MINUTES OF MEETING
The regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the Coral Springs Improvement District was held on Monday, November 21, 2005 at 4:04 p.m. at the District Office, 10300 NW 11th Manor, Coral Springs, Florida.
Present and constituting a quorum were:
Bob Fennell President
Bill Eissler Vice President
Glen Hanks Secretary
Also present were:
Pete Witschen Severn Trent Services
Ed Goscicki Severn Trent Services
Jean Rugg Severn Trent Services
Doug Hyche Severn Trent Services
Mel Entus Severn Trent Services
Dennis Lyles Attorney
John McKune Engineer
Josh Laresky Goldcoast Tires
Jessie Torres Goldcoast Tires
Mr. Witschen called the meeting to order and called the roll.
SECOND ORDER OF BUSINESS Approval of the Minutes of the October 17, 2005 Meeting
Mr. Witschen stated each Board member received a copy of the October 17, 2005 minutes and requested any additions, corrections or deletions.
Mr. Eissler stated on page 17, “mostly $1,000,000 operations” should be “multi-million dollar operations”. In the next paragraph, the word “quit” should be “resign”. In the four line of the next to last paragraph, the word “not” should be deleted. In the last paragraph on page 19, “1,100” should be “11,000”. In the next to last line, the words “are not” should be “are extremely”. On page 20, the word “reducing” should be “increasing”.
Mr. Fennell stated this group is blessed with having some very abled Board members; Mr. Eissler, Mr. Hanks and I. However, the problem with being in a politically elected body is there are certain political realities we have to watch for and cannot have any inappropriate behavior or actions. We have been looking at different management proposals and all of us can probably take over some of these jobs but it is not appropriate for us to do so. If you were applying for a job for other Districts, it would be appropriate but it is not appropriate within this District for the Board members to take on these jobs.
Mr. Eissler stated it is perfectly legal to do so. If you are trying to save the District a great deal of money, I am not so sure it would be politically inept.
Mr. Fennell stated I think it is important the Board members solve this problem as opposed to having someone come in and take over control. We have to find good management but it cannot be us.
Mr. Eissler stated I disagree. It is legal, provided the person recuses themselves before any vote is taken.
Mr. Fennell stated what I worry about is the appropriateness of the Board member with some kind of quid pro quo or understanding in doing so. I do not want to lose a great Board member or two.
Mr. Eissler stated the State Legislature could disband us or incorporate the District but we do not want Coral Springs taking over CSID. We came through this hurricane “smelling like roses” compared to other Districts and this is commendable to our people.
Mr. Hanks stated there is the perception things are not good on the Board.
Mr. Fennell stated we need to solve the problem as Board members, other than taking over the management ourselves. I have no doubt Mr. Eissler will be an excellent manager but it would not appropriate for him to do so.
Mr. Eissler stated it would only be for a specific period of time.
Mr. Fennell stated even so. If you were doing this for another District, I would wish you well.
Mr. Eissler asked what if the District contacted me?
Mr. Fennell responded it might help.
Mr. Eissler stated Mr. Goscicki may say no but there are people in the business who say Severn Trent may sell what they do in the Districts now. They may keep the financial end but not run the Districts.
Mr. Fennell stated it could also happen the other way around.
Mr. Goscicki stated I am the Vice President/Regional Manager for Severn Trent’s operations in the southeast US. There is absolutely zero discussion at any place in the organization from the President of the company down in any way, shape or form debating in any way the selling of this company, selling any piece of this company or giving away any part of the management of this CDD business. This is the business we are in, staying in and are going to be very successful in. We are not entertaining any offers for sale or dissolution of any piece of this business. I do not know where these rumors are coming from.
Mr. Eissler stated it comes from people running the Districts.
Mr. Fennell stated I wanted to discuss this matter before someone resigned. We as Board members need to step up more than we are now and there may in fact be special assignments. The problem is we cannot get any more money.
FOURTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Consideration of Engagement Letter with Keefe, McCullough & Co., LLP to Perform the Audit for Fiscal Year 2005
Mr. Witschen stated we wanted to get the auditors engaged earlier this year so we do not have the issues we had in the past. It would be appropriate for Keefe, McCullough to perform the audit for this year. Once approved, they can be on target to bring you a draft audit within the first two months rather than at the end of the year.
Mr. Eissler asked is this the same auditor?
Mr. Witschen responded yes. I will bring back to you more detailed auditing of the District to answer some of the concerns you have. This is the annual audit as required by the state.
Mr. Hanks asked is their fee in line with our budget?
Mr. Eissler responded no. The audit fee is $15,000 but we only budgeted $8,000 for 2005/2006.
Mr. Witschen stated $8,000 was budgeted for the General Fund and $10,000 was budgeted for the Water and Sewer Fund.
