I did not attend Tuesday night's commission meeting--there was nothing much on the Agenda and I would have bet that the entire meeting would be over in one hour or less. I would have lost that bet. There were six items on Consent, No Public Hearings, NO Unfinished Business and NO New Business. The only department having any business at all was our Electric Utility and who knows what is really going on there?
13 D (1): The utility staff presented an idea to save money on basically deadbeat utility customers or other customers who want to use the service. It was targeting those with SmartPhones (why do deadbeats have SmartPhones?) and was presented by Joel Rutsky and stonewalled to death by Scott Maxwell. What should have taken only 1/2 hour of presentation and discussion, went on and on and on with the vote finally at 5/0 to move it to a workshop, something Maxwell had asked for from the very beginning of the discussion.
His concern was whether the City was enabling more poor people to move to the city...making it easier for them. The program will help customers who can’t afford large deposits to still move into the City’s service area. I have to wonder why this should be the city's concern but apparently we have a lot of customers who just walk away from the debt obligations, poor or otherwise and this program will help with that.
Essentially, this will be a 3 year contract. For the first year (Fiscal Year 15-16), the implementation fee of $15,000 will be charged to the Transmission & Distribution professional services account of the Electric Department. Thereafter, the agreement requires a minimum of 500 accounts at a cost of $6.00 each for a total of $3,000 and an additional $4,000 annually has been added for text messages and the interactive voice response system. Some of the benefits of this program that will be available to both Pre Paid and Postpaid Utility customers are:
Flexibility of payment options, smart phone app and internet web portal for payments and to monitor daily usage. Customers that sign up for the Pre-Paid Utility system no longer receive a paper bill or a final notice letter. This alone results in an annual savings. In addition, these customers will not be a risk to the City for incurring bad debt and write-offs.
13 D (2): The Electric Utility is in need of extensive professional services at the Tom G. Smith Power Plant due to the recent retirement of the power plant manager, Dave Mulvay. S.T. Utility Consulting, LLC will be hired to provide power plant management. The consultant has extensive experience in managing power plants. Scott Trantham, owner of S.T. Utility Consulting LLC, will act as the temporary power plant manager and report directly to the Electric Utility Director, John Borsch.
The consultant will be responsible for power plant budget oversight, developing a five year power plant business plan, evaluating the preventive maintenance program for recommendations of improvement. Mr. Trantham will also commence a training program and an evaluation of the power plant’s safety and environmental program.
I approve/do not approve the professional service agreement with S.T. Utility Consulting, LLC for power plant management in the amount not to exceed $33,187.50. it passed on a 5/0.