Miller Stays on Econ Development, VVWD Provides Updates on Well Repairs
After the third attempt in six months to replace Virgin Valley Water Board Director Ted Miller on the City of Mesquite Economic Development Committee with General Manager Ken Rock, the Board voted unanimously to keep him as its representative.
Fellow Board member Sandra Ramaker asked that the item be placed on the agenda for the VVWD Board meeting Mar. 6. Speaking by teleconference, Ramaker introduced the agenda item saying that she originally brought it up last summer and then again in January but the issue was delayed each time. "It looked like the committee was going to sunset but now it's going to stay."
"There are issues that come up on a monthly basis from this committee. I would like to see our manager be our representative on this committee. One of the things the committee is going to talk about is how we can combine city fees, water fees, power fees, and all those things. The more information we can get to them is more value to us," she explained.
VVWD Board President Karl Gustaveson, who is also the City Council representative, remarked that "the information I've been given is that the committee will continue. I don't know if that's forever or for an interim period." He added that Aaron Baker, Interim City Economic Development Director, indicated that having a staff member, like Rock, is preferable over a representative like Miller.
Richard Bowler, Bunkerville representative on the Water Board, said "my concern with having a staff member on the committee is the amount of time he would have to spend. Ken has other projects going. I think Ken's time is more valuable to the District with those than with the Economic Development Committee."
"I don't think that's correct," Gustaveson replied. "As they try to work through some of these things like combining fees, it would be an advantage to us to have someone there to make those kinds of determinations."
Miller explained that he had been on the Economic Development Committee since it started about 10 years ago and had only missed a couple meetings. "The intent has been to promote and help businesses from outside. We aren't making decisions for the City or the District. We don't get involved in fees or things like that."
Ramaker explained that "I'm just going by the minutes that I read from the last two meetings. They are trying to make this a more workable committee that has some action to it instead of people just talking."
After a bit more discussion, the Board voted 5-0 to keep Miller as its representative on the Committee.
Ramaker requested two related agenda items: to determine if the Economic Development Committee representative should receive a stipend for attending the meetings and whether the representative should be required to submit a monthly report to the Board regarding the Committee's actions.
Both items were rejected on a 5-0 vote.
Wes Smith, VVWD Accountant, led a discussion about funding the repairs on Wells #32 and #33.
"We have enough money in our current budget to take care of all of the work on Well #32 and a significant portion of #33. If the costs for #32 are less than $410,000, it would be prudent to do the repairs on #33 this budget year. As it looks right now, we'll have to augment the budget if we do both wells this year. The money would have to come out of the reserves," Smith explained.
Rock told the Board that "our intention is to go out to bid on #33 and see what the price will be if we start the work on May 1 or July 1." He explained that bidders may submit different prices for different start dates based on their workload.
Aaron Bunker, Chief Hydrologist for the District, explained to the Board members that the pump assembly had been pulled from Well #32, including the submersible motor. The outer sheath on the electrical cable showed considerable deterioration thereby requiring replacement.
"There are two 500 horsepower motors. The first motor was bad. The second motor was still good but we shipped it back to the manufacturer for analysis. Since they are tandem motors we can't run one motor by itself," is how Bunker described the situation.
"Submersible motors are relatively expensive, especially one of this size," Rock added. "That's why we want to rehabilitate the motor. It may have significant salvage value if we do that."
Bunker explained that they were running Well #33 as little as possible to limit the stress on it before they get it rehabilitated. He asked the Board for permission to request bids for work on Well #33 adding that work would not start on it until Well #32 was back up and running.
The Board granted him that permission.
Rock discussed a plan he's proposing the Board adopt for replacing "Vanguard Bruiser high density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe service laterals" that may be defective but not yet broken. The Water District recently agreed to a legal settlement with Vanguard/Viega manufacturers that will provide the District with approximately $2.8 million dollars.
Work crews have replaced over 1,000 of the service laterals. The District has approximately 3,600 of the laterals in the water distribution system.
Rock is recommending a proactive approach to systematically replacing the rest of the defective pipe before it breaks rather than after. He especially wants to target areas "where we know it's failing."
"Leak repairs are more expensive because larger excavations are often required to remove soaked dirt, there is mobilization and de-mobilization for every repair, and sometimes the work is done on overtime. A crew can only make two to three leak repairs in a workday. Planning replacements will make it possible for a crew to replace between four and six lines per workday," Rock explained to the Board members.
Board member Kenyon Leavitt expressed concern about the added workload while the crews were continuing with their normal tasks. "We have great employees but I don’t see how they can do this and all their other work too."
"We might have to add some temporary workers," Rock replied.
Rock recommended hiring a project manager with an engineering background to manage the replacement schedule. That person would work directly with Homeowner Associations in Mesquite to prioritize and schedule replacement work around other jobs in the neighborhoods. If hired, that person would be paid for out of the settlement money.
"We really want our HOAs and community involved in this," he added.
Rock is asking the Board to use the settlement money "exclusively for labor, equipment, and supplies related to the replacement of Vanguard piping until that project is complete." He's projecting it will take until 2015 for crews to replace all the defective piping.
The Board tabled any action on Rock's proposal until they meet Mar. 19 for budget discussion for the next fiscal year.