Mr. Fennell asked what was last year’s fee?
Mr. Witschen responded my recollection is $15,000 but I can get you a more definitive number.
Mr. Fennell stated we are still having some internal issues with our accounting as well as between management and the accountant. I would like to have an audit of what is occurring within this group and will assign Mr. Eissler to research this matter and come back with a report to the Board, not only separate from an accounting standpoint but from a management standpoint as to whether we have the correct procedures and people in place.
Mr. Eissler asked such as our payables?
Mr. Fennell responded yes.
Mr. Eissler stated I agree. We do all of our payables and billing in-house. Our budget is also done in-house with no outside influences. We had problems in the past with not paying our health insurance on time. This is a serious matter.
Mr. Witschen stated there should be checks and balances to make sure we have the correct policies and standards in place. I am glad the Board is having this discussion because aside from the annual audit, a policy and standards review is necessary to address the concerns of the Board. Some policies and procedures probably need to be put into place.
Mr. Josh Laresky stated I am here with Mr. Jessie Torres on behalf of Goldcoast Tires of Coral Springs. We have a 10 year relationship with NSID, CSID and Sunshine providing tires and repairs. However, we have $2,000 worth of outstanding invoices going back to June. I have been dealing with Ms. Susan Walker who I feel is very unprofessional and combative. We have been trying to straighten out the billing since June and she does not return our phone calls. We make phone appointments to meet with her and she tries to push me off.
Mr. Witschen stated I have made it a point to now see all invoices and have approved at least five of your invoices and noticed the late dates. This is something we cannot continue to have if we want to have good vendor relationships. Those good vendor relationships helped us during the storm when we needed able to obtain fuel.
Mr. Laresky stated she threatened to cancel the accounts. I had Goodyear involved because Ms. Walker had the incorrect licensing. There was an issue a week ago where she tried to purchase a tire through my Coral Springs location when the Location Manager was not able to get in touch with me for authorization. I would have probably authorized it but the store did as they were supposed to. Ms. Walker told us she did not want to deal with us anymore.
Mr. Witschen stated she does not have the authority to make those threats nor would I condone any employee making these threats. I apologize as the District Manager for this type of behavior.
Mr. Eissler asked should we have this incident in writing from them?
Mr. Lyles responded it would be better to have something in writing. However, in lieu of having something in writing, you have a record of this District’s proceedings. The record has been made, which is as official and sufficient in its present form as if it were made in writing. There are two issues, a substantial amount of time going by with accounts being unpaid and a complaint from a vendor regarding unprofessional treatment by an employee of the District. At this point we would have to prove who said what, which we can do with the minutes that will be approved at the next meeting.
Mr. Eissler stated I apologize on behalf of CSID. It certainly is not the Board’s intent to not pay people. Keep in mind, this has happened before. I think this matter should be looked into further to make sure it does not happen again and you get paid promptly.
Mr. Laresky stated I am not worried about getting payment at some point but there is no cooperation from Ms. Walker. Someone named “Robin Dvorshak” in another department attempted to help us.
Mr. Witschen stated Ms. Dvorshak works in operations with Mr. Hyche. Ms. Walker apparently grabbed the files back, according to Ms. Dvorshak. I will look to Ms. Dvorshak and Mr. Hyche to make sure those bills are paid and the treatment you receive is professional.
Mr. Lyles stated obviously we have a problem.
Mr. Witschen stated we want to get a more detailed scope of the internal controls performed by the auditor but this engagement letter did not contemplate it. I would like to see some strength in the area of internal controls as far as review.
Mr. Eissler stated we had our credit card cancelled by Home Depot repeatedly for lack of payment.
Mr. Hanks asked did we want to assign a not to exceed dollar amount to be at the discretion of Mr. Witschen and Mr. Eissler?
Mr. Lyles responded either way. You can establish a fee not to exceed $10,000 to be negotiated by the Management Company.
FIFTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Consideration of Change Order No. 1 to Crews Construction Services, Inc. for Rehabilitation of Wells 4 & 5
Mr. McKune stated this is a continuation of the discussion held last month regarding Well 4 on West Atlantic Boulevard, adjacent to Mr. Craig Rolett’s house. This well was rehabilitated two to three years ago. We did an extensive job of developing the well, which is a process of over pumping to get any sand out of the well. Looking at the records, there were 84 hours of development, which is a high amount for a well. We wanted to make sure it was fully developed, which it was at the time. This project was intended to refurbish and install a pump into the well as well as reinstalling everything above grade including all the piping, controls, box enclosing the well, new radio system and re-landscaping.
