CROMWELL — Skype video conferencing, online bill pay, integrated paperless billing, and an updated website were just few of the tech-y issues addressed during Monday’s meeting of the Turkey Creek Regional Sewer District board. While the board proactively works out a plan to re-direct some of their flow from Syracuse back to their own site for treatment, other small advances have made room for improved customer services and board relations.
Last month, board member Don DeWitt joined the meeting via Skype, prompting attorney for the district, Andrew Grossnickle, to outline some policies in an official ordinance. Grossnickle suggested the following guidelines for those wishing to join the board meetings digitally and be considered present:
Board members must have back-and-forth communication capabilities; must be able to ask and respond to questions without trouble (Indiana state requirement).
Cannot be used by one member more than two times in a one-year period (board members spoke up and suggested this be adjusted to three).
Three or more board members must be physically present at the meeting in order to use video conferencing.
Board member must provide at least a 24-hour notice of joining remotely.
Grossnickle will be reviewing suggested changes to put together an official ordinance for review.
The district website has also been updated and is live for customers to use. The website, www.TCRSD.com, offers contact information, district updates and downloadable forms. The board made a motion to begin using a bill-pay host, PayGov, to give customers the option of paying their bills online. All fees will be assumed by the customer with no annual or per payment fees for the district. Several online invoice services were considered before settling on PayGov.
The district is also planning an update to Keystone software, an integration move that will officially move the district from paper-laden to paperless. Preliminary figures show the update will cost about $10,000 for startup and $3,000 annually. Office employees Pam Johns and Jane Bucher are working with the board on various projects including the Keystone transition, the online billing and a three-year capital plan.
Addressing the lingering cloud of old business, board president Rex Heil said he is still waiting on answers from the town of Syracuse on widely fluctuating bills. Most recently, the district received a bill for $22,000 that was retracted and changed to $6,700 just a few hours later. Heil stated he requested a set date on when they may hear a response from Syracuse’s engineer for a meeting of heads, but has yet to get a set date. It was stated Henry DeJulia, Syracuse town manager, had mentioned bringing the topic to his town meeting. “The ball is in his court,” quipped board member Robert Dumford.
District superintendent Timothy Woodward provided updates on several preventative maintenance items around the district and pending items including a state inspection visit, two leaks in local collection systems that were dramatically increasing pump runtimes and replaced lab equipment. Woodward also completed an emergency plan complete with procedures, emergency contacts and an operations and maintenance manual, as required by IDEM.
The next meeting of the minds will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, March 20. Meetings are held at the district office in Cromwell.