MINUTES OF MEETING
CORAL SPRINGS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT
A regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the Coral Springs Improvement District was held on Monday, June 15, 2009 at 3:15 p.m. at the District Office, 10300 NW 11th Manor, Coral Springs, Florida.
Present and constituting a quorum were:
Robert Fennell President
Sharon Zich Vice President
Glenn Hanks Secretary
Also present were:
Kenneth Cassel District Manager
Jane Early District Engineer
Sean Skehan CH2M Hill
Gerrit Bulman CH2M Hill
Dan Daly Director of Operations
Doug Hyche Utilities Director
Kay Woodward District Accountant
Jan Zilmer Human Resources Manager
FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS Roll Call
Mr. Cassel called the meeting to order and called the roll.
Mr. Cassel stated we have a quorum and Mr. Fennell will be joining us in a little while.
SECOND ORDER OF BUSINESS Approval of the Minutes of the May 18, 2009 Meeting
Mr. Hanks stated the first paragraph on page nine, where I was going on to say “there is also a reason delta iron is still the preferred material”; that should read ‘ductile’.
Mr. Cassel asked are there any other corrections?
Mr. Daly responded I think they did a great job.
Ms. Zich stated I also did.
Mr. Cassel stated the words the words that seem to throw them are words like ‘delta’ and ‘ductile’ which do not always come through clearly on the recorder.
FIFTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Staff Reports
Mr. Cassel stated while we are waiting for Mr. Fennell we will go down the staff reports. It was a good suggestion, Mr. Daly.
· Monthly Water Charts
Mr. Daly stated Ms. Zich was nice enough to email and say the water and sewer work order chart was not complete. I will stand up and take note of that because I do not think I sent it to her. I went back and looked through my sent files and it was not in there. Ms. Schurz was not at fault for not including it. It has been a tough month.
Ms. Zich stated the numbers look good.
Mr. Daly stated it actually did.
Ms. Zich stated when I saw the numbers they looked great. Last month there were quite a few misreads, but this month there were none.
Mr. Daly stated the interesting thing is we had two this month when I sent it to you. Next month will probably be higher. A lot of times you do not hear from the customer and you do not find out it is a misread until you go out the next month and find out we sent the bill out, it was a misread, the customer paid the bill even though it was three times the norm and then we come out the next month with a lower reading than the month before. We actually catch the misread.
Ms. Zich stated okay. I just wanted to look at it.
Mr. Daly stated I just wanted to take responsibility for the fact I forgot to do it.
Ms. Zich stated okay.
Mr. Cassel stated Mr. Hyche’s May water loss charts are in there as well as your water billed and water treated. Mr. Hyche, what is our MGD? How many gallons do we expect on an estimated infiltration?
Mr. Hyche responded I took the numbers including the calculations where I used what we use in the system. It looks like for the month we had an infiltration number of approximately 8.6.
Mr. Cassel asked what does it relate to per day?
Mr. Hyche responded 280,000 gallons a day or something like it.
Mr. Hanks asked is this within our allowable, in terms of infiltration? We have mostly eight inch pipe, correct?
Mr. Hyche responded we have 12’s and 24’s.
Mr. Hanks asked on the gravity?
Mr. Hyche responded no. Not on the gravity. It is mostly six inch and eight inch.
Mr. Hanks asked do you have any idea of how many miles of pipe?
Mr. Hyche responded I just had that number because I was doing the report. I believe it is 1,890 miles of total pipe. It includes everything.
Mr. Hanks asked does it include horse main?
Mr. Hyche responded yes.
Mr. Hanks stated it is probably 70/30 gravity of force.
Mr. Hyche stated that is correct.
Mr. Hanks stated so that will give us something where we can take a look at what we are looking at for infiltration of our system and whether or not we are close to where we want to be.
Mr. Hyche stated exactly.
Mr. Hanks stated okay.
Mr. Cassel asked are there any other questions on the water reports?
Mr. Hanks responded no.
Mr. Cassel stated as far as any other items I have to report, it is my understanding from Mr. Hyche that Dunkelberger should have their initial report to us within the next day or two on what they have found in their investigation.
Mr. Hanks asked did they complete their drawing in the front yard?
Mr. Hyche responded all of the sampling is done.
Mr. Cassel stated they should be coming back to us sometime this week. We should expect to see an initial draft to see what we have to work with.
Mr. Hanks stated okay.
There being no report, the next item followed.
· Project Status Report
Mr. Skehan stated the current construction project, according to the contractor, he will have the final item turned in tomorrow to the city. He is anticipating he will have a permit to construct out here for Plant ‘F’. They have been doing some preliminary work out there such as clearing and grubbing. The county permit applications were turned in a week ago for the water plant so we received feedback today. We are working to respond to those questions right now. We spoke with the people at the city this morning and they are poised and ready to help. I spoke with Mr. Cassel this morning about Mr. Schubert, the head of the department over there. He has called me two Mondays in a row.
Mr. Cassel stated he is also contacting me so they are anxious to make sure this is going through as fast as possible.
Mr. Hanks stated thank you for stirring things up.
Mr. Skehan stated they have been responsive in a positive direction. Mr. Schubert called me about a week ago to inquire about things and he actually called me on a subsequent day to let me know one of the inspectors he received preliminary review comments from was going to be out of town for three weeks and he wanted to make sure he contacted him before hand to make sure the comments were squared away before he departed. That was good.
