Regular Board Meeting – December 9, 2020
Board approved at its February 10, 2021, Regular Board Meeting.
The virtual regular session of the Springfield Utility Board was called to order by Chair DeWenter at 6:05 p.m. He then led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance, and afterward welcomed Mark Molina, who will begin his term on SUB’s Board in January 2021.
Board: John DeWenter, Chair; Mike Eyster, Vice-Chair; Pat RiggsHenson; David Willis; Robert Scherer.
Staff: Jeff Nelson; Bob Fondren; Sanjeev King; Greg Miller; Janis Brew; Cindy Flaherty; Joe Leahy and Matt Dahlstrom, Attorneys for the Board.
Others: Jeff Paschall, City of Springfield; Mark Molina, Molina Leadership Solutions, and recently elected to SUB Board effective January 1, 2021.
Consent Agenda – Action
- September 9, 2020, Regular Board Meeting
- October 14 Regular Board Meeting
- November 5, 2020, Special Meeting
Accounts Paid – November 2020
* Pat Riggs-Henson motioned, and Mike Eyster seconded, to approve the Consent Agenda, as presented, and with one minor revision to the October 14 Regular Board Meeting Minutes, Page 3, revise wording in Paragraph 6, Line 1, to read as follows: [Key/Large Customers]. This motion carried unanimously.
Business from the Audience
Business from the Board
Second Public Hearing on SUB’s Proposed 2021 Utility Budget
Chair DeWenter opened the public hearing at 6:08 p.m.
Presentation on Proposed 2021 Budget
Jeff Nelson provided a presentation on the 2021 Proposed Budget (Exhibit A). He noted that the proposed budget has Springfield Utility Board - MINUTES December 9, 2020 Regular Board Meeting Page 2 of 9 been reviewed with the Budget Committee and this presentation is similar to the one given at the November Board meeting, but with adjustments recommended by the Budget Committee, which includes a recommended 2.5 percent (2.5%) increase in dark fiber rates in 2021.
Mr. Nelson recommends the Board adopt Resolution 20-09, approving the 2021 Utility Operating Budget, as presented, and as recommended by the Budget Committee.
The Board shared discussion on Project Share, noting that the $294,000 donated to Project Share in 2020 was including customer donations. The Board requested a breakdown of how much of the $294,000 came from customer donations.
Public Testimony on Proposed 2021 Budget
Being no further discussion from the Board, Chair DeWenter asked if there was anyone wanting to give public comment on the proposed budget.
As there was no public comment, Chair DeWenter closed the public hearing at 6:21 p.m.
Consideration to Adopt Resolution 20-09, Approving the 2021 Utility Budget
Chair DeWenter stated that he would entertain a motion to adopt Resolution 20-09, approving the 2021 Utility Budget.
* Pat Riggs-Henson motioned, and David Willis seconded, to adopt Resolution 20-09, approving SUB’s 2021 Utility Operating Budget, as presented, and as recommended by the Budget Committee (Exhibit B). This motion carried unanimously.
Second Public Hearing On SUB’s Proposed Water Rate Increase
Chair DeWenter opened the public hearing on a proposed five percent (5.0%) water rate increase at 6:23 p.m.
Presentation on Proposed Water Rate Increase
Jeff Nelson provided a presentation on Proposed 5.0% Water Rate Change (Exhibit C). He noted that there are some slight changes from his presentation given at the November Board meeting.
Mr. Nelson noted that staff recommends the Board take action on the proposed water rate adjustment, to be effective January 1, 2021, on all billing statements rendered on or after February 1, 2021.
Public Testimony on Proposed Water Rate Increase
Being no discussion from the Board, Chair DeWenter asked if there was anyone wishing to give public comment on the proposed water rate increase.
As there was no comment from the public, Chair DeWenter closed the public hearing at 6:29 p.m.
Consideration to Adopt Resolution 20-10, Approving Water Rate Increase
Chair DeWenter noted that he would entertain a motion to adopt Resolution 20-10, approving a five percent (5.0%) overall water rate increase with 50 percent (50%) to be applied to the base charges, and 50 percent (50%) to be applied to the usage charges.
* Mike Eyster motioned, and David Willis seconded, that the Board adopt Resolution 20-10, as presented (Exhibit D). This motion carried unanimously.
Public Hearing on Proposed Adjustment/ Increase to Water Development/ Redevelopment Charges (DRC’s)
Chair DeWenter opened the public hearing at 6:31 p.m.
Presentation on Proposed Adjustment/ Increase to DRC’s
Greg Miller offered a presentation on Water Development/ Redevelopment Charges (DRC’s) 2020 Annual Adjustment (Exhibit E). It was noted that DRC’s are also called System Development Charges (SDC’s). Staff recommends the Board take action to adopt Resolution 20-11, approving the annual adjustment of a 0.75 percent (0.75%) increase to Water DRC’s to be effective December 10, 2020.