After the new pump was installed and well 4 was finalized, it pumped for a week at its designed rate of 1,100 gallons per minute but after one week, it started pumping stand, which destroyed the pump. We pulled the pump and decided to bring in a Well Maintenance Company and pay them through a Change Order. However, after repeated attempts of trying to fix this well and looking at TV cameras we placed inside of the well during pumping, we decided to remove all of the gravel out of the well. We did not want to do that but had no choice. The well was constructed two years ago and there was nothing wrong with the construction of the well because it had performed well in the past. At this time, we would like to pay the remediation contractor for what he has put into the well, at the direction of our consultants who are in the drilling business. We would also like to authorize payment to them for what it would take to reconfigure the well so it will pump water instead of gravel. We are basically changing the basic design of the well. We will also decrease the pumping rate on the well to be on par with other wells.
Mr. Fennell asked why are we pouring money down a dead well?
Mr. McKune responded the money would be for renovating the well and changing the configuration into something less stressful on the aquifer and the constructed well.
Mr. Fennell asked why do you think the well is going to work?
Mr. McKune responded gravel is being sucked up causing an excess in velocity and/or a problem with water passing through the gravel. Normally in wells in South Florida, bacteria grow from the ground.
Mr. Hanks asked do we need this well according to state regulations to meet the number of required wells based on our flow or is it needed to meet our required flow?
Mr. McKune responded both. We had an experience with the original three wells at the entrance gate regarding the possibility of contamination. This is the reason we installed four wells across the canal and put them on emergency power.
Mr. Fennell stated the four wells were redundant which turned out to be a good thing.
Mr. McKune stated they are redundant to the existing well system, which this well was part of.
Mr. Witschen stated currently this well is not functioning at all.
Mr. McKune stated correct.
Mr. Witschen stated we need the well to contain adequacy for increased demand or in the event we have to take another well down for repairs and restoration.
Mr. Entus stated the only other option is to develop a completely new well, which would be much more costly than refurbishing as you have to abandon the well.
Mr. Hanks stated the order of magnitude to develop a new well and abandon is in the $200,000 to $300,000 range. We have to look at this from a standpoint of what we have to do to get it to function. We do not have the option of doing nothing.
Mr. Eissler stated last month we talked about removing the junk pile. As far as I know it is still there. I thought Mr. Witschen was going to handle this matter.
Mr. McKune stated I was on call last week and we attempted to get in touch with the driller to get him to come over and remove his equipment. I am hesitant to have District staff move it. Mr. Entus had offered to remove the equipment.
Mr. Witschen stated my understanding is they have 30 days more work to do. Within that time, the area will be cleaned up.
Mr. Eissler asked have we notified the homeowner?
Mr. McKune responded I had conversations with the homeowner.
Mr. Eissler stated we should notify the homeowner. Legally, we have a right to pick up the equipment and store it until the contractor decides to pick it up. This is a major street and the resident’s property faces this junk pile. I would not want this in my yard.
Mr. McKune stated we attempted to get in touch with the driller today but were unable to reach him.
Mr. Lyles stated although it is the driller’s property and owned by his business, the equipment is deposited on and remaining without permission on the District’s easement. While we cannot dispose of the equipment, we can certainly take custody of it, put it in a safe place and notify the contractor to pick it up.
Mr. Hanks stated the property owner is upset because a portion of the piping and pump are mounted on 4x4’s and does tend to intrude upon the gravel walkway the resident uses. If we take this portion and move it to the fence, it would eliminate the objection.
Mr. Hanks stated I would like for Mr. McKune to contact the homeowner.
Mr. Eissler stated fine with me so long as the resident is satisfied.
EIGHTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Approval of Check Registers
Mr. Eissler stated I see where the money came from for recruiting. It was explained in a memo from Mr. Witschen and Ms. Walker with copies of the actual ads.
Mr. Witschen stated some of this information was not as forthcoming as I wanted. I will try to get through the balance of your concerns.
Mr. Eissler stated our contract with Severn Trent has a 60 day cancellation clause. Therefore, I recommend we cancel our contract with Severn Trent and identify specific services we need such as Recording Secretary, accounting and computer services. By doing so, I think we can save a considerable amount of money in the new year.
Mr. Hanks stated before doing so, we need to establish a desired structure.
Mr. Eissler stated we have a management company in place for 60 days. I see no reason to wait a month. This is only an idea.
Mr. Hanks stated after the 60 days, we should have a better understanding to develop the scope.
Mr. Eissler stated we can do this within 30 days. We should obtain proposals from other companies and invite them to come here and look at what we do and make a presentation at the next meeting as to what is required and the cost. Severn Trent is more than welcome to submit a proposal. We do not need to spend $230,000 but we need outside help.
Mr. Hanks stated I agree but we would get more responses if we clearly define what CSID’s responsibilities are going to be and what tasks will be performed outside. We could also leave the outside task ambiguous and clearly define what CSID has and leave it open for the other companies.
