The Hot Springs Village POA Public Services Committee met at the Coronado Community Center on Thursday, April 27, 2023, at 9:30 a.m. Some discussion topics are in separate reports. Links are below.
Board Liaison Bob McLeod and Board Director Bruce Caverly updated the Public Services Committee on recent HSVPOA Board actions.
Director McLeod said that the Board is doing as they promised, spending the money from the raised assessments on infrastructure and “cutting a lot of costs.” Click here to read about the items the Board approved on April 19, 2023. “Things are looking good,” stated McLeod. “We are spending money on the things we said we would spend it on,” explained the Board Director.
Board Director Bruce Caverly said, “We also spent just under half a million for a new communications system from Motorola for the Police Department. We are dealing with a 50-year-old system and cannot communicate outside the Village.” With the new system, our officers will directly communicate with Garland and Saline County Sheriff’s and Police Departments and the State Police.
“The new system will allow us to have GPS coordinates for every officer out on patrol,” stated Caverly. If an officer calls for backup, we will know exactly where to find him/her. “Smart 911 is effective nationally with this program. If you are out of state and need to call 911, they will know exactly where you are. The new communication system saves about $130,000 a year versus maintaining our old system, which is difficult to obtain parts for.
We are paying two equal cash payments of $215,000 for the communication system, paid on the first of May, 2023, and 2024. Installation begins in May 2023. Caverly said, “It will take a year to get it totally operational.”
McLeod said, “Having this new system will allow us to apply for grant funding that we did not qualify for in the past.”
“Good things are going on. We are spending money and taking care of the infrastructure. Getting phenomenal comments from the public,” communicated Caverly.
McLeod shared that the Board Retreat is on Tuesday, May 2, and Wednesday, May 3. Tuesday’s meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. at the DeSoto Club Restaurant and is open to the public. Wednesday’s session is closed. The Board will review the ad hoc Rules and Regulations Committee’s recommendations and “narrow them down to what is realistic.” A lot of the recommendations from the ad hoc committee consist of clarifications of the current documents.
Traffic Incidents Report
Public Services Committee Member Bob Cunningham reported on Village traffic incidents.
There were accidents on Balearic, DeSoto, and a rollover on Barcelona.
A person was ticketed for doing 52 mph. On Balearic, a person was doing 62 mph in a 45 mph zone.
There were three DUIs issued, one of which was driving in the wrong lane and wound up in a ditch.
Bob Cunningham’s time on the committee is expiring, so Committee Member George Parker volunteered to report on Village traffic incidents.
Election of Public Service Committee Officers
Board Director Caverly conducted the election of Public Service Committee Officers.
David Childs was elected Chair; Rolland White will serve as Vice Chair; John Sowers accepted the appointment for Secretary.
Free Soil Program
Unger said there was a steady flow of residents participating in the Free Soil Program. Unger said this program worked well for both the homeowner and the POA. Unger thanked the committee for helping with this program. This soil was also used at the Balboa Gate. Crimson Clover was planted at the gate, and this should be a beautiful bright red color in a couple of weeks. Click here to read An Article about the Free Soil Program.
Water Meter Discussion (This issue is not set in stone but only at the discussion stage.)
Public Services Department and Unger have been busy evaluating water meters. Unger is down to two brands but is not ready to decide now.
“I still don’t have the answers. We didn’t do a solid trial, and we are finding things that are not right,” stated Unger.
One of the meters being evaluated will cost the POA $1 a month for a wireless connection for every meter.
Other communities that have gone to one of the meters with wireless technology have had to go back and replace all of the nodes because the needed frequencies are no longer available. From what we get from the wireless meters, I don’t think it is worth it.
A second brand being evaluated has a proprietary frequency, so it will not change. “We can pick up those readings, either driving by with our trash trucks or can install a node and pick up the readings wirelessly. The company will change the meters from drive-by to ‘over the air’ when this becomes necessary in the future. Because of the terrain, the company estimated we would need at least five nodes. “We wouldn’t have to install the nodes at first. We could use the trash trucks to read the meters. The catch with this brand is you are not getting real-time data. You only get data as often as we collect it and download it into the system. You wouldn’t be picking up water leaks in real-time.”
It is estimated that we will have a mixed system for the next ten years, with some meters still needing to be read. The new meters will be deployed at new builds and replacements of non-functioning meters.
Unger plans to have an estimate of the cost to start using new meters at the next committee meeting.
Current Public Services Department Projects
Unger shared that there are a variety of tasks the Public Services Department is actively working on.
