VIEWS: 5 PAGES: 17 POSTED ON: 11/24/2011
FOREWORD This report is the result of a request by the Town of Monterey for the University of Tennessee’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) to conduct a comprehensive management study of the Town of Monterey. MTAS extends its appreciation to the Mayor, aldermembers and staff for their cooperation and assistance with this study and the preparation of this report. The MTAS staff assigned to this project are as follows: Mr. Rex Barton, Mr. Ray Crouch, Ms. Anne Gilbert, Ms. Carole Graves, Ms. Armintha Loveday, Mr. Alan Majors, Mr. Warren Nevad, Mr. Richard Stokes, Mr. Mike Tallent and Mr. Brett Ward. INTRODUCTION The University of Tennessee’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) embarked on this service in the fall of 1991. The development of a Comprehensive Management Review (CMR) program is being conducted in cooperation with municipalities within the population range of 2,500 to 10,000. The Town of Monterey requested this service during the summer of 1999. The Comprehensive Management Review uses input from MTAS staff members and staff interviews to develop a review of the town’s operations. The CMR will (1) offer a critique of positive and negative aspects of each service provided by the town, (2) offer recommendations to correct the negative aspects, (3) generate data that may be used in future efforts, (4) assist in the development of a priority system to implement the findings of this study, and (5) assist in the implementation of some projects. Finally, the CMR affords the opportunity to set an action plan with MTAS and other technical assistance projects. COMPONENTS OF THE STUDY The CMR process includes a review of all municipal functional areas. Information was obtained from various sources. The data gathering process consists of three major activitires: (1) interviews with elected officals and staff, (2) field inspections, (3) review of documents and other pertinent data. Another CMR component is the peer review and interaction provided by MTAS staff members throughout the process. MTAS conducted interviews with the department heads and management staff of the town of Monterey. The interviews were used to determine the major strengths and weaknesses within each department from the interviewee’s point of view. The second gathering process included on-site visits. During the on-site visits the consultants reviewed the operations, equipment and programs used in the service delivery of each department. In some cases follow-up visits were required to obtain additional information. The third data gathering process included a review of documents including the town’s Municipal Code, City Charter and other pertinent data. THE REPORT The report is designed to be used as an assessment of conditions in effect at the time and a guide for the Town of Monterey in its continuing effort to improve service delivery to the citizens. The report acknowledges many of the strengths of the Town, however, the primary purpose of the report is to focus on areas for improvement. It is important to note that recommendations are based upon conditions that existed when the field work was conducted. Each chapter includes an explanation of current operations and recommendations. The chapters are as follows: (1) Administration; (2) Finance Administration; (3) Communication; (4) Personnel; (5) Streets and Sanitation; (6) Police; (7) Fire; and (8) Water and Sewer. An Appendix and an Executive Summary are also included. Comprehensive Management Review Introduction: Monterey is a small city of 2600 people located conveniently in the plateau area. Monterey is within 100 miles of three (3) of the Abig four@ (4) cities in Tennessee. The city is approximately 90 miles east of Nashville, 90 miles west of Knoxville and 90 miles north of Chattanooga. Monterey has a very active industrial base anchored by international companies such as Fast Food Merchandisers (the largest employer in Putnam County) and Adams USA, a sports equipment producer. Monterey has a rich and colorful history. A few testimonies to this railroad town’s heyday in the 1920s and >30s include the Imperial Hotel, the Standing Stone and an old train station. The town’s Indian heritage is also revived annually in one of its major celebrations, the Standing Stone Festival. City Services include administration, code enforcement, water, sewer, police and the volunteer fire department. The town council has requested to the University of Tennessee Municipal Technical Advisory Service a comprehensive management review. This review will consist of onsite visits by MTAS’S consultants. Each of the departments were examined. The methodology for the review included an interview with the mayor and 4 of the 8 aldermembers. The town council consists of a Mayor and eight (8) aldermembers. Elections for the nine (9) board members are held every two (2) years. The town’s ordinance allows for the Mayor to set, appoint and change committee boards. These boards include police, fire, personnel, sanitation and streets. According to all aldermembers interviewed, some committees are efficient while others lack effectiveness because these committees do not meet on a regular basis. Subsequently, the city’s operating departments are not receiving equal attention from their respective committees. The low rankings of certain departmentss could be correlated by the frequency of committee meetings. The Mayor and board serve dual roles by participating in the committees and serving as the Agoverning body@. This can often create overlapping roles and duplication of services. The potential for trade offs among aldermembers with committee members who are also aldermembers could create conflicts and a political style of city management. To illustrate, usually a committee which consists of 3 aldermembers will receive job applications, make hiring recommendations to the Mayor, who in turn will seek hiring approval from the board. There are no set guidelines for committees to address meeting procedures, hiring criteria and disciplinary procedures. Until recently, the Mayor had authority to fire, however, this is now the responsibility of the board. Based upon the interviews, the Mayor/Aldermembers