The April 6, 2021 meeting of the Bryan Public Utilities began with board members and Bryan Mayor Carrie Schlade present. The Board accepted March 16, 2021 minutes and took a few moments to await public participation, of which there was none.
Discussion on Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) was begun by Chairman Tom Sprow who said, “ We have talked about this several years ago and now may be a good time to move forward on it.” He welcomed Director Nate Gardner to lead the discussion. Gardner said there is recent news and gave some background.
It began in 2009 but has not had anything done about it. In 2016 they looked at it again with AMP. In 2017 they looked at a feasibility study, in 2018 they looked at another proposal, in 2019 they made a proposal and a few more steps were taken.
In 2020 they got an over view and were directed to move forward. Following the state of emergency orders it all drew to a halt again. So for four years they have worked toward it.
The company which they have chosen to do the AMI with, has stayed in touch throughout the past year. They presented a Tax exempt lease purchase for two years, and it seemed too good to pass up. Something needs to be done.
The team working on this project has come up with some ideas such as taking the installation costs off it. Now it is a “less than a one year” project being recommended, which would bring the cost way down.
There are a lot of meters that need to be replaced. He shared a number of other details concerning meter reading and how they will need to hire more readers and buy vehicles for them, if they do not go with this automated reading.
He highly recommended that they move Bryan into the future with this Automated Metering Infrastructure with Eaton, the company they have chosen. He mentioned other area towns that have moved in this direction and are very pleased with it.
He opened the floor for discussion and answered questions. It will be integrated into SSI and the system they already have. There will be approximately 6100 electric and around 4000 water meters. Board member Karen Ford said that this will be more efficient and the billing will be more accurate.
The Board decided to move on with the last directive which was given back before the shut down. They all expressed their support to move forward.
A communication department employee, Kris Bryce, was reclassified from Videographer to Probationary status local programming and production need.
He has been a videographer since 2015 and has grown his skills with on the job and schooling. He is well respected by the team. The Board approved a motion to reclassify him, after comments on his capabilities.
Retirement of Electric Department employee, Lonny Wheeler, warehouse employee, after 10 years of service, was accepted regretfully, but with “excitement for him.”
Jackie said that with warehouse position open so she got permission to post for that position Semi monthly disbursements or payment of bills was approved. Comments from BPA and staff proceeded with congratulatory statements to KB and well wishes to Lonnie.
Board member Dick Long asked Mayor Carrie Schlade how things are going concerning COVID and she shared that Williams County is “Doing very well, still orange and is the only county staying orange this week.”
Gardner put out a reminder that 48 hour disconnection notice has expired and it will now go back to a 24 hour notice. He also reported that March was the best March for the Solar Field ever, since it was installed.
Derek Schultz, Water Superintendent, reported that out of seven bids for the North Industrial Park Farm lease, the bid went to Neil McGill for $225 per acre.