The Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission’s finance and compliance and legislative committees met Wednesday to talk about issues ahead of the commission’s meeting today.
During the compliance and legislative meeting, committee member Don Elliott broached the topic of water usage in vacation homes. There are a large number of second, and in some cases third, homes in Glynn County. Elliott said the utility was already in the process of coming up with a way to charge vacation home owners higher rates without affecting full time residents.
Vacation home owners don’t use water when they’re away, he said, but the pipes that convey water to the house and the pumps that move the water degrade all the same, if at a slower pace.
Environmental factors still strain the system and maintenance still needs to be performed on it regardless of the owner’s presence. Vacation home owners should be charged accordingly, Elliott said.
In order to make sure that the average, full-time rate-payer isn’t affected by this change, he said the commission would look at rebalancing how much of the rate people pay is a fixed rate and how much is based on water usage.
Currently, the rate is based on four factors: administrative costs, debt service, operation and maintenance and reserve fund. Administrative costs and debt service are fixed; everyone pays the same amount. Maintenance and reserve fund charges are based on the amount of water used per month.
Elliott suggested making the maintenance portion of the rate a fixed amount so even those not using any water will contribute to maintenance of the system.
This would leave the reserve fund portion as the only water use percentage-based part of the monthly rate. As such, the JWSC would find out what amount they can set the maintenance cost to without affecting the overall average water and sewer bill.
This is still in the early stages, and a proposal will not be brought before the JWSC commission for some time, Elliott said. It will take a lot of studying and planning before implementation.
In other business, the compliance and legislative committee discussed executive director Jimmy Junkin’s meeting with the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. Junkin said his meeting might lead to additional funding from FLETC. The committee also heard reports on pre-treatment compliance and theft of services. A number of individuals have been finding ways to take water from the JWSC’s system without paying for it, and the utility will be looking at more ways to combat the issue.
During the finance committee meeting, a proposed update to employee compensation policies was presented. The new policy would introduce annual cost-of-living raises for all employees, as well as a one-to-five scale of employee performance. If an employee rated a four or five, as determined by the superintendent of their department, they would be given an additional raise, four being a one-step and five being a two-step pay increase.
An intergovernmental agreement between the JWSC and Glynn County was deferred for a second time. The agreement is intended to allow the utility to have full control of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax revenue allotted to it. Under the current laws governing SPLOST, the revenue cannot be disbursed to water and sewer. SPLOST is a one percent sales tax that is used to pay for a list of pre-approved projects approved by the public. Voters approved the list during the November General Election.
The finance committee also received a report on the end of month financial comparative for January.
A meeting of the full joint water and sewer commission is scheduled for 2 p.m. today at 1703 Gloucester St. in Brunswick.