Mr. Hanks asked is this just for Plant ‘F’ or is it also for the Nanofiltration Plant?
Mr. Skehan responded Plant ‘F’ is the first one they are waiting on the check for. The Nanofiltration Plant is on its heals right now.
Mr. Cassel stated it seems like they are anxiously waiting to get it out of the county so we can get it to the city.
Mr. Hanks stated explain to me the difference as to why we are back into the county for permits.
Mr. Skehan stated the county looked at the plans a couple of weeks ago and there is a small sanitary lift station which is associated with the plant. That lift station has to be permitted separately, or licensed separately, to everything else. Regardless of whether it is on the site and it is part of an overall system here already, that lift station had to get its own set of plans, a permit application and a license application, which had not been submitted before.
Mr. Hanks stated so is this through EPD or whatever they are calling themselves?
Mr. Skehan responded yes.
Mr. Daly asked is that lift station for the Nanofiltration Plant?
Mr. Skehan responded yes. It is a new small lift station. The flow into the lift station is less than 100 GPM.
Mr. Daly asked is this for the toilets?
Mr. Skehan responded yes and the showers which are in there. There is one little wash down station that comes back into it. It is very incidental compared to the overall magnitude of the project, but they want all of the information; pump sizes, where they are, horsepower, and etcetera.
Mr. Hanks asked will the city be in a position to issue once that gets approved?
Mr. Skehan responded that is correct.
Mr. Cassel stated based upon our meeting two weeks ago with the city, most of the preliminary comments have been addressed so when it goes back to the city there should be very minimal, if any, secondary comments on the second time through. Part of the discussion was an improved communication between the three parties, the city, the engineer and the contractor, to make sure the review time is minimal.
Mr. Hanks asked how did this get to be such a surprise on the lift station?
Mr. Skehan responded because it is on the plant site it was a part of the typical overall plant design. We did not think a small lift station was going to be an issue. Lift stations are typically considered lift stations when they are out in the system.
Mr. Hanks asked if you have a lift pump from one tank to another, is it a lift station?
Mr. Cassel responded if it is sanitary, evidently they are considering that.
Mr. Skehan stated going from one tank into another tank is not going into the main that is coming in; this is why they considered it a lift station.
Mr. Hanks asked where is this going into?
Mr. Skehan responded it is going into the main. I suspect that is what they would feel or say. There are plenty of things out there which go from one tank to another tank and are not considered lift stations.
Mr. Hanks asked do you think it is going to take another week?
Mr. Skehan responded I do not think so. We had a response from them today. There are a couple of other items they have on there. They wanted wind loading calculations. They are doing the comprehensive review now. They are looking for wind load calculations on a fuel storage tank. They want a lot of stuff related to manufacture related information that the contractor does not have at this point. We have it in our specifications and we had included the specifications in the package when it was submitted last week, but it is a fairly thick section of specifications. We are going to go back through and highlight specifically the items they were asking for. They wanted some additional references in the drawings, which were not in the drawings. We can answer that easily right now.
Mr. Hanks asked how about the water modeling update with SFWMD?
Mr. Skehan responded Mr. Bulman can respond to that. There was an RFI which came back about a week ago. So we are proceeding with some of the initial responses.
Mr. Bulman stated nothing looked particularly problematic. They want some hydrographs and specific cells. Some of the issues we anticipated were there and others were not. CSID, NSID and the City of Coral Springs have some budget left. We are looking at the level of effort it will take to answer this before we issue responses.
Mr. Hanks asked is this the first set of comments from SFWMD?
Mr. Bulman responded yes.
The record will reflect Mr. Fennell joined the meeting at 3:30 p.m.
Mr. Hanks stated so far we have reviewed the water and sewer work orders and received the attorney’s report.
Ms. Zich stated we did the minutes.
Mr. Fennell stated that is good.
Ms. Zich asked did you have anything to change in the minutes?
Mr. Fennell responded no. I did not.
Mr. Hanks stated Mr. Skehan and Mr. Bulman were going through their project status report. A county permit application for the water plant was turned in last week. There was an issue related to a sewage lift station serving that plant. It was determined it was not part of the water plant permitting, but was a stand alone lift station and had to be permitted as such. They turned that in. They are getting comments back and more importantly, frequent feedback from the building officials at Coral Springs. They have received round one of comments from SFWMD with regards to the water modeling. That is about where we are. Ms. Zich, do you have anything to add?
Ms. Zich responded no. That is where we are. The public hearing on the budget will be next.
Mr. Fennell asked have we opened up the public hearing?
Mr. Cassel responded no. The next thing on the agenda is to open the public hearing and work through the budget.
THIRD ORDER OF BUSINESS Public Hearing to Consider the Adoption of the General Fund Budget for Fiscal Year 2010 (Resolution 2009-6) and Levy of Non Ad Valorem Assessments (Resolution 2009-7)
Mr. Fennell stated I hereby open this meeting to the public to consider the adoption of the general fund budget for fiscal year 2010, Resolution 2009-6 and levy of non ad valorem assessments, Resolution 2009-7. Are there any comments?
There not being any,
Mr. Hanks asked were there any changes to the budget from our last review on this?
Ms. Woodward responded yes. We basically just made general adjustments in several broad categories and expenditures under field in order to get the per unit assessment to equal the $186.79 the Board had projected. We did not add any new categories of expenses. It is in line with what your expectations were.
