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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Water Sewer Committee Denies Water Reduction For Apartment

Issue Date: February 28, 2019

The City of Peshtigo Water and Sewer Committee meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 26 began with a review of a letter of request from city resident, Robert Thomas for a reduction in his water and sewer bill for 511 Oak Street in Peshtigo. That bill had increased by $4,320 or a 522% increase from previous quarter to most recent quarter.

The 2018 third quarter bill for the apartment building was $828.05 from June 30, 2018 thru Sept. 30, 2018 and the most recent bill for quarter four was $5,148.42 for the period from Sept. 30, 2018 through Dec. 31, 2018.

As he was collecting rent payment from his tenants on Jan. 4, 2019, at that time a tenant in Apartment 1 made Thomas aware that he heard water running in the building. After further investigation, it was found to be Apartment 5 where the toilet fill valve was broken. Thomas fixed the problem the same day.

On Jan. 5, 2019, Jeff Thomson notified Thomas of excess water usage at the apartments. Thompson went to the apartments a second time to check the meter inside the apartments and all was working properly.

In his letter, Thomas indicated apartment 5 is leased by a mentally disabled man who did not report the constantly running toilet. Thomas stated he would have fixed the problem sooner, but was unaware of the issue. "I keep the apartments in good repair and try to respond to any service calls immediately", he said.

Assistant Clerk Treasurer, Anita Morois said, "I didn't get any figures for credit because the City normally does not give credit back for leaks. We allow residents to make payments without any penalty". Thomas commented he had already paid the bill in full to alleviate any penalties.

Committee member Fred Meintz expressed, "There is nothing we can do to relieve the cost if water goes down the sewer other than a payment schedule". Thomas responded, "It was a huge impact on me and if there is any consideration the board would be able to give, it would be much appreciated".

Meintz, apologized to Thomas stating they sympathize with him and feel sorry for him but we have to follow the rules and if we make an exception for you we would have to do it for all. Meintz said, "This is the largest bill I have ever seen since I have been on this committee, we feel sorry for you". Thomas responded with, "I take good care of my apartments and had I known I would have fixed it immediately".

Committee member, Dan Seymour and Meintz were in agreement that if we do it for one we have to do do it for all. That is why we draw a line in the sand, we have to stick to policy. Meintz then made a motion to deny the request. He said, "It is an unfortunate situation and we sympathize with you".

Thomas said, "I was hoping you could make an exception but I appreciate your time and consideration". Meintz responded saying, "thank you for coming in to explain this to the committee".

Director of Public Works, George Cowell announced he reviewed a proposal from Robert E. Lee and Associates Inc. (REL) for a Focus on Energy (FOE) grant that is available to apply for. The FOE incentive is up to 90% of the Wastewater Plant Energy Assessment (WWPEA) cost up to $7,500. This means 90% of the cost would be funded, leaving only $750 cost to the city. The city in-turn would get an energy audit of the Waste Water Treatment Plant.

Cowell said, "It would be advantageous to accept this grant. Whatever the recommendations are from the audit, we can put it into future planning for a cost of only $750". He added, "This is a good program and good investment that will allow us to put emphasis on the waste water treatment plant".

Meintz added, "It is well worth the money spent to put towards future planning to save money in the future". Seymour then made a motion to apply for the grant and move forward with a proposal for REL to go forward with pre-approval with the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) FOE grant. The grant will then be completed within three months of pre-approval or by 12/1/19.

Cowell also reviewed two Waste Water Treatment Plant sludge hauling proposals with one from the existing provider, Synagro at a base bid of $148,500 for the year of 2019 - 2020 and $157,500 for additive alternate A for the 2021 - 2022 year.

The second bid was from Full Service Organics Management Inc., with a base bid of $120,000 for the 2019 - 2020 year and an additive alternate A bid of $127,500 for the 2021 - 2022 year.

With the bid totals at $306,000 from Synagro and $247,500 from Full Service Management, Cowell said, "Synagro is the existing contracted provider and they do a good job, but Full Service Organics came in with a better bid". Seymour then made a motion to approve the base bid and alternate bid from Full Service Management at the lesser cost.

In his Sewer Utility and Waste Water Treatment Plant report, Cowell stated he attended a two day conference focusing on distribution with one day focusing on water and one day focusing on sewer; Rich Sparks completed and received his Advanced Operation Certificate and is up to level with the lab so he can fill in on weekends; Jeff Vorpahl is scheduled in April for one of many classes working towards a certification for the wastewater treatment plant and will take the exam in May; There are some glitches in the main lift station and we are keeping an eye on it. Sometimes when changing over pumps, levels get too high before kicking on. If they see a pattern, they will try to determine if it is PLC related or motor driven; Toxicity testing has to be done in March and Sparks is on board with that; Other than that there are no major issues to report.

Gary Motkowski, Plant Operator was present and asked, "When will BPM be getting a response from the city to a letter from Jim Koronkiewicz". Cowell responded with, "The study is the key to our response". Motkowski then said, "We have a call into our ISG consultant incase we stop operation of the number two paper machine".

The letter from Koronkiewicz, General Manager BPM Inc. dated Feb. 20, 2019 was in reference to a sewer treatment rate reduction request response from a letter dated Dec. 11, 2018. It states, BPM awaits a response to a sewer treatment rate reduction request and states they have responded to an information request from Ruekert-Mielke on Jan. 15 2019.

BPM continues discussions with the Wisconsin DNR regarding the application process for direct discharge into the Peshtigo River. Necessary paperwork has been submitted to begin this process and is being held at this point pending the outcome of the request.

At this time BPM is requesting information on total dollars to be spent with Ruekert-Mielke on the "Proposal for sewer user charge update dated Dec. 17, 2018".

Cowell ended with, "Per a letter from the state, we have to do rate studies every two years and once that is done, we will get that to BPM along with the proposal".

The next meeting of the Water and Sewer Committee will be held on Tuesday, March 12, 8:30 a.m.






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