do agree on several key issues: 1. Reducing the number of elected officals and implementing 4 year staggered terms. The general consensus appears to be four (4) councilmembers and a Mayor. The officals explained that the city of Cookeville was ten times the size of Monterrey and operated well with 5 elected officals; 2. Eliminating the frequent changes in the composition of the committee membership.During the past 18 months, committee member rosters were changed nine times. This effect has weaken stability of the committees, according to several aldermembers interviewed; 3. Enhancing infrastructure. All elected officals interviewed agrred that the city needs to rehabilitate water and sewer lines; and 4. Reducing conflict among elected officals. The board is split upon the issue of hiring a city administrator. According to one (1) alderperson, supervision of employees is dependent upon whether certain officals get along with another. The Mayor gives day to day direction to the supervisors, issues relating to planning and budgeting fall under the purview of the committees. Again, similar to the hiring process, the supervision model results in conflicting roles by the Mayor and the board. For example, the police chief may report to the committee which reports to the Mayor. On the other hand, the street supervisor reports directly to the Mayor. The town has proactively recently iniated new changes in personnel. The Board has been given authority to hire and fire employees. The Mayor gives day to day direction. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Administration Several of the recommendations contained in this report are addressing symptoms of a larger problem. That problem is a very difficult and overlapping organizational structure that limits and in fact hinders good day-to-day management practices. In some cases, the Mayor is reponsible for day to day affairs. Often, the committees which consist of aldermembers gets involved in the Aplanning@ of their respective departments. Sometimes, the department heads are unsure of where to get guidance and direction. To correct this problem, the town needs to completely rewrite its charter and in the process restructure its organization. This would best be accomplished through an appointed charter committee comprised of key citizens within the community. While the committee is addressing modernization of the charter, they should explore the feasibility of creating a town administrator position and/or giving the mayor unconditional authority to manage the town’s day to day operations. The most prudent way to accomplish this is to revise the Charter. CHARTER ISSUES Board Composition. The town’s governing board consists of one Mayor and eight (8) aldermen to be chosen every two (2) years. MTAS believes that this structure is antiquated and tumultuous because the entire board can be replaced every 2 years and/or this is a higher probability for conflict. The Mayor and all the aldermembers interviewed, agreed that the town would best function with 1 Mayor and four (4) aldermen. This is the same structure for the City of Cokkeville which is nearly ten times the population size of Monterey. The town would be better equip to have an election every 2 years for the board or have staggered terms which would be explored. Aldermen and Mayor Qualifications And Responsibilities. This appears to be in order. However, we recommend that the duties of City Recorder be removed from the Mayor’s qualification. Should the town hire a future administrator, this could cause potential conflict. Further, with the recent turnover of the office of Mayor, there could be a risk of not having an adequately trained city recorder who is responsible for all record keeping in the town. Also included in this section for recommended future review is the following direct quote: AIt shall be the duty of the Mayor to see that all ordinances and laws of the town are duly observed, obeyed and impartially enforced, and he shall, on application, instruct officers in their duties@. This clearly states that the Mayor is responsible for day to day operation of code enforcement and police protection. Should the town hire an administrator, this position would report to the Mayor on a day to day basis. Our suggestion is to either follow the charter or amend it. This section further states that AThe board of aldermen shall have full power and authority to elect and appoint all officers, servants and agents of the corporation within the restrictions of this act and fix the pay and compensation of the same; and they shall have power for sufficent cause to dismiss and discharge any officer, servant or agent that may have been appointed by a majority vote of the aldermen and mayor@. This would also have to be examined should the town hire a city administrator. A city administrator without hiring and firing authority may erode the effectiveness of the organization. For now, the town follows this personnel system. This section contained in this paragraph sometimes conflict with the day to day role of the mayor mentioned in the above paragraph. A quorum with four aldermen and the Mayor would be two aldermen and the Mayor. Finally, the section pertaining to ward composition would have to be revised. The charter also places a limitation of 60 cents on the $100 property valuation. This may have to be adjusted should the town desire to create the town administrator’s position. FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATION Background All of the financial administrative services are provided by four full-time people, not counting a city recorder. Services include budget preparation, property tax billing, utility billing, invoice payment, invoice filling, investments, revenue collections, payroll and payroll reports, city court collection/reporting, building permits ,financial reporting. Additionally, they provides telephone and receptionist service for all city business and departments. Two of the employees work for the Water and Sewer Fund while the other two are budgeted in the General Fund. The position of city recorder has been assumed by the two previous Mayors. However, the city recorder is generally responsible for many technical financial administrative