Mike Eyster surmised that the reason for the annual adjustment/increase to development/redevelopment charges is to ensure that all users of SUB’s infrastructure are paying equitably for the cost of development/redevelopment, as well as further ensure that SUB’s existing ratepayers are not subsidizing any new development. Mr. Miller concurred.
Joe Leahy shared an update that the Water Division is revisiting these charges, which are called System Development Charges (SDC’s) by other municipalities, and noted that there will be a proposal for revision of your total DRC/SCD methodology, which will occur sometime in 2021. At that point, a public hearing will need to be held to allow public comment, because SUB will be reviewing the methodology as a whole, and not a revision of a currently approved methodology.
Public Testimony on Proposed Adjustment/ Increase to DRC’s
Chair DeWenter asked if there was anyone wishing to give public comment on the proposed adjustment/increase to water Development/ Redevelopment Charges (DRC’s).
There was no public comment offered. Chair DeWenter closed the public hearing at 6:39 p.m.
Consideration to Adopt Resolution 20-11, Approving Amendment to Chapter 5, Water, of SUB Policies re. DRC’s
Chair DeWenter noted that he would entertain a motion from the Board to adopt Resolution 20-11, Approving Amendment to Chapter 1, Water, of Springfield Utility Board Policies Regarding Development/Redevelopment Charges.
* Mike Eyster motioned, and Pat Riggs-Henson seconded, to adopt Resolution 20-11, as presented (Exhibit F). This motion carried unanimously.
Potential Board Action Following Executive Session
No Board action at this time.
Business from the General Manager
Additional Item Jeff Nelson shared that in the interest of there being continuity, he recommends expanding the authorization of check signing to include the Human Resource Manager and the Energy and Conservation Services Manager. Otherwise, the title of the persons with signing authority remain the same.
Following brief discussion on the several controls required for signing SUB checks, Chair DeWenter said he would entertain a motion for the Board to approve the request to add the two additional persons, with those already authorized for Key Bank checking account signing.
* Mike Eyster motioned, and David Willis seconded, to adopt Resolution 20-13, Authorization for Key Bank Checking Accounts, as presented (Exhibit F). This motion carried unanimously.
Review/Discuss Format of Board Minutes
Mr. Nelson shared that the format of Board meeting minutes has been more of a legacy, as related to the format and detail. SUB’s minutes are fairly detailed, and with the change in the volume of Board meetings and items of topic that the Board wishes to discuss, he recommends, going forward, that minutes not be expected to be as detailed.
When he was first hired at SUB, Mr. Nelson noted, the expectation was that the monthly Board meetings would not last longer than one hour. Over time, there have been more Board meetings held and the meetings have gotten longer, which puts pressure on the timeliness of transcribing minutes.
Following brief discussion, Board consensus was that minutes will not need to be detailed, yet should be accurate and timely, while meeting the minimum requirements per the Oregon Public Records and Meetings Law.
Usage Trends for Electric and Water
Jeff Nelson noted that the Board had asked for a history of usage patterns for electric and water from the different customer classes (Exhibit H). Mr. Nelson recognized SUB Utility Analyst Marc lePine for gathering all the data for this information.
Brief discussion shared by the Board on the usage data, trends, and impacts of the pandemic.
Downtown Voltage Conversion
Mr. Nelson shared that the plan is that SUB would retain the services of a consultant to do an outreach to the building owners to assess what is planned for going inside those buildings, at SUB’s expense.
Following discussion, Board consensus was for the General Manager to move forward with retaining a consultant as planned. Telecommunications Update Mr. Nelson shared a brief update on his December 7 memo on Telecommunication Update (Exhibit I).
TEAM Springfield Update
No update at this time.
Other Business from the Board
Review/Adopt Proposed Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy
Chair DeWenter shared discussion with the Board on the proposed Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement with DEI Strategies (Exhibit J), which states that these strategies be measured and reported to the Board annually.
Following brief discussion, the Board made the following motion, with the understanding that the Board will need to work on how the Board will approach implementing the strategies that apply specifically to the Board, prior to the end of the year.
* Mike Eyster motioned, and Pat Riggs-Henson seconded, to adopt the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement with DEI Strategies, as presented. This motion carried unanimously.
Chair DeWenter noted that the Board recently received a memo from Sonya Gabor, staff, and the DEI Advisory Committee with suggested revisions to SUB Mission Statement and Core Values (Exhibit K) Chair DeWenter recommends the Board be allowed further time to review the Committee’s suggested revisions. The Board offered no objection.