Mr. Eissler stated I would like other companies to come in, see what we do and suggest what we need.
Mr. Fennell asked did we already look into this at one time?
Mr. Eissler responded yes and they offered less than a fourth of what we are paying now. We are wasting money and I am opposed to wasting money. We should take action and the way to force us to do something is to give notice of cancellation. This gives us two full months. There are other companies out there and we should talk to them to see what we need and have them submit a price. We are only renegotiating what we are doing. This discussion continues month after month.
Mr. Fennell stated this is the reason why we established a yearly review. You are correct that we have not actually terminated the contract with Severn Trent and maybe we need to do so.
Mr. Eissler stated we are spending CSID money and are the custodian of the money and need to watch how it is spent. I do not like the way we are spending this money.
Mr. Fennell stated I agree but would like to table this matter for a month in order to hear Mr. Eissler’s report on the accounting. There are several different issues; one is with the management structure and the other is with the financial structure. There are real issues with the current management company and tasks performed in-house.
Mr. Hanks stated we are talking about reinventing CSID. This matter was brought about when we went through a succession of managers. I am very happy with Mr. Witschen and the job he is doing. He is taking action and following through on matters, which is very refreshing but I still want to see us pursue different actions. By giving 60 days notice, we are telling Severn Trent, “we really mean business”.
Mr. Fennell stated I think the real issue lies with the Board deciding what kind of group we want. We need to sit down and discuss how we want to firm up this organization and what we need to do so as Board members. I also think we need more information. I would like to understand what can be done differently with our financials. I also want a report from Mr. Hyche. Therefore, I recommend we table this item until the next meeting.
Mr. Hanks asked should we come up with the structure first?
Mr. Fennell responded yes. We need to discuss how we want to see this organization going forward.
Mr. Hanks stated there is a management contract and the scope of services provided under the management contract and this is only a small proponent of our overall budget. We need to take a closer look at our overall budget and find ways to reduce costs or cover the expenses to fund the necessary programs and future capital costs adequately.
Mr. Fennell stated we had some structural problems and were hoping Severn Trent would come back with some solutions. They came back with a new structure, which we did not agree to.
Mr. Hanks stated the other structural problems we perceive are with the accounting and accounts payable.
Mr. Fennell stated at this point in time, I am not ready to vote.
Mr. Hanks asked what will we accomplish by providing the notice of termination?
Mr. Eissler responded it will force us as a Board to identify what we need from outside consultants and seek proposals from three companies with prices. If we do not do anything, we will end up discussing the same issue this time next year. Giving them termination does not mean we would no longer have Severn Trent. They would come back and say, “we think you need this…” but we do not need to spend $230,000. We want to make this a pleasant place to work and an efficient company. Mr. Hanks asked what companies are we looking at?
Mr. Eissler responded one company was Craig Wrathell & Associates. I also spoke with two other companies in South Florida who manage Water Control Districts. We need a Recording Secretary. I cannot think of too many things we need other than to change the way we do our payables. Ms. Walker has been involved as long as I have been a Board member but she alienated a number of our vendors. This forces us to bring in other people and get ideas.
Mr. Hanks asked if we receive three responses and cannot agree on one and Severn Trent is at the end of their 60 days, what happens then?
Mr. Eissler responded we will make a decision in 60 days.
Mr. Hanks stated I agree we need to do this but my concern is whether we would get a responsive package back within 60 days.
Mr. Eissler stated we would get a response within 30 days. Severn Trent would not take very long to decide what we need and what they want to charge and the other companies are looking for business. Their proposals could be terrible and if Severn Trent was willing, we would reinstate their contract. I hope they would not charge $230,000.
THIRD ORDER OF BUSINESS Report from Doug Hyche on Hurricane Wilma Damages and Discussion
Mr. Fennell stated I would like to congratulate Mr. Hyche and his staff on the great job they did during Hurricane Wilma.
Mr. Hyche stated we did very well and have some good staff out here. We had some problems with our fuel.
Mr. Fennell stated I spoke to the City Manager who wanted to know why we were not buying our fuel from him. I told him he was supposed to get us some fuel and he did not do so. I know you asked him for some.
Mr. Hyche stated they even called me and asked if I still needed some fuel. I told them I did and then they called back again and asked if I still needed it and I said no because I did not need any fuel at that point. I already put enough pressure on our own supplier to get fuel to us.
Mr. Fennell stated the City Manager was under the impression they had plenty of fuel and would have helped us out. Someone over there decided not to help us.
Mr. Hyche stated I found out we were not represented at Broward County EOC because we did not have a representative there, which we will have for the next hurricane. Without representation, you are not going to get what you need.
We lost all power at our lift stations. However, we put a small generator on the ground and were able to do all our bacteria samples and everything came back fine in-house. We did not have many secondary sampling.
