Wednesday, April 23, 2014

ALT water plant is GDPUD workshop topic

Hank White, Steve Miller, Kelly Shively 002 ec

STEVE MILLER, audience member, left, offered his insight while Assistant Operations Manager Kelly Shively, answered questions during a workshop study session Jan. 10. Democrat photos

From page A1 | January 14, 2013 | 8 Comments

As requested in a board meeting two days prior, General Manager Hank White presented to the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District board printouts for the Auburn Lake Trails Water Treatment Plant during a workshop study session Jan. 10.

An expense by year report ranging from 2009 through 2013 was presented along with the ALTWTP proposed project schedule ending in 2015 included with a specialized engineer’s estimate for 90 percent completion of the projects.

White and Assistant Operations Manager Kelly Shively fielded the majority of the questions brought up by both Board of Directors and audience. Both men seemed to do their best to explain there are 25 percent of the project’s total in district reserve funds available to begin the project, not to mention $1.2 million left over from the Doolittle grant which U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein got permission for a change of use of funds from an abandoned Greenwood project to the Auburn Lake Trails plant.

The expense report shows how much of the public’s money has been going towards the retrofit project since 2009 with the majority of the early project expenses naturally weighing heaviest in the engineering category. White noted that the district received a $200,000 grant in 2011 to offset the engineering expense, making the out-of-pocket expense for district customers significantly less than it would have been.

Board Treasurer Maria Capraun was not satisfied and wanted “more detailed accounting to the public on how we’re spending their money.”  She said she would like to see a complete breakdown of the project indicating exactly where funds come from and which part of the project they are scheduled to go towards.

She requested of the general manager a budgeted plan on where the money is coming from and how the district is going to pay it back. She also wants White to account backwards and show where the funds came from for the amounts spent on the project up to date.

How much time would she like the manager to spend accounting for the past?  She brought up fund reorganizing from two years ago although she remembered no details. Capraun insisted the information she would like to see in front of her in writing is exactly where the money comes from.

The simple answer given to the board treasurer is the capital budget funding source is the capital facility charge — the big bill customers pay to hook up to the public water system.

The payback she refers to is a $5 million USDA loan which GDPUD is applying for. As with construction type loans, White explained, funds will be given out to begin and commence construction. Probably midway through construction (early 2014) the projected ending cost of the project can be figured and the loan cap will be placed, at which time the payback will begin. White said of the loan payback that the district will most likely be making bi-annual payments.

White assured the Board of Directors it will presented with all bids and proposals very soon for approval. Further worries came from the women of the board about potential surprise expenses and developing a contingency plan to be prepared for or avoid them.

As the audience (mainly Dale Miller) continued to nit and pick over exact numbers projecting and estimating costs that will be incurred and eventually paid, Vice President Ray Griffiths, said, “It’s a ballpark figure, nothing is going to change dramatically. We’re going to find out in about three weeks, so let’s continue, and finish this. We’ve beaten this dead horse for almost two hours now.”

Audience member Steve Miller said, “Where we are right now, I think that’s the right course of action.  If we put together contingencies one year ago or two years ago that would be one thing. But where we stand right now, to spend any kind of money on a contingency, before we even know what the answer is going to be, assuming the answer is going to be right around the corner, it just seems like a waste of time effort and money.” Murmurs of agreement, thumbs up and “here-here” were heard among the audience and President Bonnie McLane thanked the public for their input for this workshop.

Audience comment was also heard when discussion of an interim retainer agreement with attorney John S. Knowlton, however, no one answered their questions. The public asked GDPUD directors if they had interviewed any other attorneys besides this one; silence and heads shaking. The audience then asked, Why did you choose a litigation attorney when usually you are asking him policy and procedure questions? Silence. How many of you interviewed him? How many of you checked his background? Have you seen a resume, anything other than the five-minute presentation and half page letter? Usually you have three bids for all projects, but have not done due diligence in seeking counsel.

The ladies of the board said they thought they’d need one temporarily and are asking him to eventually tele-conference rather than physically attending meetings. Three ladies voted yes, the two males voted no. Motion to approve interim retainer agreement with attorney John S. Knowlton was carried, but only after two changes were made to the contract.

Final agenda item passed with all yeses was the board to selected Directors McLane and Capraun to form a committee to conduct labor negotiations with employee units. The next regular GDPUD meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Feb. 12.


Discussion | 8 comments

  • Divide ObserverJanuary 14, 2013 - 7:30 pm

    The Mountain Democrat's standards for reporters has sunk to a new low. The reporter of this article Michele Hardy, attended the meeting with her toddler who disrupted the meeting continuously both with cries as well as just being an energetic toddler. The lack of common sense this reporter used by bringing a crying toddler to a Board Meeting was unbelievable! To boot the reporter sat at the Board table. I asked one Board Director why the reporter was at the head table and then a second Director, they both replied, they were as surprised as I was, the reporter apparently took it on her own accord to sit at the Board Table. One more even shocking action.... the reporter chose to breast feed her toddler while sitting at the Board Table in the front of the room! What a lack of common decency and judgement. I think breast-feeding is a good thing, but I couldn't believe my eyes. My request to the Mountain Democrat Management - please order your reporter to leave her toddler at home and sit in the chair in the audience section designated for "Press". This is a business meeting and her actions showed nothing but a total lack of respect for the protocol of the GDPUD Board meetings and disregard for the Directors and public who had no choice but to observe her actions. I would appreciate a response from the Mountain Democrat.