Mr. Fennell stated just to review; we are going to keep our assessment the same as last year.
Ms. Woodward stated that is correct.
Mr. Hanks stated we have quite a jump in health insurance this next year.
Mr. Daly stated it is estimated. Health insurance does not come in until it is finalized in August so it has to be estimated and we try to be a little high.
Mr. Hanks stated I noticed that our actual in fiscal year 2007 was $45,000 and our actual in fiscal year 2008 was $33,000.
Mr. Daly stated Mr. Zilmer worked really hard with the insurance broker and got it down. We had an interesting couple of years with the same carrier Aetna. We will get closer to finding out what it will be.
Mr. Fennell asked how has Aetna been treating our employees?
Mr. Daly responded Aetna is great. They wanted to keep us for the second year even though three days after the first year with Aetna we unfortunately had an employee go into the ICU for five to six days and eventually pass away. It was quite a way to open up the fiscal year. We had a lot of other employees who have been ill, hospitalized and had major surgery. In the past two years there have been three employees who have deceased. It will be interesting to see where Aetna can come in this year. If not, there are some plans, B and C, in the works.
Mr. Fennell asked are there any other questions or comments?
Ms. Zich responded it looks good.
Mr. Fennell stated okay so let us recap. We are going to be putting essentially $750,000 into the reserves. Our reserves will be back up to where we want them to be and we can start thinking of some additional issues we want to overcome to improve the system.
Mr. Hanks stated the trick is if we stock away the money for future improvements, then we are at risk for each bank or each entity with regard to whether they will still be around. It is a trade off.
Mr. Fennell stated it looks to me like the government over the last year has stepped forward and they had to. I think we are okay. The only issue is if they change the amount of money. Have we gone out and done certificate deposits for these funds as well?
Ms. Woodward responded yes. I believe it is $500,000 for the general fund and $750,000 for the water and sewer.
Ms. Zich asked is all of that in Wachovia?
Ms. Woodward responded no. It is not.
Mr. Cassel stated it is spread over five different banks.
Ms. Zich asked but is it only Wachovia we have our money in for our General Fund?
Ms. Woodward responded our certificates of deposit are in other banks, other than Wachovia. Operating funds are with Wachovia for both the general fund and water and sewer fund.
Ms. Zich stated okay. Interest did come in just as Wachovia. Is this correct?
Mr. Cassel asked what page?
Ms. Zich responded page three. Interest Income in the budget; when I saw it I circled it. Is it just Wachovia?
Ms. Woodward responded no. That is actually a projection for the CDs as well.
Ms. Zich stated okay. So it is not just Wachovia. There are other sources.
Mr. Hanks asked our water quality testing program; what are the parameters we are testing?
Mr. Hyche responded according to the regulations of Chapter 62.555.
Mr. Hanks stated on the general fund for $3,800, we are not going to be testing water and waste water.
Mr. Hyche stated yes you do. You have to do water quality testing in stormwater as well.
Mr. Cassel stated when you are doing pumping cycles every so many hours, every time you are pumping; you have to take samples of what you are putting into the outfalls.
Mr. Hanks asked nitrates and phosphates?
Mr. Cassel responded phosphates and etcetera.
Mr. Hanks asked how long does our record go back on those things?
Mr. Daly asked did we not do them quarterly forever?
Mr. Hyche responded yes. Our permits say we have to do them quarterly on every pump.
Mr. Fennell asked are there any other questions or comments?
Mr. Hanks responded no.
Mr. Fennell stated I guess we are ready for a vote.
Mr. Hanks asked what is the procedure? Do we adopt the budget and then adopt the levy?
Mr. Lyles responded you approve both of those matters by approving the resolutions in your package.
Mr. Lyles stated Resolution 2009-7 is the actual imposition of the assessments.
Mr. Hanks asked do we need to read the amount out into the record?
Mr. Fennell stated we have a budget with the same cost as last year. There is no increase. Finally after so many years of rebuilding from a hurricane we can look into improvements.
Mr. Hanks stated as far as the rebuilding for a hurricane we can consider, when we are working on our permit criteria manual, imposing conditions in the permit relating to the adjacent right-of-ways and removal of trees, etcetera, from the right-of-ways; even though they may be existing and outside of their property, we should consider putting that on the property owner as a condition of approval so we are not the ones getting kicked constantly with tree removal and mitigation requirements.
Mr. Fennell asked how would you do that?
Mr. Hanks responded I think we could probably work something into the permit criteria manual. I have not consulted with counsel or the manager on the appropriate way to do it. Most of these trees ended up going into the right-of-ways as a result of those property owners.
Mr. Fennell asked what if the house is already built and the permits already gathered?
Mr. Hanks responded we are going to have trouble with residential. It is mostly commercial.
Mr. Daly stated we have the five year permit renewal. That is not a bad time to do it.
Mr. Fennell stated you are right because some of the houses like this canal here, the one behind some of the commercial property and the one behind the automobile…
Ms. Zich asked how did we ever make out with the automobile one while we are on the subject?
Mr. Daly responded Mr. Frederick is on vacation, but he has been working hand in hand with the city. They have been on the phone a couple of times a week. The city is handling it on our behalf. They have cited them and have had discussions with them. There was a new manager or new owner who did not know anything about the original agreement. He is getting up to speed on what it is supposed to be. Nothing has been done, to answer your question, at this point and time, but it has not been dropped. It will not be dropped.
