Town of Glen St. Mary 

Florida's Outstanding Rural Community of the Year-2004

July 15, 2014 - Workshop

The Town of Glen St. Mary held a Workshop on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 5:30 P.M. at the Town Hall with Council Members Davis, Foster, and Rhynehardt present. Mayor Padgett presided over the workshop. Councilman Reneau was unable to attend the workshop.


The purpose of the workshop was to discuss the Water and Wastewater Rate Study that had been completed by Mr. Bob Mearns, the Rural Development Circuit Rider for our area that works for the Florida Rural Water Association.


Mr. Mearns began by telling Council that the Town’s water system has some of the lowest water loss numbers he has ever seen, which is very good. Mr. Mearns told Council he is a former City Manager and has been with the Florida Rural Water Association for about sixteen months.  He has done a Rate Study for the Town and suggested a engineering grant.


Mr. Mearns presented a handout that represented each slide of a PowerPoint he went over with Council. He explained that the base charge is based on debt.  The cost per 1,000 gallons is a variable that depends on costs including chemicals, electricity, etc.  In reviewing our current water rates, it has been determined there is no money for reserves or repairs.  Mr. Mearns recommends the Town implement a more tiered rate structure for the residential customers, showing a slight increase to the higher usage categories.  This increase would pose no increase to the lower end of water users.


Mr. Mearns then reviewed our current wastewater rates and determined they are not sufficient due to our debt service and low number of customers. Mr. Mearns discussed several different indexes that can be used to determine a more desirable rate, but he proposed to use the existing rate structure, but adding more tiers.  He explained the proposed rate changes are only for residential customers, and suggested leaving the commercial rates.  The rates would not affect the lower end of sewer users, much like the water rates, only the higher usage categories.


Mr. Mearns discussed the Town’s options and consequences if they decided to reduce rates, leave rates as they are, or if they decide to increase rates using the recommended tiers presented. He recommended conducting an Asset Management Plan to understand what and when utility infrastructure would be needed and how much it will cost per year if revenues were set aside for future replacement.


Mayor Padgett had already been thinking about replacement of water and sewer equipment and presented a spreadsheet showing the different types of equipment as well as the life expectancy and cost to replace each item.


Mr. Mearns asked Council if they had any questions. Councilman Foster asked about the Town getting its own sewer plant rather than paying Macclenny for the use of their plant.  He voiced concerns of rate increases to the Town because of repairs to the Macclenny sewer plant and stated he felt the Macclenny sewer system is out of date.  Mayor Padgett told Council she has not heard of any increases to the Town’s account.  Both Mayor Padgett and Mr. Mearns responded by saying it is not feasible to build our own plant.  Mr. Mearns doesn’t think you could get a permit from DEP to build a sewer plant.  The state in recent years has been trying to implement regional sewer plants.  Councilman Foster voiced concerns for the elderly and fixed rate customers.  Mr. Mearns reminded Councilman Foster there are no increases to customers using up to 6,000 gallons.


Mayor Padgett told Council we are working on the rainwater. Maintenance has sealed the manholes and installed domes in manholes where water stands.  Mr. Mearns reminded Council they have a responsibility to run a feasible system.  Mayor Padgett polled Council if they are agreeable to advertise for the suggested rates in August.  They will set the budgets in September for the new fiscal year’s budget starting October 1st to begin new rates.


Councilman Rhynehardt felt the Town isn’t going to increase its customer base anytime soon. Mayor Padgett added the Town only has fifty-six sewer customers, the new rates would urge high users to correct problems to lower their monthly bill.  Councilman Rhynehardt did not see where the new rate tiers would bring any more revenues.  Mayor Padgett reminded Council it is only increasing the higher end of users.  Mayor Padgett showed the Council when equipment was purchased and what we will be up against to replace the equipment.  In looking at the spreadsheet, Council was in agreement to proceed with the new rate tiers.


Mayor Padgett asked if Council wanted to set it up for annual increase or to review the rates annually.  If the current Ordinance does not state so, the Town will have to do a new Ordinance to increase the rates and.  The Town could designate new rates in the future to be done by Resolution.


Council completed its rate study at 6:15 P.M.


Mayor Padgett then moved on to the Budget Workshop. She told Council there is moratorium in place on all impact fees; however, School Impact Fees are still in place.  The Town only had one hew home built last year reflecting the proposed amended Impact Fee budget for 2013/2014.  We are budgeting for one new home for 2014/2015.


The proposed amended Capacity Fee budget for 2013/2014 reflects three homes connected this year. The Town thought Davis Travel would be connected, but that hasn’t happened as of yet.  We are planning for one new home and a couple of sewer connections for 2014/2015.


The proposed amended Water/Sewer budget for 2013/2014 had several adjustments. Mayor Padgett explained to Council that implemented tap fees which increased revenues.  The Town also did not receive as many bad checks as we had anticipated.  Mayor Padgett explained the expense columns including paying Richard Harris longer than originally anticipated while getting Maintenance employee Matthew Torgerson licensed as the water plant operator.  Attorney fees and fees to Macclenny have been higher than anticipated.  We have saved money on repairs and maintenance since hiring Matt.  Some tap fee expenses incurred before Council implemented the charges for new water or sewer connections.  Office supplies were slightly higher than anticipated.  Mayor Padgett stated her goal was to be at 95% for our budget expenses and feels that if the tap fees had been in place sooner, the Town would had been at 95%.


The proposed Water/Sewer budget for 2014/2015 was estimated on the current year with consideration for taking a percentage of Matt Torgerson’s salary out of Water/Sewer since he is now licensed. Other expenses were adjusted based on the need or lack of need for some things that were purchased this year.  Mayor Padgett pointed out if the proposed budget holds true, the Town will be operating at 91% of our budget.


Mayor Padgett told Council the 2014/2015 revenues will be changed to reflect the rate increase. Council will go over General Operating budgets on the next regular meeting date.


The workshop was adjourned at 6:30 P.M.

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