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  • Budget Planner, something GM isn'tJanuary 14, 2013 - 8:07 pm

    I think that an important fact was not presented by the newspaper. Director Capraun questioned where the funds were coming from because the GM stated he was going to use the Stumpy Meadows Reserve Fund ($2.1 mil) and that is not within his authority. The Capital Improvement fund is a separate fund which at presents states $1.5 mil. Which was enough to pay for the project based on the verbal presentation but it was the statement made by the GM that is concerning. You left that out of this article. The Stumpy Meadow Reserve Fund is NOT for construction of a new water plant. It is for the repair of Stumpy infrastructure. You are irresponsible to make a comment that the time spent for the GM to provide the history on the funding is a waste of time and money. Any responsible GM would have this documentation readily available and it should have been provided without being requested. This project is over $8 mil and the public has the right to know. The only thing provided in the documents were the costs not the way we the public were paying for the project. The funding was provided verbally not on any written document. A project plan contains both funding and expenditures. This has not been provided to the public in a clear way. A written budget is needed before one more dollar is spent!

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  • EvelynJanuary 15, 2013 - 6:58 am

    Divide Observer: Just guessing, but I'd say the reporter's conspicuous disruption of the GDPUD workshop sounds like a premeditated tactic. What'll it be next time?

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  • EvelynJanuary 15, 2013 - 7:05 am

    Budget Planner: "This project is over $8 mil and the . . . only thing provided in the documents were the costs not the way we the public were paying for the project." Sounds just a tad irregular. Is it the custom to find a sum like $8 mil after the fact?

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  • Foaming at the MouthJanuary 15, 2013 - 8:59 am

    And you all thought you hated Dawn's reporting.

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  • Michael RaffetyFebruary 04, 2013 - 11:18 am

    Breastfeeding in public Dear Editor: I don’t even know where to begin to defend myself and my toddler from the harassment I’m receiving now. I’ll start with the fact that there’s no laws against it, it’s right, it’s natural, it’s a loving and motherly thing to do, and if she wasn’t fooled by the formula boom (most of the nation was) YOUR MOTHER DID IT TOO. That aside how about the fact that if you are allowed to eat or drink to satisfy yourself in a meeting room during a board meeting, then whey can’t the well behaving toddler who is present? If the breast in question was not exposed, flashed, or flaunted like Janet Jackson did during a Super Bowl half time performance in front of millions, but was instead guarded and shielded with my coat and back turned then why bother to mention it to my boss? I wasn’t in your face, I wasn’t on stage, I wasn’t exposed, and while I may have been a distraction to you, that’s your problem not mine. I have a bit of attention deficit disorder myself, a human trait I believe, that quacks have labeled and medicated for pharmaceutical profit. Speaking of distractions, they are a part of life, we must learn to deal with it. Can we concentrate our focus on Water issues instead of the new reporter in the room? I’m sick to trying to do something good for others like volunteer at school, or attend a meeting for the public, and being asked to not bring ‘the little one’ because although she’s cute she’s a distraction. A distraction… They’re not complaining she’s destructive, or loud, or a nuisance like some toddlers are, just a distraction. REALLY people?! I’ve trained a ‘little one’ to be well behaved enough to be good in boring places, brought along her daddy to take her out of the room when necessary, and it’s still not good enough? PLUS these people who complain, mostly women, haven’t had a child ever or in more than 20 years and have forgotten what it’s like to be me, a Mother doing her best to raise the young. Plus, I’m doing it in a recession. I’m just trying to earn a buck here, and do my part of good for the World, and I keep getting flack from others who simply don’t understand or are honestly Control Freaks. If you’re going to hold a public forum, listen for over two hours, then politely thank us for our input and ignore our requests, than I shall do the same. I am going to politely thank you for your opinion and ignore your request to not breastfeed in your GDPUD board meetings. Whomever had the balls, or breast, to complain I think is a coward. Here’s why. In the beginning of meetings, during the Public Comment time I ask “Is there anyone present who objects to the toddler being here?” I have this on record of course because I’m acting as a reporter. When no one has the courage to raise a mousy hand and object, then they should sincerely hesitate to click a cowardly e-mail and object to my boss later. Especially since during the meeting in question the babysitter Daddy took her out of the room 6 times and even to Mar Val to shop and relieve the meeting of her distracting presence. It should be obvious to you that I’m doing my best to just earn a buck in these hard times, and raise my young near me rather than afar. If you were 30 minutes late for the meeting and didn’t have a chance to object, Odermat, then you should ask your boss to allow you to leave work early to meet your obligations, we elected you to this position remember? Did your Parlimentary Class teach you ladies anything about being Politically Correct? Aren’t we supposed to be tolerant? Hmmm. If a gay couple attended the meeting and held hands would you have complained about that? No, but a perfectly natural, Biblical even, breastfeeding mother trying to work part time, we’ll complain about her…. What would your mother think? As a mother I tell my girls “Think before your speak; is it kind, is it true, is it necessary?” Michele Hardy – shaking her head from El Dorado. I commute to cover these stories. P.S. You e-mailed the wrong newspaper, the Mt. Democrat sent me to that meeting.

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  • DB SmithFebruary 04, 2013 - 11:32 am

    Heck, I enjoy watching babies being nourished, my 13 year old grandson does too.

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  • Phil VeerkampFebruary 04, 2013 - 3:06 pm


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