Mr. Fennell stated the generators we ordered had not yet arrived.
Mr. Eissler stated they were due that week.
Mr. Hyche stated they were due that Wednesday. We received one generator before the storm and I have a few ideas on how we can obtain more generators. We do not need the large generators and can obtain smaller ones.
Mr. Fennell asked what size is needed?
Mr. Hyche responded 24 hp motors. For the price of one large generator, we can get three smaller ones, which triples our generator power. All we have to do is set it outside next to the lift station and let it run. Another idea is to have larger pumps. The pumps we currently have will not pump against a full system. Our suction pumps are fine when a system is half full and we are trying to pump water from a wet well into a non-full system but when you try to go from one full system into another, it is not large enough.
Mr. Hanks stated I would like to sit down with you to figure out what we need to keep the system operational.
Mr. Hyche communication was another problem. We went to Radio Express to obtain some pricing. We also need larger fuel storage. We currently have a three to five day supply.
Mr. Fennell stated we were going to double the amount at one time but we never did so.
Mr. Hyche stated we need enough fuel to last us 10 to 14 days.
Mr. Eissler asked can we obtain a permit to carry this much fuel?
Mr. Hyche responded yes.
Mr. Eissler stated lets do that.
Mr. Fennell stated Port Everglades did not have any serious problems. If there was storm surge into the port and someone blocked the port trying to get out of there, it would have been down for weeks. This is a real issue.
The record will reflect Mr. Hanks left the meeting.
Mr. Fennell asked what do we need to improve our system?
Mr. Hyche responded we can improve many things such as the standby generators.
The record will reflect Mr. Hanks joined the meeting by phone.
Mr. Hyche stated I provided the Board with an aerial view of the area taken the Sunday after the storm. Part of the upgrade is more than likely refundable under FEMA.
Mr. Fennell asked do they have UHF or VHF frequencies.
Mr. Hyche stated UHF which is a better system. It costs $500 for the license. As far as the damage, we had an original estimate of $3,000,000 but this number was scaled down to $650,000 just for the facility.
Mr. Fennell asked how much are we insured for?
Mr. Hyche responded we are insured for 2% for any hurricane damage but most of it is going to be FEMA refundable. In regards to debris removal, we have a staging area for the debris which we can rent to the contractors and work into the scope under their contract whereby they have to leave the area in better condition than when they got there. We are going to grade and seed the area.
Mr. Fennell asked do we have to seek bids?
Mr. Hyche responded I spoke to Mr. Lyles and under an emergency, we do not have to take bids.
Mr. Lyles stated you did not talk to me. Even though this is considered somewhat of an emergency, this type of contract is going to need to be bid unless we do it through our Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement.
Mr. Hyche asked what if time constraints through FEMA do not allow you to bid? We will not have the paperwork in time if we have to go out for bids.
Mr. Lyles responded FEMA may require you to bid. They are not necessarily going to accept a price you give them.
Mr. Hyche stated the National Resource Conservation Service has given us 60 days.
Mr. Witschen stated if we have another estimate, which is lower, we can enter into the contract.
Mr. Lyles stated we go back to the same issue we talk about every month, which is we have an antiquated Special Act from 1970 restricting us. However, when health, safety or property are at risk, even though we have given these opinions, we are going to protect health, safety and property and come back and have ratification by the Board or after the fact. We will make sure that is cared for first. However, to the extent possible, legally we are required to go through a bidding process if we are spending more than $4,000.
Mr. Fennell asked what do you think this is going to cost? I see trees all over the place.
Mr. Hyche responded you are talking millions of dollars. Canal bank restoration is going to have to be done as well as culvert inspections and culvert repair if needed, which requires divers. This is a monumental task.
Mr. Lyles stated we have contracts with divers. In many cases we are going to be talking about buffering up a contract that was bid as opposed to going out and obtaining new proposals, bids and contracts.
Mr. Hyche stated they still have to work under FEMA guidelines, which is on a cubic yard basis. We had a FEMA kickoff with the city three weeks ago and from this date, we have 60 days to get our contracts and agreements in order and our PW’s sent out.
Mr. Hanks stated it should be plenty of time to advertise and get something on the street.
Mr. Fennell stated lets do it now.
Mr. Eissler asked are there 25 miles of canals in the District?
Mr. Hyche responded yes. For the entire District, there are 100.5 miles of canals.
Mr. Fennell stated it is going to take until the next meeting to figure out what we are going to do. Someone has to come out and survey the District.
Mr. Hyche stated we have done some assessing and did the aerial survey. I actually have P&J ready to provide me with a proposal.
Mr. Fennell stated we should be okay in 30 days. Who owns the trees?
Mr. Hyche responded if the trees are on District canals, they are your trees.