duties and management responsibilities. Those duties are best accomplished by trained personnel and is normally a full-time position. Also, this top financial position can provide leadership and continuity between administrations when filled with a non-elected person. Currently, the city recorder position is vacant. This is an important decision making position that needs to be filled. These functions cannot be absorbed by the other four staff as they have full-time assignments already. What is missing is the total financial management overview that the city recorder is usually associated with. That person would be responsible for analyzing monthly financial reports; checking control totals on all assets and liabilities; cash flow projections; budget preparation; and reporting to elected officials. Staff are competent and capable. Moreover, there is a high degree of cooperation along with a positive office environment. They are knowledgeable about their jobs and plan to cross-train more which will boost their effectiveness. Also, all staff need to avail themselves of appropriate professional training. Utilities, Accounting, and Payroll The Town maintains its utilities, accounting, and payroll with good current hardware and excellent software. Local Government Data Processing (LGDP) provides software support. The system will not experience any problems associated with the year 2000. This office is taking advantage of computer technology and will upgrade some hardware. Accounting, payroll, and utility billing records are maintained in a current and accurate manner. Financial reports are prepared monthly as it is part of the computer generated month-end reports. There has been a documented problem with travel but that problem was not the fault of staff, and has been corrected with a travel policy. Internal control is generally a problem with any town that has few employees. However, with four employees, the duties may be adequately segregated to maintain a strong internal control system. The FY 1998 audit opinion has several exceptions regarding higher level accounting issues. These continuing problems point out the need for an accountant or city recorder. There are accounting functions, apart from daily business transactions, that are not being accomplished that lead to those audit exceptions. Direct Deposit of State Shared Revenues The State offers cities the option for a direct deposit to the Town’s bank or Local Government Investment Pool (LGIP) account of their state shared revenues. This is called the STEADY program. There is nothing wrong with the current mailed check system but this program will increase cash flow by a few days. Computers The Town is in good shape regarding its computers and software. Computer files are backed up daily, monthly, and annually. LGDP does a good job of recommending backup files. However, backup files need to stored off-site for additional security. This could be done weekly at a bank or school or other secure location where a catastrophe would not destroy both the in-office computer files and the off-site backup files. Debt The Town general fund has about $650,000 in debt principal which will be paid off in FY 2009. The corresponding interest is about $371,000. The water and sewer fund debt is about $2,900,000 with corresponding interest of $2,400,000. The debt is low for both funds and is financially easy to manage. Fixed Asset Records The Town does not have an acceptable Fixed Asset Record system. This was one of the auditors exceptions to their opinion. Development and maintenance of Fixed Assets is an accounting function not associated with daily receipting and check writing. Still, once the system is set up, any of the existing office personnel could maintain it. Development of a Fixed Asset Record system is time consuming. Many towns contract this job to their auditors or other professional. Investments The Town has several bank accounts and uses local banks and the LGIP to wisely invest its idle cash. Deposits are collateralized as required by Tennessee law. Local Option Sales Tax The local sales tax is 2.25% in Monterey and Putnam County. The local sales tax limit is 2.75% so there potentially is significant additional revenue from this source. Of course any sales tax increase would require a public referendum. If that passes then the County could vote to pre-empt that with a County-wide tax. Another possible way to increase this revenue is thru a situs verification. When a business applies for a sales tax number, they complete a form wherein they indicate where the business is located. The State does not follow-up on this and mistakes do occur. The State will provide a list of all businesses in Monterey paying sales tax. An employee could take this list and simply match it to all businesses in the Town. Any business in the Town that is not on the list should be turned in to the State Department of Revenue. Property Taxes This is currently the largest single source of general fund revenues. The Town of Monterey has low property tax rate of $1.28 per hundred dollar of assessed value. This is possible underutilized and would be a good source of future revenues. The property tax roll furnished to the Town needs to be checked with current Town maps to determine if all properties actually in the Town are on the Town’s tax roll. This is similar to the situs report used to verify sales tax payers. There is a fairly large amount of delinquent property taxes. The FY 98 audit indicates that only 67% of the tax levy. This problem apparently relates to a single industry disputing the property tax. Uncollected delinquent property taxes are filed in Chancery court in a timely manner with sales of tax delinquent properties coordinated with Putnam County. Receipting Pre-numbered receipts are issued for all transactions except utility payments. The utility bill is the customers receipt. All revenues are recorded on a daily cash report. All money is deposited intact within three banking days of receipt. RECOMMENDATIONS ON FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATION 1. Hire a full-time city recorder. It would be advantageous to hire someone with local government experience-specifically Monterey. There is at least one current staff member capable of handling this position. She could train her replacement while picking up new responsibilities easing the transition period. 