Water authority plans for 2014

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot

Jason Gerhart and Bob Miller retained their seats as chairman and vice chairman of Greencastle Area Franklin County Water Authority for another two years. Bud O'Mara, Greg Rock and Rodney Rose agreed that they should hold the positions at the reorganization meeting Jan. 20.

The board took another look at the 2014 budget, passed last month, after being notified the authority would not see nearly $500,000 in revenue from a Heritage Estates West letter of credit. The money would instead appear in 2015.

Manager Susan Armstrong said, " We're in a tough spot."

She said the intended Franklin Street project would go on if bids were good, as would water tank inspections and the routine replacement of water meters. Fencing around the water plant would be delayed, as well as other projects lower on the priority list, and the year should end with a $63,000 balance in GAFCWA coffers, she reported.

O'Mara recommended the board evaluate how tap fees were being utilized, plan for full cost recovery of capital expenditures, and establish a capital fund to be ready for such unexpected financial news. The rest agreed that during the boom growth years, it was enough to hang on and provide services, but the time was right to fine tune the way revenue and expenses were delegated.

Armstrong and water treatment plant chief operator Dale Wright informed the board that impellers at the two Ebberts Spring pumps would be replaced. The larger equipment would increase the gallons per minute flow from 164 to 230. The cost would not exceed $4,000.

"We really need this," said Armstrong.

In response to a question by Rose, Wright said the GAFCWA water supply was protected, should there ever be contamination such as occurred around Charleston, W. Va. Chemicals from a company upstream polluted the river feeding the water distribution system. Wright said employees monitored the system constantly, and each water source could be shut off from the plant if a reading was unusual.

The presence of an engineer at meetings was eliminated unless there was a specific need, as a way to save money. The same policy for the solicitor was enacted some time ago.