Ms. Zich asked did we send a letter to them?
Mr. Daly responded yes. Bru’s Room, by the way, did respond. They are on board. They are going through whatever they need to do.
Mr. Hanks asked was this with getting some help from the city?
Mr. Cassel responded no. That was a direct. I talked to Mr. Schubert and we are looking into, as far as their DRC in their review permit process, anytime somebody is doing a remodeling in their check off sheet they have to get either a letter or they show them their current, active, stormwater permit. If they do not have an active permit, they have to reapply and make sure it is up to current standards. I did speak to Mr. Schubert and he is very amenable about working it into their process to make sure it is covered both for CSID, NSID and even further.
Mr. Hanks stated it should be easy to implement.
Mr. Cassel stated exactly.
Mr. Hanks stated it will save us all a lot of headache down the road.
Mr. Daly stated we are keeping an eye on the Mobil station off of Shadowood Boulevard because they are putting new tanks into the ground. They have always had that lake on the way in. I was talking to Mr. Hyche about it the other day.
Mr. Hanks stated that could be half a dozen gas stations.
Mr. Daly stated that is true. If they do some grading, we have to make sure there have not been changes. If so, it will require a permit.
FOURTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Consideration/ Approval of Revised Employee Handbook
Mr. Lyles stated before you open up the discussion on this, I want to correct one thing. I should have mentioned this to the manager before. You are really not in a position to approve these proposed amendments and revisions today. I believe we are dealing with rulemaking and this is something we need to follow the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act under Florida Law, which means you should take a look at what is here for informational purposes and authorize staff to notice a rulemaking hearing which will be at least 60 days from now. This is not your final shot at this; although, it is expected you may have comments or directions to staff at this point. We have to follow a two step process. One; we bring it to your attention and get your authority to move forward. Two; we schedule a public hearing on adopting a rule, which in essence will be these provisions, either this way or they may be amended to have them go into enforcement and effect. Until then the existing personnel policy will remain in effect.
Mr. Fennell stated okay.
Mr. Lyles stated the word approval is in essence approving it to go forward as opposed to approving them today and having them go into effect.
Mr. Hanks asked so do we have to set the public hearing for our August meeting?
Mr. Lyles responded yes sir.
Mr. Hanks asked what else do we have on our agenda for our August meeting? Is it our water and sewer budget public hearing?
Mr. Daly responded August will be the water and sewer final budget.
Mr. Hanks asked any problems with handling it at the same meeting?
Mr. Fennell responded I do not think so. Not that I can think of. I guess that would be the first available.
Mr. Hanks stated that is our first available one. We are on the 15th now so it could not be any earlier than August 17, 2009.
Mr. Lyles stated August 17, 2009 will work out very nicely.
Mr. Fennell asked are you guys all ready for that meeting?
Mr. Cassel responded we have gone through it internally. Mr. Zilmer drafted it. He got updates from his sources. We sat down as management staff and went through each section, word by word, to make sure we were not putting something in that would tie our hands from being able to manage the operation and was equitable between the employees and the District. After we finished two rounds of that internally with staff we sent it to the attorney’s office. Ms. Delegal went through and reviewed it. She came back with some suggestions and changes, which we corrected. This is the version you have before you now.
Mr. Hanks stated I notice there is a section in here related to emergency closings. In the District we have occasions when there are emergencies and we need staff to work around the clock. Is there something addressing this and is this the appropriate location to address the policy on who needs to stay and who needs to go?
Mr. Cassel responded I believe we have it in there were it addresses our hurricane emergency plan as far as staffing levels. It deferred to that if I remember correctly. That was part of our discussions.
Mr. Lyles stated it is section five, work conditions and hours.
Mr. Fennell asked this is rather extensive in changes from what I can remember of the previous handbook?
Mr. Daly responded I do not think there is a great deal of changes. Maybe some of the wording has changed applicable to laws. Most of the policies are the same as we always had.
Mr. Hanks stated Section 5.10 addresses the closing. I am not sure.
Mr. Cassel stated it also says even in closings which may require the facility to close there are also schedules; call in numbers and emergency schedules could follow. I think we have covered it in that the facility may be closed, but we are on a 12/12 or 24/24 work schedule, whatever is necessary by a hurricane emergency work plan. As we get into it I believe we go to two 12 hour shifts. Is that correct Mr. Hyche?
Mr. Hyche asked on the hurricane plan?
Mr. Cassel responded when we go into hurricane plan. Is it 12 and 12 and then it goes into a 24 hour shift once it is in locked down?
Mr. Hyche responded something like that.
Mr. Hanks stated just as long as we have ourselves covered on it.
Mr. Fennell stated the Board is being listed as employees these days; at least from the standpoint of how we write out social security and handle the taxes. Are we covered in this in any way or how is it handled? Before I had to handle my own taxes as far as things go, but I am not sure what my status is as far as the government standpoint.
Mr. Lyles stated withholding is something the staff administers as part of the normal finances of the District. You receive a stipend and certain benefits which are part of being an elected officer of this District. What this essentially says is the staff is going to follow the law in administering benefits and benefit packages. These sorts of policies are sort of two-way streets in organizations that adopt them. It provides not just a set of rules for the employees to abide by, but a manner in which they are going to be dealt with. To a certain extent you are covered by these. I do not think it, in any way, creates an obligation that you will have to fit within the management structure at any level other than as a policymaker.
