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Somerset Borough Municipal Authority Minutes

Municipal Authority Meeting Minutes will be posted after they are approved at the following meeting.

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Borough of Somerset Municipal Authority Meeting

December 18th, 2023 – 6:00 p.m. (In-Person)

1. Meeting Called to Order:Chairman Flower


2. Roll Call:


    Authority Members present: Ben Flower; Ruby Miller and Lee Hoffman and Jeff Shaffer.


    Also present: Municipal Authority Manager, Jessica Sizemore; Borough Manager, Michele Enos; Administrative Assistant, Roger Bailey; Solicitors, James Cascio & Allyson Lonas; Borough Engineers, Tom Reilly and Jake Bolby.


Public Attendance:

a. None


3. Approval of Agenda:

    A. Approval of Agenda – Review and approval of the Agenda for December 18th, 2023 Meeting.



              Mr. Hoffman moved, Mr. Flower seconded, to approve the December 18th, 2023 Agenda as presented.


Motion Unanimously Carried


    B. Executive Session – None.


4. Approval of Minutes of Previous Meeting(s):


    A. Approval of Meeting Minutes from November 20th, 2023 – Review and approval of the Minutes from November 20th, 2023.



              Mr. Shaffer moved, Mr. Hoffman seconded, to approve the November 20th, 2023 Municipal Authority Meeting Minutes.


Motion Unanimously Carried


5. Opening of Bids:

    A. None


6. General Public Comments:

    A. None registered


7. Payment of Bills/Requisitions:

    A. None


8. Policy Agenda:


    A. Old Business:


        a. Water and Wastewater Rules & Regulations – Update from Manager/EADS.


            Mr. Bolby said that discussion was held regarding the history of the water and tap amount and how it fluctuated between 2021 and the most recent Resolution.  Master meters was also discussed and what could be done with the rate structure.  Also discussed was if there was going to be a master-meter, ratio of size and meter, and what the flat rate should be.


            Mr. Bolby said that they were comfortable with the scope and extent of sewer lateral testing being new construction, and replacement of the sewer lateral when the property owner does it themselves.  Also, discussed was how long to allow the public and other stake holders to become familiar with the requirement and how to execute it.   


           Mr. Bolby said that the criteria of when to do the sewer lateral testing was established. How long to give the general public for the transfer component, and whether or not to back it up with a Municipal Ordinance or totally rely on the Rules & Regulations of the Authority, was not established.  Mr. Bolby discussed how other Authorities handle this.


            Mr. Reilly said that a lot of times when you have a Municipal Ordinance providing the basis for the Municipal Authority Rules & Regulations, it is a financing mechanism issue where PennVEST will make the Municipality do a Tap Ordinance with those types of requirements. 


            Mr. Reilly explained that the reason the Borough Seward Ordinance was put in place was specifically for the Federal Industrial Pre-Treatment Program, because that is a Federal requirement acknowledging that the Borough is responsible for implementing rather than the Authority.  This requirement was implemented in the early 1990’s.  It has been modified over the years, so we need to make sure that anything that is changed in the Authorities Rules & Regulations, on the Sewer side, would fit with the Borough Ordinance.  Mr. Reilly noted that this Borough Ordinance could not be eliminated because EPA would not allow it.


            Mrs. Sizemore noted that a proposal for a new water rate structure will come in January 2024.  The intent of the new one is to cover the entire cost of the service line tap.  Included in the overall fee will be for the meter tap, time and material. 


            Mrs. Sizemore also expressed that, early next year, she would like to get the new Rules & Regulations adopted.  She said that more information will follow.


    B) New Business:

         a. Manager’s Report – Update on Operations.


             Mrs. Sizemore said that the Lead & Cooper surveying has been started and is in progress. 


             Mrs. Sizemore also mentioned that the Borough website is in the process of being converted over to a secured site.  She also noted that additional links were added to the Portal for the Authority Boards review.


         b. Engineer’s Report – Update on Status of Projects for Water, Sewer and Stormwater.


