedure to collect would be to notify the customer of the revised bill, a current bill with a letter and a copy of their agreement and a letter stating “after review of your account, your bill has been adjusted and payment is due within 30-60 days or come in to set up a payment process.
Ms. Edwards noted to summarize Mr. Hampton’s motion, that she would send a letter stating the adjustment, a copy of the adjusted invoice and would include in the letter that if this amount was not paid within 90 days or a payment schedule was not set up that the SCWSA would seek collection of the amount due. After the 90-day period, a debt set off letter would then be sent to the customer.
Mr. Montgomery seconded Mr. Hampton’s motion and the motion was approved.
The Board further discussed the collection of these accounts and approved obtaining a Social Security Number by making this a part of the application. Ms. Edwards will be able to verify these Social Security numbers by a program that she has access to.
Mr. Delehant noted that in the letter to the customers that they should be informed that the late fees have been waived. Ms. Edwards noted that after she has compiled the letter that she would get the approval from Mr. Ed Powell, the County Attorney before sending the letter.
Mr. Hampton noted that in his motion he wanted Ms. Edwards to be authorized to adjust the balances and the Board noted that this had been done.
NEW BILLING SOFTWARE
The Board discussed the new billing software and Mr. Delehant noted that he had several customers to call him with questions concerning their balance and after conferring with Ms. Edwards, between the two of them, he had been able to answer their questions and it was his opinion that after a short period of time the program would run efficiently with little if any problems. After discussion it was noted that with this system the Board would have a better idea of transactions than with previous systems.
Mr. Hampton had a concern with flushing of the lines and Mr. Delehant noted that the flushing of the lines takes place when the weather is warm and takes place at areas such as the end of Fiddlers Lane. Mr. Delehant noted that the only flushing at the present time is at the end of the line and the Authority receives credit for this from Forsyth. Mr. Delehant noted that there was a 12% loss of water from leakage and this was not a high loss.
The Board then discussed the two wells in Danbury that Mr. Delehant noted are working well since he had discovered several leaks. Mr. Delehant also informed the Board that representatives from Rural Water would help with locating water leakage problems for free.
CONTRACT TO AUDIT ACCOUNT
Ms. Edwards presented to the Board copies of the Contract to Audit Accounts (attached) and asked for approval of the contract. Mr. Hampton made a motion to approve the Contract to Audit Accounts, seconded by Mr. Hawkins and the motion was approved.
MEETING WITH OFFICIALS FROM KING
Mr. Hampton informed the Board members that he, Bryan Steen, the County Manager, Alan Wood, the new Economic Development Director, had met with John Cater, the City Manager of King and had a very good meeting.
Mr. Hampton noted that at the end of the meeting, Mr. Cater had a question, as he knew Mr. Hampton was on the SCWSA Board. Mr. Cater wanted to know why the Board had not contacted King concerning a connection. Mr. Hampton informed Mr. Cater that there was a great distance from King to Germanton and to Madison and the Board would have no reason to feel this would be economical. The Board noted that it would be very expensive to run lines from King.
Mr. Montgomery noted that he wanted to comment on the Town of Walnut Cove Water System. Mr. Montgomery noted that the Board had been trying to work with the Town of Walnut Cove for nine years and he thought the Board should no longer go this route, but to only pursue withdrawing water from the Dan River and only sell water to Walnut Cove as they need it. Mr. Hampton noted that without Walnut Cove it could not be justified to withdraw water from the Dan River.
Mr. Hampton noted that it was his understanding that you could not get a withdrawal permit unless you can prove that you cannot get water locally in the county. Mr. Hampton also noted there was a study to locate water in the county for possible well sites. Mr. Montgomery noted that he was at a meeting with the Commissioners and he did not think that the Commissioners would fund digging wells.
The Board discussed the study by Golder Associates for possible wells sites in Germanton and the status of this study. Mr. Delehant noted that there were very good sites for well drilling in Germanton and it was at the point of making a decision of where and when to begin. Mr. Delehant noted that a well or two would supply the Germanton system. Mr. Montgomery noted that at the meeting he attended with the Commissioners present, the Commissioners knew that water was coming from Forsyth County and were not interested in digging wells. Ms. Edwards agreed with Mr. Montgomery that the Commissioners were not interested in digging wells, but wanted to pursue a withdrawal permit from the Dan River.
Mr. Hampton noted with the Industrial Park that is planned near Kobe/Wieland on Hwy. #311, there must be water and sewer available. A study will be necessary to obtain rights for water and sewer that is an ongoing project.
Mr. Delehant noted that the Board might schedule their next meeting. The Board approved Mr. Hawkins’ suggestion of the next meeting being on Thursday, May 14, 2009.
As there was no further business to discuss, Mr. Hampton made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Mr. Montgomery and the motion was approved.
Brenda Carter, Secretary John Hawkins, Chairman