Welcome to the Champions MUD quick summay for May.
The May 8th, 2017 meeting opened with discussions from Henry Peyton, the District's insurance agent. He explained that, in his professional opinion, the District’s only significant exposure he could find was their undervalued replacement costs policy as the current property insurance was allocated based on property costs vs. actual replacement value. The Board discussed the pros and cons of raising the value of the insurance in order to rectify this issue. The District’s Property Liability Insurance was also discussed as the policy needs to be reviewed and renewed by June 11th of this year. The Board approved 1st party coverage with a 3rd party liability coverage.
The discussion then moved to cyber coverage. Mr. Peyton explained that although the primary concern to a District’s exposure is physical (i.e. lightning strike to a facility), there is a growing concern of identity theft in an era of increase online activities. Currently cyber exposure is a concern that exists “under the the radar” of most Districts but this will likely change with more online payment options. Though it is noted that the majority of data that is shared within a MUD is public record and not sensitive, Payton suggested that the District review their consultants’ data security practices and require any of them that have private personal information to have their own cyber insurance policy with Champions MUD named as an additional insured. Mr. Peyton shared that TNG, the district’s operator, is an example of a vendor that currently has their own cyber policy and has done so for quite some time. As operations companies tend to be liable for processing water payments and subsequent financial information from residents this would be an applicable example. The district asked Mr. Peyton to provide a letter that will then be sent to each of the consultants that currently do business with Champions MUD. This letter would require the consultants to provide copies of their insurance policies and cyber coverage each year for the district to review.
Scott Chenoweth, Board Treasurer, presented a new District opportunity to not only address the drainage and flooding issues that affect some of the homes in the district, but also replace the two existing lanes of Champions Drive. This project seeks to improve both safety and general aesthetics within the community. Champions MUD has been investigating means by which to solve consistent drainage and flooding issues and in doing so has reached out to Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle. Scott shared that Jack Cagle was very interested in assisting with both a needed drainage resolution as well as updating the road to bring them to the current county specifications. Part of this project would also involve improving the safety for all those using this main artery into the community by eliminating the ditches and providing the added protection of a concrete walkway on the west side of Champions Drive for residents use. The total projected cost of the project is 9.2 million. However, the District would partner with the county and provide 4.2 million of this amount to be spread across the three-year project with the County agreeing to bear any contingent or unforeseen costs beyond the projected total. This would allow the District to benefit from over 9 million dollar’s worth of much needed infrastructure improvements, while only being fiscally responsible for a fraction of it. Scott went on to explain, the improvements could be completed prior to the 2020 LPGA US Open tournament. Another meeting is scheduled within the next few weeks to continue planning and to further explore details prior to any official agreement. After much discussion by the board, the board voted in favor of moving forward with the project, to negotiate and sign an agreement with the county if further details can be worked out.
The Operator’s report was given by Philip Dautrich, the representative from TNG, operator for the District. Mr. Dautrich introduced the consultants attending from Accurate Meters. The findings from the testing done over the last few months were discussed. Overall, the Board found the results encouraging and enlightening. They believe the ability to see daily usage would prove helpful to the residents of the District, keeping us all more mindful of the water we use. This information could also lead to an increase in District conservation. There were questions presented by Jeff Kanaly, Board Secretary, about the ability to search a specific date range within the application as well as the ability to refresh the information on the app regarding your account without having to refresh the app. The Board asked them to investigate and respond to their concerns at the next meeting. A timeline was also discussed regarding if Accurate Meters were approved; installation would be projected for a 12-month completion, broken into several phases. The cost of hardware was presented at $265 per meter. Mr. Dautrich explained that the benefit of the Accurate Meter is the ability to identify a water leak within 24 hours, thereby saving the residents and District money.
TNG reviewed the proposal and the costs were presented as $5,677 for the sprinkler system, grading, and landscaping of the land by the outside wall of the water plant. The board approved of the contract for West Cor, the landscape company that handles the green median project. Philip, from TNG, updated us on what was going on with the green median project as they have begun thinning and trimming trees to prepare for hurricane season.
Sean Hebert, Customer Service Manager with TNG, attended and briefed the Board on the conversion to their new customer portal. Residents will receive one final bill, then be transferred to the new system. Their final bill will contain their new billing account number for the new system. He assured the Board that all other stored information will remain the same. The new billing system will not change stored credit card information or hinder recurring drafts. The new system is mobile-friendly for ease of use and will go live be month’s end.
Bill Blitch, the District's Tax Assessor, discussed amending the rate order as a consequence of rate increases brought about by adding accounts from taxes. In addition, he presented a letter being sent residents that remain delinquent with taxes. Currently, 100+ homes are still delinquent. Mr. Blitch also informed the Board that his company does have cyber insurance and will forward it to the Board. Karen Hoffpauir, the bookkeeper, reported that all reports were normal. She reported an increase in the Regional Water Authority (RWA) fee which are reflected in the projections. She also informed the Board she is reviewing next year’s budget.
Bill Rosenbaum, the Engineer for the District, reminded the Board that the District awarded the contract for the new Generator to the lowest bidder. He also mentioned that Austin voiced some concerns with outages during a hurricane when diesel may be difficult to procure. In response to these concerns, Bill presented several options to combat those concerns. He suggested changing tanks from 500 to 1,000 or 1,200 gallon tanks. This option will allow the district to have addition diesel stored prior to hurricane season. This option will take approximately four months and will not be ready for this year’s hurricane season, however, it would be in place beyond this summer. He also suggested creating a Hurricane Operating System in which energy is conserved while running the system. In addition to the generator report, Bill reported that we might be able to bypass the CyForest waste trunk line and reduce the distance to the Kleinwood treatment plant if we get approval from Harris flood control and CyForest for an easement under the creek and across CyForest land.
Simon VanDyk, the District’s Communication Consultant, informed the Board of a spike in visits to the website when the April MUD meeting summary was published. Simon attributed those numbers to the posting of the link on the District’s Nextdoor platform and recommended continuing its use when there is pertinent information necessitating dissemination into the community. He also discussed a request that was received through Nextdoor requesting the board communicate the meeting time and date on the platform once the agenda is officially posted. The board agreed that this would be a good use of the new system. Finally, Simon also discussed an online form and platform that would gather allow for collection of information and reporting by residents that allows an easy way to notify the District of possible water related problems allowing the District to address them more quickly. The Board liked the idea and asked that it be published as soon as it could be approved by legal as well as the designated Board members.
Andrew Johnson, the District’s Attorney, discussed the changes (referring to Scott Chenoweth’s comments) to the Joint Powers Agreement. He mentioned that he had not received a response from Champions Forest regarding Joint Powers Agreement as relating to shared effluent project.
There were two guests in attendance. Both gentlemen voiced opinions regarding the drainage project proposed with the assistance of Jack Cagle, Commissioner of Precinct 4. They suggested that the road improvements could cause an increase in crime.
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Click here to view the summary for the November 13th regular board meeting.