Mr. Fennell asked did they fall into the canals?
Mr. Hyche responded most of them fell out of the right-of-way. I spoke with Mr. Billy Morgan from FEMA who is removing debris from Miami-Dade County and he recommended cutting trees off at the property line. We are going to make many people mad by cutting their trees and leaving them on their property.
Mr. Eissler stated my neighbors and I cleaned up all of our trees at our expense and pulled what we could out of the canals.
Mr. Hyche stated most people are doing that but we are receiving calls every day from residents asking us to remove trees from the canal banks.
Mr. Fennell stated we will have a monetary flow issue once this contract comes in.
Mr. Hyche stated we will set up an account with FEMA. We will also send an invoice to FEMA, they will review the invoice and send the check to our account. Our accountant will then write the payment to the contractor from this account.
Mr. Fennell asked how quickly do they send payment?
Mr. Hyche responded there is usually an eight to ten day turnaround. This is a monumental task. We currently have $350,000 allocated by NRCS to CSID for extensive cleanup of the canals to remove debris from culverts blocking the flow.
Mr. Fennell asked do we have the Right of Entrance for private property?
Mr. Hyche responded yes. I received comments from Mr. Lyles and it is ready to go.
Mr. Fennell stated I am very proud of how District staff handled themselves, Mr. Hyche in particular. I was able to make it over here a few times. We will try to get some additional power stations, additional fuel storage tanks and do something about these radio proposals, which have to go out for contract. However, I was disappointed in Severn Trent Services as I did not see anyone from Severn Trent here.
Mr. Goscicki stated you did not look. We were updated twice a day in conference calls with Mr. Hyche, Mr. Entus and me and my management team around the state. We were assessing what the needs here were and offered whatever assistance was required or requested. In reality, you did not need it as you had sufficient staff and generators. The only concern raised was fuel. We were here and were in contact with Mr. Hyche and Mr. Entus on a daily basis regarding the hurricane status.
Mr. Fennell stated I heard Mr. Entus was here. Another issue was there was a time when it would have been easy to purchase some oil from another oil company, however, we did not have any way to write a check. I cannot sign checks. Only Mr. Witschen can sign checks. We needed money and had no way to issue checks. I would like to see us resolve this issue.
Mr. Entus stated we had personal checks.
Mr. Fennell stated management should have been here to lead us.
Mr. Witschen stated management was involved.
Mr. Fennell stated I saw Mr. Hyche mostly but no one from management.
Mr. Entus stated we have an emergency management plan.
Mr. Witschen stated I attempted to make contact with every Board member. Mr. Fennell’s phone did not work. Obviously in a storm like this, we learned many things. We were very fortunate to have our system in working order where other systems did not work. Communications was a huge disappointment with the Nextel systems.
Mr. Fennell stated we also need a satellite radio.
Mr. Entus stated I was here on a daily basis. The only day I could not get here was the day after the storm because there was a huge ficus tree in the middle of our street. After the tree was cut away and I got out to the main street, it was blocked off. I was here the next morning and communicating with Mr. Hyche both morning and night. By the same token, I was also in communication with Mr. Goscicki in Sarasota daily because there were no other communication venues available. My Verizon phone happened to work whereas the Nextel phone, which was taken totally out of service.
Mr. Fennell stated I expected either Mr. Witschen and Mr. Goscicki to be here and playing a stronger management role than I saw. I was over here three or four times and did not see anyone.
Mr. Eissler stated I was here four times and spoke to everyone in the plant. I asked if there was a Hurricane Emergency Plan from Severn Trent and was told there was not one. I was told Mr. Jim Ward was the Disaster Recovery Officer and he is no longer with Severn Trent. My question is how can a plan be with a person. The plant staff did a miraculous job and I would like to ask Mr. Hyche to come up with an idea for doing something for the plant personnel to recognize them for the work they performed during the hurricane, whether it be lunch or something more substantial.
Mr. Fennell stated I agree.
Mr. Eissler stated some of these guys were here long hours and had their own problems at home. I saw them at the pump stations and stopped to talk to them. I would like to recognize them in some manner. This was the worst hurricane Broward County had in 40 years. Lets hope it does not happen again for 40 years or more.
Mr. Hyche stated the regular employees received overtime pay.
Mr. Eissler stated we need to recognize the people who went beyond the call of duty. Money is one thing but recognition is another.
Mr. Fennell stated we can have a big barbecue. They used to have them every month.
Mr. Eissler stated we have a monthly luncheon but it costs money and is budgeted. We should do something so they know CSID cares and are thankful.
Mr. Hyche stated I will get you some ideas. Many managers who do not get overtime spent a great deal of time here.
Mr. Fennell stated we also understood the need for backup systems for the power plant but what was surprising was we did not have backup systems for the business systems. This was an issue here because after the first day or two, we needed to get back to business.
