PSD changes sewage billing scheme
Starting January 1, Snowshoe residents will no longer pay in advance for sewage service. The Pocahontas Public Service District (PSD) made the change at its December 29 meeting in Linwood.
Effective January 1, the PSD will bill all accounts at the end of the service period. The change will affect residential and association accounts. Commercial customers are already billed at the end of the service period.
The billing period for all customers will remain unchanged. Residential and commercial customers will continue to receive a quarterly bill and associations will receive a monthly bill.
The PSD made the change to simplify billing of late accounts. State regulations complicate the addition of late fees if the account is not technically late. Sending a bill after service has been provided allows the utility to add fees to late payments.
The PSD will continue to do consolidated billing from its Durbin office.ﾠ In response to complaints from Snowshoe residents, the PSD is implementing a software system which will make a customer's account information available online at the Linwood office.
Wastewater operations manager Lloyd Coleman submitted a draft, three-year capital improvement plan (CIP) for the board's review. The plan contains an itemized list of recommended upgrades to wastewater systems and equipment from 2010 through 2012.
Board president Mark Smith praised Coleman for preparing the plan.
"Lloyd, you've done an excellent job here in gathering this information and putting it together in a form we can understand," he said.
New board member Tom Shipley said he would need more detailed information on costs before approving the plan.
Shipley specifically questioned the need for a $600,000 roof on the three million gallon equalization tank at Snowshoe Village's plant - a CIP item proposed for 2011.
Coleman and wastewater operator Heidi Hickman explained that the roof would help retain heat, an important factor in biological removal of ammonia.
The PSD's sewage plants discharge ammonia in excess of limits proscribed by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)and operate under a consent decree, inherited from Snowshoe when the PSD accepted ownership of Snowshoe's water discharge permit. Under the terms of the consent decree, the DEP is foregoing fines and other enforcement as long as the PSD is making progress towards construction of a new plant.
Coleman said implementation of the plan would show progress towards those goals and help appease the DEP.
"I think it would go a long way towards improving our relationship with DEP," he said.
The board will continue to review the plan for approval.ﾠ
After a 90-minute, closed-door, executive session, the board voted unanimously to eliminate the position of PSD general manager, which was held by Rick Barkley since January.
Board president Mark Smith said the Public Service Commission had informed him that a general manager is not required for PSDs that operate both sewer and water systems. Smith apologized for providing erroneous information earlier.
The board retained Barkley as manager of water operations and Coleman as manager of wastewater operations. Barkley will continue to hold the additional position of PSD treasurer.ﾠ
After reviewing timesheets, the board voted to draw 71 percent of Barkley's salary from the water operations account and 29 percent from the wastewater account.
Accountant Michael Griffith was scheduled to attend the meeting to discuss financial issues with the PSD, but was unable to attend due to illness.
In other business the PSD board:
-- discussed the purchase of a dump truck, trailer and snow plow for the sewer truck but tabled the matter. Coleman noted that a plow will not be needed if a new plant is built at Site 7 and that a contractor had plowed roads after the recent heavy snowstorm for $380.ﾠ
-- approved the monthly financial statement, which indicated $55,005.37 in receipts and $36,681.18 in outlays for the wastewater account and $11,420.45 in receipts and $13,576.39 in outlays for the water account.