Mr. Fennell stated part of it is I am not sure of my tax status with the federal government anymore. Before I was essentially a…
Ms. Zich stated subcontractor.
Mr. Fennell stated yes.
Ms. Zich stated now we are employees the way we are paid.
Mr. Lyles stated that is an IRS determination that was made which is way outside the scope of our ability. We can create any rule we wanted to and it would not change that. It would have no effect on it.
Mr. Fennell stated I was wondering if it was reclassified, if we were reclassified.
Mr. Lyles stated no.
Mr. Hanks stated it is like if you look at the zoning code and it says townhouses for a particular type of structure, then you look at what a townhouse structure is in terms of building code, they may be describing two different things by using the same word.
Mr. Lyles stated exactly.
Mr. Fennell stated okay.
Mr. Lyles stated I think part of the purpose between the delay of it being brought to your attention and then having a public hearing is so you will have, as well as the public to the extent it is interested in reviewing this and coming to the public hearing, an opportunity to look at it and comment on it. It can be modified in any way that is either determined to be a better way of doing it or if you just prefer it be done a certain way.
Mr. Hanks asked when you say public, are you extending it to include the employees of this District?
Mr. Lyles responded yes. There will be a notice published of the public hearing which will be scheduled in August.
Mr. Hanks asked what do you need from us at this point?
Mr. Lyles responded just a motion authorizing staff to go forward with the public hearing and the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act to adopt these rules.
Mr. Fennell asked how does this handle the “working for more than one district” issue?
Mr. Zilmer responded we have it in there as well. You are a District employee first and foremost.
Mr. Daly stated no; for more than one district such as if they work for CSID and NSID.
Mr. Zilmer stated we do not have that issue anymore.
Mr. Fennell stated I want to make sure we do not have that issue anymore.
Mr. Lyles stated all this does is provide for a set of rules which apply to employees of the District. The District is defined at the front end to include CSID, NSID and PTWCD. The rules apply the same to the employees irrespective of one or more districts covering them.
Mr. Cassel stated I think where you are coming from is somebody working for say the City of Tamarac or Wilton Manors.
Mr. Lyles stated no he said CSID and NSID.
Mr. Fennell stated for a time we had some fairly sever issues with people working in two or three districts.
Mr. Zilmer stated we are past that now.
Mr. Lyles stated those employee arrangements have all been shifted to; employee of CSID. CSID sells or loans employees to other districts pursuant to interlocal agreements between the two districts. Are there any employees left which are covered by some old agreement?
Mr. Cassel responded no. We moved all the employees to the appropriate position and for services rendered from one district to another there is an interlocal agreement for those types of services.
Mr. Fennell stated good. Congratulations on making that. I know it has taken a few years, but it was an enormous change in policies.
Mr. Daly stated what Mr. Zilmer was originally stating is we do have an employee and sometimes more than one that works for two different water utilities in South Florida, us being one of them; who did he work for first and which is the real fulltime job? We have discussed this and have a policy about it.
Mr. Fennell asked are there any other questions? Counsel, what is your take on all of this?
Mr. Lyles responded I think what you are really looking at is not new rules as much as a restatement and a more comprehensive set of provisions of what the policy, as the staff understood them to be, handed down from the Board are for the employees. Of course things such as Section 703, harassment, it is very helpful to put it in writing and have employees sign the dotted line when they are hired that they have read and understood these rules and they are to be bound by them. If you have to take action on something difficult like that, it is good to have a standard established in writing. It comes from the Board through the rulemaking process and the employees cannot question whether or not it applies to them. That is the kind of thing we are trying to do. We are trying to make sure we cover the bases from a legal standpoint; the requirements for employment, both as public employees and those things which apply to all employees whether public or private. Everybody understands where they are and what the expectations are. If disciplinary matters are ever needed, there is a standard to go by for that as well.
Mr. Cassel stated we also did a lot of updating in the safety section. The prior manual was a little weak. At the time it was written and adopted there was not as much clarification as to what type of safety procedures would be followed. We went ahead and referenced the safety manual we have as a separate manual.
Mr. Hanks asked do we need to get input from any entities other than our attorneys on this? Should we be approaching our insurance carrier about the safety aspect of it?
Mr. Cassel responded the insurance carrier is already on board. They have done safety inspections on us; I believe there have two of them in this past year since we have been with him. They are looking at our safety manual and our reports. The safety issue has come a long way in this last year. Everybody has done a good job of bringing us up to where we need to be, but our policy manual did not really flush it out. That is one of the areas we updated and made sure we flushed out enough in the policy manual to cover the safety issues.
Mr. Lyles stated I think I should also point out since this is something, how old are these rules we are modifying, 20 years?
Mr. Zilmer responded over 20 years.
Mr. Lyles stated you do not do this very often. Most organizations do not do it often. In the interim, between today and the public hearing, any of the Board members are perfectly within their rights to contact anyone in staff with questions, comments or observations if you feel something additional should be looked at or if there is something you want to bring to our attention. It is a work in progress. It is not something which can only occur, in terms of discussion or feedback, at one of these meetings.
Mr. Fennell asked do we have a written performance evaluation for everybody every year?
Mr. Cassel responded yes.
Mr. Fennell asked is it written out and a copy goes to personnel?
Mr. Zilmer responded yes. In fact, we are all getting ready to work on a design for a new one.