Mr. Hyche stated one of my suggestions was to increase the size of the generator operating this building. To put the building on auxiliary power would be after the event occurs. Then the employees can come in and get their systems up and running. You would not want to stay in this building during a hurricane.
Mr. Hanks stated we should have discussion on what worked and what they need to do next time from key personnel such as Mr. Hyche, Mr. Dan Daly and accounts payable.
Mr. Fennell stated we definitely need additional backup power. We actually authorized for additional fuel some time ago.
Mr. Eissler stated we talked about the need for fuel but never authorized it.
Mr. Entus stated you are 100% about the fuel. The only issue we had during this storm was with the fuel. I was very worried about the fuel supply. Mr. Hyche had ways of cutting down the amount of fuel consumed. We need additional fuel storage to where you should be able to operate these plants for at least a week without worry.
Mr. Fennell stated this was supposed to be the initial concept.
Mr. Eissler stated we currently have enough fuel for three to five days.
Mr. Entus stated even three to five days is pushing it. We were blessed during this storm because we had no main breaks. The operators did a fabulous job but if we had any major main breaks, we would have lost line pressure and had major problems like other communities such as Plantation and Ft. Lauderdale. Mr. Witschen was without water for a few days.
Mr. Fennell asked what can we do?
Mr. Entus responded not much. It is a luck of the draw. The second day I was here, I spoke with Mr. Goscicki who said, “I have a group of guys ready to come down to Broward County to help CSID and NSID.” I told him I would talk this over with Mr. Hyche to see what type of help we needed. Mr. Hyche said we had everything under control and did not need more people. I then called Mr. Goscicki back and told him we were in good shape. Staff was practically living at the plant and had plenty of food and water. We never lost line pressure and did not have to issue a boil order water.
Mr. Hanks asked were there any deficiencies in the way the system is presently set up that we need to pursue to help alleviate potential future problems?
Mr. Entus responded the biggest problem is the fact you have no control over a tree uprooting and ripping up a water main causing a loss in line pressure. Whether you are in CSID or Miami, this happens and we were very lucky. Staff on duty went out as soon as there was a lull in the storm and they shut off and isolated all of the broken lines. They could not have done better. I have been in this business for a long time and was very pleased with the job they did. If I had to critique anything, I would say the problems were with fuel storage and a better means of communication. The only communication we had between us and Severn Trent was by cell phone. I oversaw what they were doing and there was not much I could have added. I asked Mr. Hyche what else he needed and he told me he had everything under control. Your idea about giving the guys who had to work here day in and day out recognition is prudent. The operators receive overtime pay but these guys do not.
Mr. Eissler asked will you come back next month with some ideas?
Mr. Hyche responded yes.
Mr. Fennell stated this is a good time to entertain proposals for radios. We probably want to have UHF rather than VHF. Did someone from Radio Express discuss this with you?
Mr. Hyche responded I spoke to my Field Supervisor and put him in charge of this project.
Mr. Fennell stated the difference is in the size of the antennas. However, UHF bounces more and does not go through vegetation as much as VHF. There needs to be a base station as well as individual units. Do you know how many individual units you need?
Mr. Hyche responded we have not figured the number out yet. We would purchase a radio and phase out a Nextel unit.
Mr. Fennell stated there will be 16 channels. What other channels do you want?
Mr. Hyche responded we do not need many channels.
Mr. Fennell asked are there other emergency channels?
Mr. Hyche responded we could not get on the city emergency channel.
Mr. Fennell stated before we decide what frequency we will go on, call the city or the police to see if there is an emergency all communication channel.
Mr. Hyche stated the city has a public works channel, which is probably the channel they would allow us to use. I do not think they would allow us to use the police and fire channel.
Mr. Fennell stated we also need to obtain an old cell phone from Motorola’s old system. You can talk on those phones no matter what happens. You need at least one phone here to call out and in. Is there anything else we should combine into these frequencies?
Mr. Hyche responded I thought about combining the lift stations with our telemetry to show us whether they are without power or have high levels.
Mr. Fennell stated I agree. Is there any way we can find broken lines?
Mr. Hyche responded we have a GPS system.
Mr. Fennell asked how do you find out whether a line is broken?
Mr. Hyche responded we usually receive a phone call or someone sees it.
Mr. Fennell asked is there any kind of pressure sensor we can install to make it easier for you to find these line breaks?
Mr. Hyche responded you can install pressure sensors throughout the system to show whether you have zero pressure in one location or 60 psi in another.
Mr. Fennell stated there were people driving through my area looking for broken lines but no one could call them in because our phones were dead.
Mr. Hyche stated I am sure there is technology out there you can put on the distribution system to tell you anything you want to know.
