SUD: Smith Reelected, Asset Management Contract Approved


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

The first order of business at the Jan. 30 Sewanee Utility District Board of Commissioners meeting was counting the commissioner election votes. In regular business the board turned to review and approval of the Asset Management contract with KCI Technologies needed to satisfy a requirement of SUD’s American Rescue Plan Act grant.

Sixty-nine SUD customers cast votes in the election. Current commissioner and board president Charlie Smith bested candidates Randall Henley and Tracy McBee. All three candidates formerly served as Sewanee Fire Department volunteers.

The ARPA grant requires SUD to develop an Asset Management Plan to inventory, record the value of, geographically locate, and track the longevity and depreciation of assets. In support of KCI’s qualification for crafting a plan for SUD, manager Ben Beavers said the firm served on the state committee that devised the template for the plan — “They [KCI] know what’s supposed to be in there.” Another bidder for the project quoted a $90,000 fee. “Their contract was very unspecific,” Beavers said. By the ARPA grant provisions, SUD must pay 15 percent, $10,729, of KCI’s $71,530 fee. Beavers acknowledged without government funding the cost would be prohibitive for small water utilities such as SUD but cited the Asset Management Plan’s utility in applying for future grants and capital improvement planning.

Beavers hopes once KCI has migrated and mapped all the required asset data to the plan, there will be contract money left for migrating additional asset data into the system. He gave the example of the water plant. All depreciable assets must be listed on the plan, which for SUD means assets costing over $10,000. At the water plant, that would require listing only the building and skids. Beavers would like to add other water plant equipment to the tracking inventory, such as pumps and chemical feed. A detailed plan will give SUD an easily accessed record of “how long things last,” including non-depreciable assets not currently tracked in an all-inclusive data base.

The KCI fee includes training SUD employees to keep the plan updated when the contract period ends. A side benefit will be the ArcGIS geographic mapping software subscription SUD will be required to purchase, cost $1,200 monthly. The mapping software will integrate with SUD’s accounting software and enable quick and accurate determination of which customers are impacted by line breaks or other issues, enabling SUD to notify the customers by email. ARPA grant money will cover all but 15 percent of the subscription cost during the grant period.

Updating the board on the impact of the recent severe winter weather, Beavers said SUD had no service line breaks, but lost 140,000-150,000 gallons of water per day from customer line breaks over a three-to-four-day period. Beavers praised SUD employees, some of whom worked extra shifts. “They all did a great job last week.”

Beavers also reported changing insurance providers. With the new provider, costing $4,500 less, SUD has triple the umbrella coverage and the policy includes cyber insurance at no additional cost. Cyber insurance was typically billed as an add-on, Beavers said.

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