             Mr. Bolby discussed the following updates to the Engineer’s Report:




        1. Water System Capital Improvement Projects:


            Mr. Bolby stated that some issues have been addressed. There was a lot of work being done on East Main, the oldest section of waterline in town.  Crews were out at various times, some for over 24 hours.  Water was shut off three times that week in this area to provide a solution for leaking and separating water lines there.  There was a lot of good effort and cooperation with everyone involved to get this issue taken care of.  This problem area will be made a priority to ensure it gets done before moving elsewhere.


            Through the duration of the Project there has been excavation for leak repair fixes, or something, about 6 times in the same spot.  The pipe around Wendy’s restaurant has been a problem area too. 


            At the end of the Project, all the problematic pipe and will be replaced.  Also, all areas of the Project will receive new valves, with this practice continuing, from here on out. This is so we don’t get into a situation where we can’t shut something down.    


            Mr. Bolby mentioned that Kukurin Contracting is going to continue to move forward.


We will direct them to get their end of the Project finished out.


            Mr. Bolby noted that all the rebar is in for the water tank foundation.  They are scheduled to pour concrete on December 20th, 2023.  The tank will probably be erected by the end of January 2024. 





        1. Assessment, Repair, and Abatement Plan (Hydraulic Overload):


            Mr. Bolby said that the 6-month Status Report will be submitted prior to January 15th, 2024.  


            Mr. Bolby mentioned that the First Phase of the Collection System Project is ready to be submitted for permitting.  Engineers met with Borough Staff and Management to review the design.  We incorporated some of the design comments into those plans, and we are moving forward with submission of the applications.  After those are submitted, and as we wait for the permits, Engineers will be working to prepare the financing applications to PennVEST.  We will be able to submit to PennVEST for formal funding request once those permits are at hand.


            Typically, whenever it is a PennVEST Project, they like to track the progress of the Permits.  The entities they do have control over, they ask that they expedite the reviews.  As long as we tell PennVEST what funding round that we are coming in for, they try to work with those agencies they do have control over to make sure that those timelines are met.  We anticipate February or May of 2024.  We are on-schedule, at this point, unless there is some kind of “hiccup’ with an Environmental Permit that is out of our reach. As far as PennDOT permitting, it is fairly simple. 


            The Rules & Regulations is the only other recommended issue to resolve for Sewer.


            The design direction is to replace sewer laterals up to the property line.  From the property line onto private property, the condition of the sewer lateral is going to be based on the Rules & Regulations.  If it is new construction, it gets a test.  If the sewer lateral is replaced by the property owner, or with the transfer of property, it would trigger an appropriate test.


This was reviewed extensively with Borough Council & the Municipal Authority over the last few years before a decision was able to be made.  The decision set the design basis for the next 10 years. 





        1. Center Ave. Sidewalk:


            Mr. Bolby said that this Project is still on-hold.  The Borough asked Sanner Construction to stop working to give the Merchants a construction-free zone during the time leading up to the holidays where they receive the most business.  Construction is on-hold until January 15th, 2024 or February 14th, 2024.  These dates are still up for further discussion.



         c. Facility ReportsProvided on the portal for informational purposes.


         d. November 2023 Financial StatementsProvided on the portal for informational  purposes.


         e. 2022 AuditProvided on the portal for informational purposes.


         f. 2024 Final Budget – Consider adopting the 2024 Final Budgets as presented for the  water and sewer funds.


            Mrs. Sizemore noted that there were no changes to the Tentative 2024 Final Budget since the Authorities last review of it.



                  Mr. Flower moved, Mr. Hoffman seconded, to approve the 2024 Final Budget.


Motion Unanimously Carried


         g. Hickory Hill Radio Tower Lease – Review and approval of Hickory Hill Radio Tower Lease. 


