The Alamo Sewer and Water Board met Nov. 7. They received a letter from the State Revolving Fund (SRF) which outlined that the current Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) wasn’t properly formatted. The board agreed to follow up with Farr West Engineering to establish a plan for addressing these concerns. Without a proper PER, funding from the state will not be possible when it is needed.
Every three years the water source for municipalities need to be tested for arsenic, and it is expected that the arsenic levels will be higher than the federal guidelines. Alamo Sewer and Water are considering remediation alternatives to ensure that they are in compliance. The funding to make these remediation alternatives feasible is their primary concern. If the annual arsenic average goes over the federal guidelines, Alamo Sewer and Water would instantly face a fine of $2,500 a day until the readings are in compliance.
Based on the recent census, the average household income is $56,000, and when compared to other areas, the current water rates are under the average. The board would like to put together a survey and is considering a rate study. Alamo Sewer and Water haven’t raised rates through a couple of big events such as when the power rates were raised and two full-time employees, as well as a former part-time employee going fulltime, were employed. All of these costs were absorbed by Alamo Sewer and Water instead of passing them along to the customer.
Should the fines for non-compliance be levied, those rates would unavoidably be passed on to the residents. Additionally, state funding such as grants for future projects like water treatment might be more available if the rates are closer to the average. The possibility of a rate study and an eventual rate increase will be discussed at the December meeting.
The new pump for the Sandhill well hasn’t arrived to replace the borrowed one. The work on Well Number 4 should be done before the next meeting. The last step will be coordinating the water needs of the football field, baseball fields, and T-Ball field for both winter and summer watering schedules.
Bret Whipple was in attendance to discuss the audit. Whipple commented that there was a slight appreciation of the Alamo Sewer and Water valuation.
The Capital Improvements are funded solely by installation fees. The current fund balances are $53,000 in sewer and $83,000 in water. It was suggested that items of depreciation should be defined and funded in a separate account by the board when issues arise.
The new Backflow Prevention Policy was approved by the board. Coating and painting the water tank is still being discussed. The board also approved changing its attorney contract from being on a retainer to an “as-needed basis.”
For the employee report, an entity under the USDA was known as the Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) wants to help with an asset management plan. This would include getting assets down on paper, the cost of the assets, their life expectancy and the cost to replace the assets. Making a short-term list and long-term list will help Alamo Sewer and Water know how much to set aside in the new depreciation account.
Employee Trevor Laird also passed his T2 exam, which will be in effect this summer. Laird is also taking the wastewater certification next month.
The next board meeting will be Dec. 5 at 7 p.m.