2. Employee job description should be written and evaluated regularly. Their duties and responsibilities should be specific enough to provide adequate internal control over all financial transactions. 3. Continue cross-training office personnel. A goal would be to have at least two people know every task of every job. This would increase the interaction of office staff and minimize office disruptions due to any single employee’s absence because of vacation, illness, lunch, or other reason. 4. Back-up computer tapes should be stored off-site at least on a weekly basis. Then, if there were catastrophic loss of town hall, the financial records would not be lost. 5. The Town should develop and maintain a fixed asset accounting system. This system would track all of the Town’s assets and have records that indicate the location, price, acquisition date, and other pertinent data required. 6. Situs reports should be ordered from the State Department of Revenue. Then someone from the Town, knowledgeable about the Town’s limits, should cross reference every business on the situs report with every business in Town. Advise the State as to corrections. COMMUNICATIONS Background The city of Monterey uses only a few methods for communicating with it’s citizens and employees. The city mostly relies on the local media to attend and report on monthly council meetings. Very little else is done to keep citizens informed about key city issues or concerns. However, the mayor does maintain an open door policy to his constituents and employees, and makes an effort to be available to interested parties. Residents can also address the entire council during the public forum section of each council meeting. And on occasion, the city has used utility bills, placed advertisements, and distributed flyers to communicate with its citizens. Through the review process, three areas of communications were identified that needed improvement: citizen communications, employee communications, and board relations. Improved communications with the media was not mention. However, based on past media clips, media relations is another area that needs to be addressed. Generally, there are no “quick fixes” for public relations and communications problems. Instead, it is something that must be worked on continuously. An action plan, and increased and improved communications are good places to start. RECOMMENDATIONS Must Do 1. Schedule a workshop for improving interpersonal skills for current board members. Poor board relations and how it is projected through the media is a major concern. The workshop should also help define roles of the mayor, board, and staff. 2. Work to distribute proactive press releases to pitch positive news stories and good human interest type stories. Citizens, as well as employees, need to be inundated with positive stories about the city to help overcome any negatives feelings. 3. Meet with news directors. If there is a specific issue that is particularly complex or controversial, schedule a meeting with the news director to go over the issues in more detail. A proactive approach with the media is always the best approach. It shows your willingness to work with the media and that you have nothing to hide. 4. Develop a Crisis Communications Plan that identifies media spokespeople, contact phone numbers, and what type of information can be released. After the plan is developed, review the plan with city employees, board members, and members of the media. 5. Provide formal training in crisis communications for the administrative staff and board members. 6. Provide local members of the media with the same board packet distributed to each board member prior to the meeting. After distribution of the packet, city officials should be available to the media before and after the meeting to answer any questions regarding agenda items or board action. Should Do 7. Develop and distribute a citywide newsletter. Although the media is also a means for getting your message to the public, there is a concern that the press doesn’t always paint local government in a positive light. A citizen newsletter is an opportunity to tell your side of the story. The newsletter should include information about upcoming events, progress reports of current construction projects, board proceedings, a calendar of events, comments from the Mayor, safety tips, and a feature story profiling a city employee. 8. Schedule a couple of formal town meetings with specific meeting agendas. During the budget process is a good time to hold a town meeting to solicit citizen input, or after the budget is finalized to review it with your citizens. Other suggested times might be to announce any major construction projects, end-of-the-year reporting, results of a specific study or audit, etc. 9. Develop a complaint filing and tracking system to provide a better method of recording citizen's concerns and what type of action, if any, was taken to address them. Several computer software packages are available to manage and track citizen complaints and work orders. 10. Provide employees with a summary of council action the morning after each council meeting to help keep employees up-to-date on city happenings. Every city employee serves as an ambassador of the city and should have a clear understanding of what issues are at hand. It would also help in the effort of team building by making employees feel a part of the action. The summary could be distributed in employee mailboxes and posted on bulletin boards the morning after board meetings. Don’t wait until the next employee newsletter to inform employees of information that they should know now. Would be Nice to Do 11. Survey citizens, employees, and board members to determine what type of information they would like to receive concerning city operations. Once key issues have been identified, it is easier to determine the best approach for communicating with them. Just by simply asking for their input is a positive step toward good relations. 