February 26th, 2020 Audit Committee Meeting
Trustee Matthew Dent was elected Audit Committee Chair. Trustee Schmitz presented the Washoe County Audit Committee Charter as a potential template for the duties and responsibilities of the Audit Committee. Trustee Schmitz was to gather input from Trustees Callicrate and Dent as well as Interim General Manager Winquest and discuss their recommendations at the March 11th meeting. A review of the District’s Whistleblower policy revealed the absence of an established process. Trustee Schmitz was to meet with the Director of Human Resources and bring back to the Audit Committee recommendations for improvements. There was a great deal of discussion regarding the approach for retaining an outside firm to assist with the review and creation of internal controls. Before action can be taken, the Audit Committee needs to have a Board approved budget. The members of the Audit Committee raised a number of concerns related to the accounting, reporting and disclosures in the 2019 CAFR submitted to the Nevada Department of Taxation. The Audit Committee will formulate specific questions for Eide Bailly, staff and/or independent accounting experts to clarify.
February 26th, 2020 Board of Trustees Meeting
The Board did not approve two sole source contracts. The first was the proposed $256,300 contract with Jacobs Engineering for the design of the Effluent Pond lining. If the District expended funds on this project prior to entering into an agreement with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the funds expended would not be reimbursed by the USACE. The Board requested a stand-alone project be created for better tracking of costs. In the past, other utility projects as well as repairs have been charged against the $2 million collected annually from utility ratepayers to fund the Effluent Pipeline Project. The Board also didn’t approve the $161,634 contract to HDR Engineering for the design of the replacement of 5067 linear feet of effluent pipeline. This section has been identified as one of the most vulnerable sections of our pipeline. The goal is to have this section mitigated in 2021 along with an additional 1000 linear feet that was not identified for design work in the proposed contract. As determined in a previous meeting, the Board discussed the engagement of an independent Construction Project Manager to oversee these projects. The Interim General Manager along with Trustees Dent and Wong will be working to define a scope of work for the engagement of the Construction Project Manager. Their recommendations will be brought back to the Board for approval.
The Board approved a 5.5% utility rate increase to maintain the current level of service. This increase doesn’t address the shortfall in the Utility Fund’s working capital nor the required unrestricted net position. To address these outstanding issues, the Board expressed a desire to implement a line item charge so that it could be removed when the appropriate level of funding is obtained.
The Board approved setting April 14, 2020 at 6:00pm for the public hearing on the proposed amendments to Sewer Ordinance #2 “An Ordinance Establishing Rates, Rules and Regulations for Sewer Service” and Water Ordinance #4 “An Ordinance Establishing Rates, Rules and Regulations for Water Service” that includes the Utility Rate Increase and will publish the notice in accordance with NRS 318.199.
After the General Manager engages an independent consultant to provide the utility rate and capital reserve studies, the Board and our citizens will have a greater understanding of the appropriate level of working capital and the minimum unrestricted net position needed to operate, maintain and improve our $600 million utility fund infrastructure.
February 12th, 2020 Board of Trustees Meeting
Review of the District’s strategic plan was deferred for further discussion until newly hired Director of Finance Paul Navazio officially joins the District on March 16th. The Board set a public hearing date for the fiscal year 2020/2021 Budget and Recreation Roll for May 27th at 6pm. The Board Chair is working to develop an employment contract for Interim General Manager Winquest to officially become the District’s General Manager. Trustee Schmitz suggested the Board include clear priorities to provide measurable focus for the GM and the Board. The Board approved the hiring of an independent firm to conduct a utility rate study and a capital reserve study. The Board will be reviewing and potentially revising Board Policy 19.1.0 and Practice 19.2.0 along with other policies and practices related to the Utility Fund.
The Board reviewed minor technical revisions to Ordinance 7. The changes were made to more accurately reflect how the Ordinance is being administered. In the near future, the General Manager will present separate beach rules and administrative policies for the Board’s consideration.
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