Mr. Cassel stated revised to match our specific work environment. Additionally the department heads to their evaluations, they are forwarded to human resources and then Mr. Daly or I review the evaluations prior to signing off on them.
Mr. Fennell asked what are we doing with the educational systems?
Mr. Zilmer responded currently we have allowed up to $1,000 per year for educational assistance.
Mr. Hanks asked does staff take advantage of it?
Mr. Zilmer responded I think from various departments they go to classes which keep them updated. I know I go to a lot of seminars. I believe most departments do.
Mr. Fennell stated so it is $1,000 a year. It does not say that in here.
Mr. Zilmer stated I do not think it actually defines the dollar amount.
Mr. Fennell stated I would like to raise that.
Mr. Cassel stated okay.
Mr. Fennell stated I want to encourage people to go back for certifications and more degrees. I think there are types of degrees coming up which would be helpful. I think it should be $3,000 per year. I know there are certifications and other things they have to keep up with, but there are also business courses and other kinds of things I am going to encourage many people on staff to take advantage of.
Mr. Hanks stated you never know where the next round of leaders is going to come here from. We are not trying to kick you out.
Mr. Zilmer stated no, but our policy has always been that it has to be something which will benefit us as well. We are not going to send someone off for an English class.
Mr. Fennell stated well you may have to. If you get a general business degree, they are going to have to take all of those classes. There are general courses you must take in order to get a degree.
Mr. Zilmer stated we never had that kind of policy so we will have to rewrite that.
Mr. Fennell stated it is a change I would like to see.
Mr. Hanks asked if we are going to extend it to $3,000 as you suggested, is it possible to tie that to a particular performance of C or better?
Mr. Fennell responded yes.
Mr. Cassel stated we can incorporate a tuition reimbursement program into it, which is standard. We already cover on our training side CEUs, etcetera, for all the personnel who require CEU training. We already have it in other places in the budget.
Mr. Fennell stated one of the trends going on in education, it is not just at Broward College, but other ones too, people get up to a certain point, they get good at the technology they are at, they get stuck because they are good at the technical job, but the next job they have to do they have to learn about budgets, they have to learn about personnel management, they have to learn how to sell things; all kinds of things.
Mr. Hanks stated an even worse case is they get proficient in one particular technology, they get used to it, they do not keep their skills honed and then that technology becomes obsolete.
Mr. Fennell stated we have a new filtration plant coming here. People are going to have to be trained to use it. Once the engineers walk off the course, we really want someone out there with good training.
Mr. Hyche stated we have actually anticipated that. We have signed them and joined them into SEDA, which is the Southeast Desalinization Association. They give courses in nanofiltration and membrane.
Mr. Hanks asked do you need any action on that from the Board?
Mr. Cassel responded we can make modifications on what you are telling us now and have it ready for the next time.
Mr. Fennell stated I am looking to strengthen the education program, whether it is formal or informal. I agree with the C or better requirement. Let us make it so people really do think they can go and get an education. Yes, we might lose a couple of people.
Mr. Hanks stated you never know when they are going to come back.
Mr. Fennell stated yes.
Mr. Zilmer stated typically you have some kind of a clause in there saying they have to stay with you.
Mr. Cassel stated after the completion of your degree it is typically a two year or you pay back scenario.
Mr. Hanks stated be prudent on the approach, but not draconian.
Mr. Fennell asked are there any other comments? What about drug testing?
Mr. Zilmer responded we currently pre drug test for employment and any post accident. We do not random drug test.
Mr. Fennell asked should we or should we not?
Mr. Cassel responded in discussions with the insurance carriers, at this point in time the random creates a whole new subset of issues to deal with. By covering drug testing pre-employment and after an accident, we cover 99% of our issues. If there is a reasonable suspicion by a department head, they can be tested. We do not do random drug testing. When you start doing random drug testing it is a whole other set of bookkeeping with how you generate the random.
Mr. Fennell stated I have worked at companies who have done that.
Mr. Cassel stated Severn Trent Services does. You never know whose number is going to pop up. There have been several who have popped up two or three times in our office and they are going, “why me?” It is just they throw the names in and a name pops out on a random basis.
Mr. Fennell stated the only issue I have is there are certain functions, people who are out here running these facilities, if someone does something wrong out here it can affect a whole bunch of people.
Ms. Zich stated but they are tested if there is an accident. Is that right?
Mr. Zilmer responded yes. Anything, even if you cut your finger.
Mr. Hyche stated you get tested.
Mr. Daly stated someone immediately takes them. We talked to Ms. Stone. She is our Risk Manager for our insurance company. She was overjoyed with a lot of the steps we already had in place and the fact we did so many things right to begin with. She did not have anything else to offer with regard to drug testing.
Mr. Hanks stated it sounds like random drug testing can add a lot of costs and not get much out of it.
Mr. Cassel stated it does.
Ms. Zich stated this is very comprehensive.
Mr. Daly stated Mr. Zilmer worked like a dog on it.
Mr. Zilmer stated everybody did. I enjoyed getting every manager’s input.
Mr. Fennell asked should there be a section for the employee at will issue?
Mr. Zilmer responded it is in the very beginning.
Mr. Hanks stated when you set this aside for a little bit you can go back and proofread it. There were a couple of typos.
Mr. Zilmer asked there were?
Mr. Hanks responded yes.
Mr. Zilmer asked where?
Mr. Hanks responded page one, under employee relations, the first paragraph, last line.
