November 8, 2012 by wcobserver
Report of November Meeting
By Steve Winkler
The first meeting of the West Fork Water and Wastewater Commission after the previous day’s vote to dissolve the commission and establish a water department within city government began with a prepared statement read by Commission Chair Virgil Blackmon. He began with “The people have spoken,” and added that there may be questions about the procedure and technicalities of the process. He said the City Council had not been contacted prior to the vote and because there is no ordinance in place the Commission will “carry on as usual.” “Authority,” Blackmon said, “is in the hands of the city council.
The minutes of the October meeting were read and approved and the Systems Totals Report was presented showing a 22.02% water loss for October; Total Meters is 1,296 with 298 of those with zero usage. A copy of the 2013 Budget was distributed to commissioners and approved.
Superintendent M.E. Bartholomew informed the commission that plans are being made by the Washington Water Authority and Two Ton [Washington and Benton counties] Water authority to disconnect and will no longer be buying water from West Fork to serve customers east of Hwy 71 in the Mineral Springs area. Customers on Owl Hollow Road will continue to be served by Washington Water. The change will happen in July or August. About 1 million gallons per month is currently being sold by West Fork to Washington Water Authority to serve that area, said Bartholomew. He pointed out that the loss of revenue has a positive side in that West Fork will be buying less water from Fayetteville. He also said the loss of water sales will “actually increase reserve and storage capacity,” adding that it is “not going to hurt us financially.”
Funding for the approxmently $3 million project to send West Forks sewage flow to Fayetteville was addressed by Bartholomew and Robert White of McClelland Consulting Engineers, Inc. Mr. Bartholomew informed the commissioners that there may need to be additional meeting when “we start applying for financing.” Mr. White reported on the field work that has begun on the project. The Observer asked why work has begun when the minutes of the October meeting stated in item #6 that, “…funding has to be in place before the project will start.” The work being done is surveying and design. The Observer asked what the plans and options were for funding. Mr. White said funding would go through the Wastewater Advisory Committee at the state level. The Observer asked if West Fork Water Commission had made contact with them. Mr. White replied, “No.” The Commission has not applied for funding from any source.
Alderman Charlie Rossetti asked Mr. White about McClelland’s role in the sewer line project noting that none of the council members had experience in large construction projects and if the Council took on the responsibilities for the project what could they expect from McClelland Engineering. Mr. White said McClelland works for whoever is responsible for the project, whether a city or water commission.
Documents distributed at the meeting included:
Copy of Minutes of October 3, 2012 meeting.
Copy of part time water employee Cassi Boyd’s letter of resignation.
Copy of letter sent to ADEQ requesting them to “Please accept our commitment to operate the plant as well as possible.”
Copy of a “To whom It May Concern:” letter informing that survey crews maybe performing work “on or across your property.”
Copy of “Estimated Time Line” provided by McClelland Engineers.
Copy of the 2013 Budget
Copy of Systems Totals Report
At the meeting were Mr. Bartholomew, Chair Virgil Blackmon, Secretary Mike Mitchell members Andy Boughman and Frank Adams. Joe Toher was absent. Notes were taken by Kristi Drymon. In the audience were Mayor Hime, Aldermen Charlie Rossetti and Ed Stout, Police Chief Mike Nelson, Paula Caudle, Bobbi Henington, Fred Robinson and Steve Winkler from the Washington County Observer.