​SUD Unaccounted Water Decreases; Employee Holiday Bonus

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

Reporting on operations at the Dec. 15 meeting of the Sewanee Utility District Board of Commissioners, SUD manager Ben Beavers cited two circumstances resulting in a substantial decrease in unaccounted for water loss. Board business included appointing an auditor for 2021 and voting to approve a commissioner’s suggestion to give SUD employees a small holiday bonus.

Unaccounted for water loss is the difference between water produced at the plant and water passing through customer meters, meaning SUD is not paid for the water. Beavers’ report showed unaccounted for water loss decreased by almost half, from an annual average of 28.1 percent to 15.6 percent for November. Beavers attributed a large portion of the change to finding and repairing a water-main leak in Sewanee Summit. Zone metering had been showing a 1.25 gallon per minute (gpm) loss, which for a five-day period jumped to 25-30 gpm. Beavers walked the rugged terrain and eventually found the leak by observing surface water. Leaks in the area are difficult to locate because the water line is buried 6-8 feet underground. Beavers speculated the line had been leaking for some time. With repair of the leak, the zone meter registered a water loss decrease to 0.5 gpm.

Beavers also attributed decrease in unaccounted for water loss to replacement of three residential meters and one residence hall meter that “quit working.” He estimated the residence hall used 100,000 gallons per month.

The board appointed the MG Group to perform SUD’s audit again in 2021. The board has also retained the MG Group to generate a series of reports to assist SUD in long-range planning.

Commissioner Randall Henley introduced the discussion about giving SUD employees a small holiday bonus. SUD has eight employees. Henley suggested $100 per employee. “It’s not much,” Henley said. He pointed out SUD usually treated employees and their families to a holiday dinner, but the event was canceled due to the pandemic. Commissioner Doug Cameron observed the dinner would have cost more than the $800 in bonuses. “It would be a show of good faith,” said SUD Board President Charlie Smith. Smith suggested the bonuses could come from the board’s Planning and Governance budget. Commissioner Ronnie Hoosier pointed out SUD did not replace an employee in 2020 due to difficult financial constraints, and SUD employees covered for the employee’s absence uncompensated. Likewise, due to financial constraints, SUD employees will receive no raise in 2021. After discussion, the board voted to give all employees a $250 holiday bonus.

Addressing finances, Beavers said revenue was 5 percent below budget at the end of November. “We’ll finish the year with a net loss of position, but it’s not horrible.” In May, Beavers had speculated SUD could suffer a 28 percent decrease in anticipated revenue due to the absence of students and cancellation of summer programs. The water sales revenue loss has been somewhat offset by higher-than-expected new water tap revenue, 20 new taps for the year to date. “Land sales are hopping,” Beavers observed.

The board approved the nomination of Smith as a candidate for the January commissioner election. SUD customers interested in serving on the board can become a commissioner candidate by submitting a petition with the names of 10 SUD customers by Jan. 4. For more information, contact the SUD office. Voting for the SUD commissioner election begins Jan. 4 and will continue through Jan. 19 at the SUD office, 150 Sherwood Rd., Sewanee, during regular business hours, Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. The SUD office will be closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

2023 September
2023 August
2023 July
2023 June
2023 May
2023 April
2023 March
2023 February
2023 January
2022 December
2022 November
2022 October
2022 September
2022 August
2022 July
2022 June
2022 May
2022 April
2022 March
2022 February
2022 January
2021 December
2021 November
2021 October
2021 September
2021 August
2021 July
2021 June
2021 May
2021 April
2021 March
2021 February
2021 January
2020 December
2020 November
2020 October
2020 September
2020 August
2020 July
2020 June
2020 May
2020 April
2020 March
2020 February
2020 January
2019 December
2019 November
2019 October
2019 September
2019 August
2019 July
2019 June
2019 May
2019 April
2019 March
2019 February
2019 January
2018 December
2018 November
2018 October
2018 September
2018 August
2018 July
2018 June
2018 May
2018 April
2018 March
2018 February
2018 January
2017 December
2017 November
2017 October
2017 September
2017 August
2017 July
2017 June
2017 May
2017 April
2017 March
2017 February
2017 January
2016 December
2016 November
2016 October
2016 September
2016 August
2016 July
2016 June
2016 May
2016 April
2016 March
2016 February
2016 January
2015 December
2015 November
2015 October
2015 September
2015 August
2015 July
2015 June
2015 May
2015 April
2015 March
2015 February
2015 January
2014 December
2014 November
2014 October
2014 September
2014 August
2014 July
2014 June
2014 May
2014 April
2014 March
2014 February
2014 January
2013 December
2013 November
2013 October
2013 September
2013 August
2013 July
2013 June
2013 May
2013 April
2013 March
2013 February
2013 January
2012 December
2012 November
2012 October
2012 September
2012 August
2012 July
2012 June
2012 May
2012 April
2012 March
2012 February
2012 January
2011 December
2011 November
2011 October
2011 September
2011 August
2011 July
2011 June
2011 May
2011 April
2011 March
2011 February
2011 January
2010 December
2010 November
2010 October
2010 September
2010 August
2010 July
2010 June
2010 May