Mohawk Valley Water Authority – June 16, 2014


Chairman DeLia called the meeting to order at 5:00 PM and opened with the Pledge of Allegiance.


Roll Call:  Present:  Dennis Bova, Bruce Brodsky, Vincent Coyne, Elis DeLia, Scott Mahardy, Frank Mutolo, Bette Szesny, Scott Williams and Steve Zywiak.  Absent:  Rocco Arcuri, Mark Ford and Mitch Ford.  Also Present:  Dick Goodney, Connie Schreppel, Jim Korfonta, Scott Gorgas and Ken Bobrow, Esq.


Chairman DeLia presided and Suzanne Harmon took the minutes.


Approval of the April 21, 2014 Minutes

Motion made by Mr. Bova to approve the minutes.     Seconded by: Mr. Mutolo

Vote:  (9) Ayes   (0) Nays   (0) Abstain    (3) Absent      Motion Carried.


Approval:  Quarterly Investment Statement – 4th Quarter Ending March 31, 2014

Mr. Korfonta stated that this is an investment statement of the MVWA trust funds.  The Board has been presented with these statements every quarter for approval.

Motion made by Ms. Szesny.     Seconded by: Mr. Williams.

Vote:  (9) Ayes   (0) Nays   (0) Abstain    (3) Absent      Motion Carried.


Discussion:  Fees for Service Termination

Mr. Becher stated that the Operations Committee met and discussed a meeting that the committee members had with the Mayor of Utica.  There was a request from the City to waive the fee that we charge to terminate services.  The fee that the MVWA charges now is $1,400.00, which is our cost for sending a crew, digging in the street, disconnecting the service pipe from the main and re-storing the street.  No fee is charged for turning off at the curb box.  Approximately 40% of the cost to dig and terminate in the street is the cost of street restoration.  Municipalities outside the City hire contractors to do that work.   

Chairman DeLia sent this back to the Operations Committee to take a look at what municipalities charge the MVWA for similar work and spreading the cost out.  The committee will bring this back to the Board in August. 


Presentation:  Automated Meter Reading Project by Steve Gassner

The AMI fixed base system consists of: 14 collectors/towers, solar and AC powered units at various properties; 39,000 meter interface units at every meter location and monitoring and reporting software.  The benefits of an AMI fixed base system are: the MVWA collect 24 hourly reads daily; accurate and timely reads; assist in determining leaks or other issues in the home and assist customer service in billing/usage concerns.  This is a service that we can provide to our neighbors, which we are doing in Westmoreland.  The project outline:  The start date was May 2013.  To update 6,000 residential and commercial meters and install MIU’s; retrofit 33,000 meters/registers with MIU’s; install 14 collectors and towers.  Estimated timeline was three years to completion.  The progress; replaced 2,200 meters and installed MIU’s; retrofitted 6,300 meters with MIU’s and installed 11 towers and collector units. 


If a collector goes down a message is sent to the IT department.  The computer program will give you the collector efficiency on all 11 collectors.    It will also give you the hourly use on an account, which will be helpful in detecting leaks.  Mr. Gassner expects the AMI project to be completed in three years.






Executive Director’s Report

         The MVWA received a grant from the State regarding a consolidation study for the western side of Oneida County for water supply.  Three water suppliers; MVWA, City of Rome and Oneida are

involved and three towns; Vernon, Verona and Sherrill.  The MVWA is the lead agency for this study.  The RFP is out and due back in mid-July.  Mr. Becher will bring the RFP back to the Board at the August meeting.  

         When the MVWA was created there was a bonding limit of $100 million dollars.  With all of the projects that have been done over the years, especially the unfunded mandates on the drinking water regulations it has cost $32 million dollars from 2006 to 2010.  The bonding debt is at $82 million dollars right now.  The MVWA would need to make many improvements to the system if a microchip plant moves to the area, which has been discussed.  The MVWA hired a consultant and found that the MVWA would have to make $100 to $120 million dollars in improvements to develop that site.  Senator Joseph Griffo and Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi have introduced legislation in both houses, which just passed and is now awaiting the signature of the Governor.  They increased the debt limit to $150 million dollars.  We would like to thank them for their help in this matter.   

         The MVWA Worker’s Compensation Insurance is with PERMA, who we had been with a few years back. Due to some pricing issues we went to the State Insurance Fund.  Last year the State was going to increase our premiums by $80,000.  We shopped it back out and went back to PERMA, which was $50,000 less than what the State Fund was going to be.  The State Workers’ Comp Board has now told PERMA that they are not allowed to serve public authorities.  PERMA has attorney’s that are fighting that and our attorney, Ken Bobrow is involved with this.  PERMA can only serve entities that have taxing authority.  We told them that being able to re-levy taxes back onto bills is an indirect method of doing that, which we do twice a year.   It has now gone back to the Worker’s Comp Board.  We may be faced with a hole in our budget from now until the end of the fiscal year because we may have higher costs forced on us by the State.  

         Mr. Becher would like to have a Finance Committee meeting to discuss the timing of the MVWA’s fiscal year.  Mr. Becher asked Suzanne to set up a meeting.

         AWWA has a research foundation where they take the lead to promote areas where they feel there is a need.  They put an RFP out to look at the use of activated granulated carbon, which the MVWA has switched to recently.  This research could reduce the cost to the MVWA in the future.  Mr. Becher would like to know if the Board would approve spending $15,000 to participate in this study, which could be directly tailored to the MVWA plan. 

A motion was made by Mr. Brodsky to fund the study from the timber fund. 

Seconded by: Ms. Szesny.

Vote:  (9) Ayes   (0) Nays   (0) Abstain    (3) Absent      Motion Carried.

         The DEC did approve the 4 town permit, which was originally submitted in 2002 and then withdrew when the MVWA got into the lawsuit with the Canal Corporation.  The MVWA re-submitted the permit after the lawsuit was settled, which is to cover Westmoreland and Kirkland to the west and Frankfort and Schuyler to the east.  Those four towns are now in our service area and go about doing projects without getting permission from the DEC for water supply.  Right now the treatment plant is fixed at 32 mgd but the permit can be adjusted to go up as needed. 


Old Business:

1)     Mr. Bova stated that Mr. Coyne asked about having a tour of the Water Treatment Plant for the new members of the Board.  Mr. Becher stated that he will put some dates together and send them out to the board.

Mr. Brodsky stated that he thought the MVWA should get a bus and have a Business after Hours at the Treatment Plant.


2)     Mr. Bova stated that on the MVWA website there are only four photos of current board members.  Mr. Brodsky stated that we should have a photographer at the next meeting to have all of the board members pictures taken.



3)     Mr. Bova stated that the MVWA has settled most of their union contracts with one left.  The Board voted on the budget with raise increases included in the budget so there is no reason to give any new titles or individual raises outside their contracts.  This is what we settled on with advice from the department heads.

Mr. Becher stated that there is a difference between giving a raise and changing a job title to reflect job duties.  Anytime that happens it goes through Civil Service when we have a specific need.  If Mr. Bova wants to discuss anyone specific, he would be happy to sit down and discuss it after the meeting.           


Chairman DeLia adjourned the meeting at 5:58 PM.


Respectfully submitted,



Suzanne M. Harmon, Secretary 

Mohawk Valley Water Authority