Mr. Fennell asked is the revision date going to change?
Mr. Cassel responded yes. The revision date is a placeholder.
Mr. Fennell asked are there any other comments or suggestions?
Mr. Hanks responded no. I am good with it.
Ms. Zich stated I am too.
Mr. Fennell asked are we taking two or three employees or a half a dozen at random, have them take a look at this and get their comments?
Mr. Cassel responded we will probably do something.
Mr. Hyche stated we have basically already done that.
Mr. Cassel stated I think we have had some rank and file involved in various departments in reading some of this, but we can go back and do a buy in situation without a problem.
Mr. Fennell stated you might get some good comments too.
Mr. Hanks stated it was a little smelly coming in today. Did we have some issues with the plant today or is it just the heat?
Mr. Hyche responded it is just the heat.
Mr. Fennell asked are there any other items we need to cover? We covered items one, two, three and four, right?
Mr. Cassel responded we have done five. We are into six.
Mr. Hanks stated before we go there, Mr. Fennell, at our workshop last week you asked what some of the real reasons are for using reclaimed water as opposed to a well. One of the things that came to mind after, of course all things come to mind after you have slept on them, as you pull out of a well you often get the rotten egg smell on occasions; especially if you have not had it up and running frequently.
Mr. Fennell stated that could be a selling point to some people. I thought it was a great meeting we had, which is on the record. I would like for us to have another meeting like that because I think it was good. I think we need to keep pushing ahead with a comprehensive water policy and not just be reactive; that we are reacting to outside forces coming in here. I want to see us become part of a larger group whose goal it is to look out for the interests of the water districts in our county, at least, if not South Florida.
Ms. Zich stated you know the group they were trying to start in Florida is called The Council of 100.
Mr. Fennell stated counsel mentioned he thought Broward County had only done it a few times. We kind of backed away from that thinking what did they really know and where is their real interest since they do not really have a dog in the hunt. The fact is we need a bigger interest. The smaller groups, even us, are not going to be able to influence the water policy as it ought to be for 1.9 Million people. We are just not getting represented. We are going to have to take a more proactive role in making this happen.
When I came back from this meeting with the special districts group I realized we are a large special district. Most special districts have 10 to 15 employees. A really big one has 100 employees. Most of them are trying to do what we do. Is the business being run right? Are we going to have enough employees this month? That is all they are doing. They are just keeping their head down. There is not any overall policy being made for the greater good. This needs that action. I did not see it up there on a coordinated basis. I personally think the county is not well represented yet. Part of it may be our fault. We need to step up with this. I think we need to take a proactive role.
Mr. Hanks stated I agree we need to step up. One thing I am doing is I am on the Water Resource Task Force where we are meeting there is a member of the SFWMD and a county commissioner. We have mayors from neighboring communities, city commissioners and other water managers who sit on this board. Granted, I do not know whether you would call it policy or advisory because there is really no set action that we could impose on anybody. As far as being a forum to discuss this and the water view of other government circles, it is. We are not the only community that is looking and trying to figure out where we stand on these issues, what is right for us and what is right for the county as a whole. There are quite a few different views out there. Some of them say, let us take a countywide approach and regionalize others. One of them is let us figure out what the best ways are, but the best way may be to go regional for some people and go it alone for others.
Mr. Fennell stated there has to be some logical thing. What I was actually trying to get out of that meeting we had before was not so much how do we have to react to the DEP. I was looking at what the right thing is to do for Broward County and for us. What should the policies be going forward as opposed to us just reacting to how we are going to heed these policies? It is a different question and I am not sure if I put it to our engineering group in those terms. I think you were thinking what the best deal we can do right now given the policies and politics and how we can weave our ways through it. I am looking at how do we influence that policy? I think it is possible to do this. If we were to go forward with good proposals and we started going before the county and other groups with something we could sell as this is the right thing to do and this is the right thing for Broward County, I think we could go forward and do something.
Mr. Hanks stated one of the ways we can deal with how we address these issues because we have under our control all three aspects of water. We have our stormwater management. We have our water utility and we have our sewer utility. We have all those issues. We can really demonstrate and become a leader by our actions rather than waiting for things to be passed and mandated.
Mr. Fennell stated the thing you have to remember about what we have here is this is basically a $10 Million business. It is a nice little business, but it is $10 Million. It is not all that big. We have just done something most normal businesses do not do. We have just leveraged ourselves four to one. Most normal businesses do not go out and borrow $40 Million for a $10 Million business. If I was at Motorola and ever brought up something like that, I would be laughed out of the place by all of the financial people. How can you possibly have that kind of leverage? It is something to think about as far as the business. Why can we get away with doing that? Well there are two things basically. One; we supposedly have a captive audience. Secondly; we get to set our own rates. Okay, you are in a monopoly kind of situation. That is still not the kind of justification.
Even governments can go broke. Even public entities can go broke and they have to watch the kind of money they spend. There needs to be diligence and a good faith understanding of that. We just went through and borrowed $35 Million and we still have $5 Million we have not paid back yet. We have a $40 Million debt and we are only a $10 Million a year company. That is highly leveraged. That is a four to one leverage. If I actually saw this for a company I was going to go out and invest in, I would really look at that. GM has gone broke with less leverage than that. Even with the Federal Government coming in they are still going to have $100 Billion worth of debt. That is for a highly leveraged company in the public sector.