Mr. Entus stated most of it is power connected and if your power goes down, you are not going to get your signal or battery back up. The bottom line is you are not going to know when the service lines are broken, unless someone sees it or calls it in. You will know if there is a problem on a water line because you are going to notice a pressure loss at the plant. There could also be service line breaks underneath tree roots, which you might not find for days. If no one has a way of communicating with you, there is going to be a problem.
Mr. Hyche stated the best way to find the breaks is visually.
Mr. Fennell asked then what do you do?
Mr. Hyche responded we would isolate it. We sent our guys out with a key in and if they see a break, they shut it off until we could come back and repair it.
Mr. Fennell asked how many valves do we have in the system?
Mr. McKune responded the number is in the thousands.
Mr. Entus stated we have the capability of isolating small sections. It is just a question of planning.
Mr. Hyche stated every service line has a valve.
Mr. Fennell stated I would like to thank Mr. Hyche and the staff of CSID for a job well done in assisting us in our time of crisis.
FIFTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Staff Reports
There not being any, the next item followed.
1. Monthly Water & Sewer Charts
Mr. Eissler stated I noticed the ph number keeps rising.
Mr. McKune stated we had some differential floating on one of the slackers. They found it and at the end of the month when they tallied their line usage. This was one spike, which brought up a one week spike in the month.
Mr. Eissler stated it says we had 10 spikes for the month of October. Rather than this being a trend, it was an animally based on an erroneous instrument reading. Everything else is normal.
Mr. Fennell stated at the next meeting, we would like to see the proposals for communication systems, fuel systems, trees and a reward program.
2. Utility Billing Work Orders
There not being any, the next item followed.
Mr. Witschen stated we have some customers who had unanticipated breaks on their side of the meters because of landscaping debris who were receiving excessive bills. Obviously we have a minimum rate structure we have to contend with. In recognition of those breaks, we will refund a credit to residents who have breaks that were not customer preventable, to bring them back to what would be an average sewer bill at a base rate of $1.90 per thousand gallons. For those cases we identified as storm related breaks, we will not impose the conservative conservation rate for this month. We will bring a report back to the Board on those accounts we have re-adjusted.
Mr. Eissler asked how big were the bills?
Mr. Witschen responded $300 to $400. We have to charge for water consumption because it is in our rate structure.
Mr. Lyles stated not only is it in your rate structure but the Board adopted it at a public hearing. You also have bond covenants requiring you charge for the approved products.
Mr. Eissler stated if someone has a water bill every month for $30 and all of a sudden they have a $400 water bill, they know why. I can see giving them a break on the sewer because they did not use the water.
Mr. Fennell stated when there is a fire, we do not charge for water.
Mr. Fennell stated this is an exception basis and are only going to do this for 30 days.
D. Complaints Received/Resolved
There not being any, the next item followed.
SEVENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Supervisor Requests and Audience Comments
Mr. Goscicki stated the Board heard a great deal of discussion today about the fiscal management program here in CSID, problems and concerns regarding accounts payable and how the accountants of the District work with Severn Trent. This issue has been discussed for the past nine months. We have had two separate workshops with the Board, one as a facilitator and another with staff looking at this issue only. We have identified this as the number one issue. We would be remiss in not coming before you right now and saying we have serious concerns. We have and continue to have serious concerns about the viability of the current process and the way it works with the bifurcation of responsibilities. We have concerns with Severn Trent of not fulfilling our fiduciary responsibilities to you because of the lack of control we have, lack of cooperation we get and the lack of input received from staff at the plant. We are also concerned about the District in terms of our ability to give you the comfort of understanding the financial situation, the procurement and the procedures being following. We would like to bring this issue to conclusion one way or the other. Either the District will take on financial management responsibilities or Severn Trent will. We are very uncomfortable and cannot continue in a process where we are half involved in this process. We are at the point of saying, “this is not working”.
Mr. Eissler stated the procedure functions poorly because we are alienating our suppliers.
Mr. Goscicki stated it is damaging our reputation and the District’s reputation.
Mr. Eissler stated I will report to the Board at next month’s meeting. Something must be done in our favor.
Mr. Goscicki stated it has to do with the payables and the relationship of the purchasing to the payables and the payables to the financial records. There is no continunity in the entire network of the system as the communications and cooperation are not there. The system is broken.
Mr. Eissler stated it is a people problem.
NINTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Adjournment
Glen Hanks Robert Fennell
CSID Notes for 10/17/05 Meeting
• Agenda Items for Next Meeting
1. Report from Mr. Eissler on District Accounting Procedures.
2. Consideration of Proposals for Communication, Fuel, Trees
• Doug Hyche
1. Give some ideas to the Board on rewarding staff on a well done job.
• Pete Witschen
1. The Board wants to know last year’s auditing fee.