Review/Discuss 2021 Board Goals
Chair DeWenter shared that the Board has had an opportunity to review materials on the Draft 2021 Board Goals. Being no further discussion Chair DeWenter said he would entertain a motion to adopt the Draft 2021 Board Goals, as presented.
* Pat Riggs-Henson motioned, and Mike Eyster seconded, to adopt the 2021 Board Goals, as presented (Exhibit L). Motion carried unanimously.
Jeff Nelson expressed appreciation to the Board for setting goals and priorities, and requested the Board provide him with a list of priorities within these Board goals, to allow staff time to be successful in meeting the Board’s expectations on its goals.
Review/Adopt Proposed Board Policy on Charter Authority
Chair DeWenter referred to Board Policy on Charter Authority that was recently provided for the Board’s review. Chair DeWenter asked for a motion from the Board to adopt the Board Policy related to Charter Authority, as presented.
* David Willis motioned, and Robert Scherer seconded, to adopt SUB Board Policy on Charter Authority, as presented (Exhibit M).
The Board shared brief discussion. In response to the Board, Joe Leahy offered clarification that the provision of the Charter Authority that was in SUB Policies had some inconsistencies, and is now entirely consistent with the Charter Authority in the 2001 Charter. This proposed policy makes it easily available and clear as to where it derives from. This motion carried unanimously.
Election of Board Chair/Vice-Chair Starting January 2021
Chair DeWenter opened the election for the appointment of the 2021 Board Chair and Board Vice-Chair, and asked for nominations from the Board.
* David Willis nominated Mike Eyster to serve as Board Chair for 2021, and Pat Riggs-Henson seconded the nomination.
As there were no further nominations, Chair DeWenter called for a vote. Mike Eyster was unanimously elected to serve as Board Chair for 2021.
* Mike Eyster nominated Robert Scherer to serve as Board ViceChair for 2021, and Pat Riggs-Henson seconded the nomination.
As there were no other nominations, Chair DeWenter called for a vote. Robert Scherer was unanimously elected to serve as Board Vice-Chair for 2021.
Resolution 20-12, Recognition of Board Member Pat Riggs-Henson
Chair DeWenter shared that the Board is recognizing Pat Riggs-Henson’s service to the Board, as she is retiring from the Board effective at the end of her term on December 31, 2020. Mike Eyster then read Board Resolution 20-12, into the record:
Whereas, Pat Riggs-Henson has faithfully served the Springfield Utility Board and its customers as a member of the Board since January 2013, a period of eight years, with dedication, honor, and distinction; and
Whereas, Pat Riggs-Henson during her tenure on the Board has provided leadership and direction for the successful operation of the Utility, including serving two terms as Board Chair and one term as Board Vice-Chair; and
Whereas, Pat has given unselfishly of her time to assist the Board in providing the best possible municipal utility services to the citizens of Springfield at the least possible cost consistent with sound business principles.
Now therefore be it resolved that the Board of Directors of the Springfield Utility Board expresses its sincere appreciation and gratitude to Pat Riggs-Henson for her tireless and devoted service to the Springfield Utility Board and its customers.
* Mike Eyster motioned, and David Willis seconded, to adopt Resolution 20-12, expressing Springfield Utility Board’s appreciation for Pat Riggs-Henson and her 8 years of dedication to SUB and its customers as a member of the SUB Board of Directors (Exhibit N). This motion carried unanimously.
Chair DeWenter then shared some kind words of appreciation to Ms. Riggs-Henson and thanked her on behalf of the Board and its customers for serving, and wishes her well.
As the Board is adhering to COVID precautions for its meetings, the Board had a thank you bouquet delivered to Ms. Riggs-Henson prior to tonight’s meeting, and also plans to have a special gift of appreciation delivered to Ms. RiggsHenson.
Update on 10/8/18 Board Directions regarding Disaster Plans
Chair DeWenter shared brief update and noted the memo from Sanjeev King on ESC Update on 10/18/2018 Board Task A regarding disaster plans and backup generation (Exhibit O).
Board Member Updates
Chair DeWenter noted Bob Fondren after 20 years with SUB, is retiring on January 4, 2021. He expressed the Board’s appreciation for his long and valuable commitment to SUB.
Chair DeWenter also thanked David Willis for his informative and interesting report on some local watersheds (Exhibit P).
Future Board Agendas
Chair DeWenter suggests a comprehensive presentation on SUB’s fiber effort next month. Mike Eyster recommends focusing on prioritizing goals, per Jeff Nelson’s suggestion.
The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 7:39 p.m.
Mike Eyster, Board Chair
Jeff Nelson, Board Secretary