The point is money is precious to us too. We have to watch very carefully how we go forward with this. We are going to be highly leveraged going forward paying back the debt. Once we have to start doing that I think 40% of our gross is going to go towards paying off debt. That is a high rate. If you think of a normal business where 10% may be profit, you would not normally be paying out 40%. You would be paying out 10% to 15%.
Mr. Hanks asked what was our leverage 30 years ago?
Mr. Fennell responded well the guy who is making that bed was a property holder who was quickly getting rid of that debt to the public. He got out of it. The builders do have some risk. They have to sell enough places so they can transfer all this massive amount of debt. Think about what they did. They financed all the roads. They dug all these canals. They put in a utility system and they have not sold a house yet. That is a massive amount of debt. The only way they get away with it is the special districts, which allow them to some day take this debt off their corporate debt sheet and put it away. Now we are the ones at risk. It still has to be running in a prudent manner. I have taken all of the different courses, as well as Ms. Woodward, and four to one is a high risk.
This is why going forward we have to be prudent about how we encourage any more debt or what we do with it. It has to make sense to basically the stockholders, which are the people. This is why I am looking. If there is value in reuse water and we can find customers who are willing to pay for it and it will be money in return it is a good thing. I think in certain parts of the state this is true. We just have to make sure it is true for us.
Mr. Hanks stated there are probably more parts of the state that have those issues than do not. If you go to the west coast; Lee County, Collier County, Hendry County, Charlotte County, Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, they have all been under serious water restrictions for much longer than we have.
Mr. Fennell stated this is why I want it to make sense. When I look at the amount of water which comes through the system, is this where the best place to spend the money is? Maybe it is better to have a big holding tank, have an underground thing or have something out in the Everglades that would moderate the water flow. I just wanted to make my point that we are just a $10 Million company with cheap management too. The overhead for management is small. Okay, moving right along. The monthly water charts.
Mr. Cassel stated we are already done with that.
Mr. Fennell stated the utility billing work orders.
Mr. Hanks stated we are done. We did the attorney’s report.
Mr. Fennell asked when am I going to see a shovel turn out here?
Ms. Zich responded we already talked about it.
Mr. Fennell asked so when is the date?
Ms. Zich responded soon.
Mr. Cassel stated they started doing some grubbing and layout on Plant F, but they expect to have the permit tomorrow or Wednesday from the city. Mr. Schubert from the city has called me the last two Monday mornings at 8:15 a.m. to discuss where things are. He has called Mr. Skehan several times. The city has been very proactive in making sure we get this out the door.
Mr. Fennell stated good for them. Thank the City of Coral Springs for that and anyone else who might have helped.
Mr. Hanks stated the other one I do not know if you were here for is Bru’s Room is now on board with the permit application.
Mr. Fennell stated okay.
SIXTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Approval of Financials and Check Registers
· Summary of Cash Transactions
· Projected Cash Flow
Mr. Fennell asked how is the water usage doing? We were kind of down for a while. People were not using water.
Mr. Hyche responded we are at about where we were last year.
Mr. Hanks asked if we maintain the current rate of usage, will we still need to pursue the extra MGD of capacity?
Mr. Skehan responded yes.
Mr. Hyche stated we have 5% reject you have to take into account for.
Mr. Skehan stated this is why we have to get the additional one MGD.
Mr. Hanks stated 5% reject does not equal one MGD when you are talking five MGD capacity at build out.
Mr. Skehan stated 10% to 15% is what the reject is calculated at.
Mr. Hanks stated not 5%.
Mr. Skehan stated not 5%.
Mr. Hyche asked is that not reverse osmosis?
Mr. Skehan responded reverse osmosis will go as high as 50% in actual seawater. Brac is anywhere from 15% to 20%.
Mr. Fennell stated we have good water.
Mr. Skehan stated there is great water in the Surficial Aquifer, but the water in the Floridan Aquifer is not so good. The total of solids is much higher.
Mr. Fennell asked would you not serve the good wine first?
Mr. Skehan responded that is what we are doing already.
Mr. Fennell asked is there anything we should note Ms. Woodward?
Ms. Woodward responded no. I think everything is running well.
Ms. Zich stated that is my opinion. Everything looks like it is running well. Everything looks like it is coming in good. The income looks pretty good. Our budget we are getting in water and sewer looks good. Things are looking pretty good here.
Due to failure of the recording equipment the remainder of the minutes is an executive summary of the minutes and actions taken based on the District Manager’s notes.
SEVENTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Supervisors’ Requests and Audience Comments
The following was discussed:
· There was a discussion regarding flexibility in water rates to ensure appropriate levels of income to cover the debt service. There was also discussion regarding rates structures to assist in conservation and slow consumption.
· Mr. Fennell asked about the power factor study he requested several months ago. He was informed by staff there was a cost associated with it and the last time it was discussed he had a meter and was going to get with Mr. Hyche as well as the electrical engineer to see if there were any savings.
· Mr. Fennell discussed the use of a micro-layer film on pools which reduces evaporation and increases water temperature. It is available and he questioned whether the District should encourage the use of this film by residents as a conservation measure.
· There was a discussion regarding the permitting processes of SFWMD and the need to band together with other water users to set a uniform water policy for the area. The only way the District can influence water policies for the residents’ benefit is to band together. The current water policy may not be in the best interest of the District.
EIGHTH ORDER OF BUSINESS Adjournment
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:50 p.m.
Glen Hanks Robert D. Fennell