- Unger said we have a very complex water system involving pressure valves. The valves have not been maintained. We sometimes have high pressure where we shouldn’t, which could possibly contribute to service breaks and line breaks. Public Services is in the process of evaluating these pressure valves. Some of the valves have pressure over 200 PSI.
- Smart Hydrant Trial – Smart Hydrants can help find leaks in the water system. If it is determined that the Smart Hydrants work, we can use these on roads where work is planned to determine possible leaks before the road work begins.
- Lift Station Odor Issue – They have been flushing the problematic lift stations. About three weeks ago, Unger turned all the water off and stopped flushing. These lift stations were sealed off to eliminate gaps and openings. Despite doing this, the odors returned within a week or so. “We have incrementally started flushing again, slowly dialing the pressure to around a gallon a minute. They have found this keeps the gases inside the system. This is good news. We hope to flush as little as possible, and there may be times of the year when flushing is not needed…We don’t want to ‘burn’ water [unnecessarily] that we are processing.”
- We have bypassed six or seven lift stations and found three more we believe we can bypass. If we need to reconstitute a bypassed lift station in the future, it will still be there. Bypassing saves electrical costs and lets us use the pumps from the bypassed lift stations when needed at other locations. This also helps with the gas issues because the water flow in low water usage areas is detoured to another lift station where it will not sit for long periods.
- Potentially, we hope to reduce the number of lift stations in operation by about 15%.
- The bottom line is we have to stop the gas. The goal is to get that down to a more reasonable amount of water used for flushing and have a process to turn the water off and on as necessary.
- Sauna Room Renovations – While Unger will not give a completion date, he stated they are progressing well on the sauna room renovations. They stripped the old ductwork and sprayed insulation. The drywall is being installed. A plastic ceiling is also being installed so there will not be rust. They are also replacing as much metal as they can to reduce rusting. An epoxy-type flooring will be installed, hopefully at the end of May. The flooring is the final step. “I hope residents will see a dramatically different room than before we started this effort, and it will be much safer.”
- Sideload Commercial Trash Truck – This item was in last year’s budget, but they had difficulty finding a company. Most commercial trash trucks are front loaders. Eventually, they found a company that manufactures side loaders. Unger said he might address this issue with the Board at the Retreat because we need to act on this item. “We only have one commercial trash truck right now. This will give us a secondary truck. The nice thing about this is that it is bi-functional. It will do commercial on one side and residential pickups on the other. We can use this new truck for residential trash pickups if a truck becomes inoperable.”
- A second backhoe is scheduled to arrive in May.
- A second dump truck is also scheduled to arrive in May.
- P.S. is pricing three additional dump truck replacements.
- The new fire truck we budgeted for in 2023 is not scheduled to arrive until 2024.
- Because we are not getting the fire truck this year, we may purchase a skid steer and other smaller equipment.
- Water tank status and strategy – A tank had a hole (possibly due to gunfire). This has been repaired. The cost to repair this and a leaky roof was around $100,000. Another tank is still leaking at the water plant. We have yet another tank leaking but it is still in relatively good shape. Stay tuned for the master plan strategy to deal with the water tanks.
- Thermoplastic was installed at both gates for directional markings and limited striping.
- Raised Pavement Markers (RPM) on DeSoto were installed.
- We will soon introduce white RPMs on certain curves on DeSoto to help nighttime visibility.
- Evaluation of storage requirements and cleanup – We are building covered storage at Minorca and the Pit to protect our equipment. “We have very economical solutions for half of what was budgeted. This allows more efficient use of our storage space,” CCLICK HERE TO READ “HEAVY RAINFALL AND DRAINAGE – HOT SPRINGS VILLAGE.”
- Forestry management north of Barcelona is scheduled to begin in May.
Committee Member Philip Matone suggested that the POA use larger-sized riprap due to the possibility of smaller rocks being washed away during heavy rains. Matone said, “If we are going to do the work, going to be there with equipment and manpower, then we need to put in oversized riprap versus the smaller stuff.”
Scrap Metal Disposal
Childs said we have a lot of heavy metal refuse. “Do we have a cost-benefit consideration about how we dispose of those?”
Unger replied that we have a company that takes unusable pumps. If they can be reconditioned, we do that. We have a scrap metal guy. We don’t just throw out the metal. At the Minorca facility, we have a scrap metal bin for residents.
CONTACT INFORMATION FOR PUBLIC SERVICES DIRECTOR
Director Public Services
Hot Springs Village
Report by Cheryl Dowden