             Mrs. Sizemore explained that there has been a communications tower on the Municipal Authorities property at Hickory Hill Reservoirs for more than 50 years.  The new owner, Mark Matthew of Matthews Communication has taken over the business.  He approached the Borough to formalize an agreement, or arrangement, which was never established.  Mrs. Sizemore expressed that it is agreed that it is in everyone’s best interest to formalize this agreement. 


             Mrs. Sizemore stated that the Authority is being asked for their approval of what was shown, however, there were changes that Mr. Matthew asked us to incorporate.   The first change would be putting a term of 15 years that will renew in 15 year increments if not terminated 6 months before it ends.  The second, is the removal of the fair market value language and any future rent charged should the Borough no longer need their services, and that the rent would be capped at $100.00 a month.


              Mrs. Sizemore said that Mr. Matthews mentioned that he provides free space in the tower and in the shelter for Somerset Boroughs antennae transmission line and radio system.  He pays for the electricity, as well.  He also provides free use of his repeater radio system for the schools to have direct contact with each other and to the 911 Dispatch Center.


             It was noted that Mr. Matthew’s proposal was sent to the Borough, and then the Borough sent it to Solicitors Cascio & Lonas for their review.  They reviewed it and made some changes, then the Borough incorporated those changes and sent it back to Mr. Matthew.


             Further discussion continued among the Authority regarding the agreement and Mr. Matthew’s proposal.



                  Mr. Flower moved, Mr. Shaffer seconded, to approve the Hickory Hill Radio Tower Lease with the 2 noted changes, and allowing Management to make the final changes.    


Motion Unanimously Carried


         h. Municipal Authority Water Resolution 2023-01 – Review and approval of the proposed resolution.


             Mrs. Sizemore noted that this is a proposed increase of the minimum charge of water from $15.00 for the first 2,000 gallons to $17.00 effective January 1, 2024.  There is no proposal to change the rate per/100 gallons.



                  Mr. Shaffer moved, Mrs. Miller seconded, to approve the increase of the minimum charge of water from $15.00 for the first 2,000 gallons to $17.00 effective January 1, 2024.         


Motion Unanimously Carried


         i. Municipal Authority Sewer Resolution 2023-02 – Review and approval of the proposed resolution.


            Mrs. Sizemore said that the minimum is currently $4.00 for sewer billing.  A sewer minimum of $22.00 for the first 2,000 gallons is being proposed.  The rate will not increase at the current rate of $1.83 per/100 gallons.  This would also go into effect January 1, 2024.



                  Mr. Hoffman moved, Mr. Shaffer seconded, to approve the increase of the current sewer minimum of $4.00 to $22.00 for the first 2,000 gallons.  This will go into effect January 1, 2024.

Motion Unanimously Carried


         j Kukurin Contracting Inc. Contract No. 1, Change Order No. 6 – Acknowledgement of approval of Change Order No.. 6 for Contract No. 1 in the amount of $6,415.85.  This is the increase due to material and construction changes.


         k. Darr Contruction Contract No. 3, Pay Application No. 2 – Acknowledgement of payment of Pay App No. 2 in the amount of $14,600.70.  This is the work performed up to 10/31/23.


         l. Kukurin Contracting Inc. Contract No. 1, Pay Application No. 9 – Acknowledgement of payment of Pay App No. 9 in the amount of $928,457.08.


         m. Ligonier Construction Contract No. 2, Pay Application No. 6 – Acknowledgement of payment of Pay App No. 6 in the amount of $292,462.35.


         n. PennVEST Payment Request No. 9 – Acknowledgement of approval of PennVest  Payment Request No. 9 in the amount of $1,479,860.23.


         o. PennVest Payment Request No. 10 – Acknowledgement of approval of PennVest Payment Request No. 10 in the amount of $1,279,404.02.



    A. Adjournment



              Mr. Shaffer moved to adjourn, seconded by Mrs. Miller.   


                                                                           Motion Unanimously Carried

 6:45 p.m.


    B. Next Meeting is set for January 15th at 5:00 p.m.  





                                                                            Jessica Sizemore, Municipal Authority Manager