The “good” came with the swearing in of former Cleveland City Manager Joe Cate as a new board member to replace the retiring Mitchell Lyle who had held the board post since 2001.
The “bad” came with the amount of approved expenditures for new equipment and ongoing projects, most of which were planned and each of which is necessary to accommodate the city’s ongoing growth, now and well into the future.
The “ugly” was a brief discussion of the winter’s excessively wet conditions that have hampered progress for Cleveland Utilities and contractor crews involved in critical initiatives, and which also tests the public utility’s sanitary waste collection system.
In a fitting opener to the lengthy session held in CU’s Tom Wheeler Training Center, Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland — also a board member — administered the oath of office to Cate, a retired city manager who held the position for 6 1/2 years. Prior to serving as city manager, Cate had held planning positions with the city in the old Office of Community Development before moving on to similar roles with the Southeast Tennessee Development District.
Following the informal ceremony, board chairman Aubrey Ector offered, “Welcome aboard, Mr. Cate.”
The board’s membership is now Eddie Cartwright, Chari Buckner, Ector, Rowland and Cate. The positions are appointed by the Cleveland City Council.
The first major expenditure considered by board members involved a rebid for the rehabilitation of the No. 1 and 2 traveling water screens and static bar screens located at the Cleveland Raw Water Intake on the Hiwassee River. A new bid of $284,326 by Underwater Construction Corporation became necessary when it was learned a prior bidding process had priced only one screen and not two. This upped the ante by about $100,000, according to Craig T. Mullinax, manager of the CU Water Division.
Still, it represents a major cost savings because the project was budgeted for fiscal year 2012-13 at a cost of $581,000, Mullinax explained. It will also save money in the long-term because “the project will extend the life of the (existing) equipment to over 10 years,” Mullinax explained.
The water manager explained the bidding process included several complicated options and led to human error in ciphering through the paperwork. When the mistake was realized, CU made the prompt decision to rebid. Three new bids were received and Underwater Construction Corporation remained the lowest and best amount.
Board members approved the new purchase order price without dissent.
Mullinax and Wheeler also provided updates on the ongoing SCOPE 10 Sewer Rehabilitation Program whose 10-year strategy is to reduce inflow and infiltration (I/I) into the existing sanitary wastewater collection system. The I/I project began in 2011, and then evolved into the much broader SCOPE 10 initiative which is being funded with $1.25 million each year for sewer improvements over the next decade.
As part of the ongoing I/I project, the board approved a $258,000 expenditure with Littlejohn Engineering Associates for closed-circuit television inspection of 117,960 lineal feet, which is 64.5 percent of the small-diameter sanitary sewer lines in the South Cleveland basin. On CU documents, the basin is referred to as Basin 31-45. It includes areas near the APD 40 bypass south of the city.
In other actions taken by board members, most of which involved needed expenditures, the board:
- Approved a purchase order with Altec Industries in the amount of $251,231 for a bucket truck to replace Unit No. 103, a 1997 International chassis with a Hi-Ranger bucket lift. The new model provides a boom extension which offers improved working height which is needed for a variety of CU projects. Until now, CU has rented equipment for projects of extreme height. Ector described the equipment purchase as being a “cost avoidance” in the long term.
- Approved a purchase order with Keystone Electrical Manufacturing Company in the amount of $121,140.46 for a concrete control building to be installed at the Appalachian Substation. Bart Borden, manager of the CU Electric Division, pointed out the Appalachian sub was constructed in 1978 and its equipment is aging badly. The new building will house the high side relay panels, communication panel, AC and DC electrical panels, 48-volt battery system, wall pack heating and air unit, and eye wash station.
- Approved an agreement between Cleveland Utilities and TVA amending the existing power contract to provide temporary “STP” rates for new large industrial and commercial customers for the purpose of startup and testing. The new contract will accommodate the new Whirlpool manufacturing plant and distribution center which will begin official startup sometime during the next couple of months. “STP” energy is priced on a day-ahead basis and demand is based on TVA transmission costs plus applicable administrative charges, losses, in-lieu of taxes, sales tax and margins.
- Approved the purchase of the Colloms Plumbing property located at 685 Freewill Road at a price of $250,000. The property includes 3.6 acres and a 9,000-square-foot building that will be used by CU to store additional material and equipment. The property will be used for the construction of a new distribution substation. The board’s authorization for the purchase is contingent upon court approval because the owner recently died, and the property and building are being handled through a trustee.
- Authorized the board chairman to execute a resolution allowing the utility board to proceed with eminent domain proceedings in order to acquire water easements as part of the 20-inch Water Transmission Line Extension Project from the Eldridge Drive Water Storage Tank near Blue Springs Road and APD 40 to 20th Street. The property in question involves deceased owners and CU is facing difficulty in contacting family heirs.
- Approved a purchase order with O.C. Construction in the amount of $114,550 for the installation of a new gable metal roof on the Cleveland Filter Plant Administration Building. The existing 15-year-old rubber roof is leaking, posing a threat to inside equipment. The project was not budgeted, but will be paid through fund allocations from other projects in the Water Division capital budget.
- The board’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be Thursday, Feb. 23, at 3 p.m. in the Training Center.