12. Aside from the standard holiday sponsored events, such as Christmas Parades and Fourth of July celebrations, there are numerous events that would maximize exposure for the city for very little money. (Arbor Day, student government programs, open houses, etc.) 13. When new residents sign up for water service, distribute newcomers packets that include pertinent information about the city. The packets can be coordinated with the Chamber of Commerce. In fact, they may already do this. If so, make city materials available to them for distribution, such as a welcome letter from the mayor, a city phone directory, information about the city council and meeting times, a calendar of events, scheduled garbage pick up, city recycling programs, etc. 14. Some of Tennessee’s smaller, but progressive, cities have begun to rely on a core of volunteers to help coordinate various city events. Farragut, Brentwood, and Germantown have very successful volunteer programs that help coordinate recycling, city beautification, and neighborhood cleanup efforts. In addition, Germantown has some 20 city committees that consist of citizens volunteering their time to serve on a board and provide citizen feedback. Citizen committees and commissions provide an opportunity for the city government to work directly with volunteer citizens in specific areas of interest. Members provide input to government affairs and act as ambassadors to other citizens. Feedback and citizen involvement helps ensure that the city is working in a direction the community’s needs and expects. 15. A city’s safety department can be a very effective and visible means for establishing contact with its residents. Cities throughout Tennessee use their fire and police departments as an extension of the city’s outreach program. Some examples include: blood pressure screenings set up in public shopping malls conducted by city EMTs, fire safety presentations at the schools, DARE programs and DUI presentations at area high schools, a citizen police academy, and police “trading cards” targeted to elementary school children. 16. Schedule quarterly or biannually brown bag lunches for employees. Employees bring their own lunch to a city park or some other city venue, and key staff people present information about upcoming projects or events. The lunches could also be planned for two different days in order to accommodate everyone’s schedule and to make sure there are staff people still manning city hall. Invite the board as well to help with the team-building philosophy and to break down any stigmas that the board is “off-limits” to employees. 17. Consider scheduling a workshop in customer relations and courtesy training for city employees. Its not always easy working with the public and is easy to become defensive when dealing with angry citizens, which can make the situation worse. Workshops in customer relations can help city employees identify citizens needs and concerns, better handle angry and demanding citizens, and present an image that exudes courtesy, trust, and respect for the public. Monterey Water and Wastewater The goal of this utility report is to highlight areas where the operations of the Monterey water and wastewater system can be optimized. The major areas of emphasis will be: system management, loss and waste reduction, asset management, and personnel management. The Monterey water and wastewater system is typical of Tennessee cities of similar size and location. The age and condition of the physical assets range from new and excellent to old and failing. The employees appear dedicated and capable and indicate that the elected officials support them, in most areas. Like many other cities, Monterey has a very high percentage of unaccounted for water. The sewer system is experiencing many overflows within the collection system and high storm water flows through the treatment plant. Taken together these two areas of loss and waste could be costing the city as much as $200,000 per year. The utility employees respond to problems throughout the system, but do not have the time nor equipment to perform system-wide preventative maintenance. Though the system generally runs well, optimizing the operations should result in better customer service and improved long term economy. Water and Wastewater Committee The Water and Wastewater Committee should establish a set of long term goals for the department. This will serve as a guide for it’s decision making as well as giving the committee and employees an objective to work toward and a standard to be held accountable to. Long term goals will inform the citizens that you are serious about providing quality utility services. Recommended Goals: Exceed regulatory requirement in order to provide the citizens of Monterey top quality drinking water and protect the public health through top quality wastewater treatment. Maintain the physical assets in a condition that assures dependable service. Maintain personnel who are capable of operating and maintaining the system to meet these goals. Manage the system to provide for the long term economy and efficiency of the system while providing quality utility service. Plan for the future needs of the citizens and customers in order to provide quality service as changes occur in the demand for service. Utility Administration A major opportunity for improvement for Monterey is the establishment of a full- time Utility Manager. This person would be responsible for overseeing the system, for directing the details of the utility finances and the things that affect the finances. Because of the long-term importance of utility operations, this position should be nonpolitical and protected from the whims of officials as they change from election to election. The major task of this manager would be to achieve the goals of the committee. They should have personnel authority because of the increasing technical nature of utility operations. It would be their responsibility to direct the utility personnel in a way that will meet the specified goals, assure that the workers are trained, and are held accountable for doing their job. This person would be responsible to the Committee for maintaining the physical condition of the system and for advising them on capital projects and for managing the construction of new facilities or lines. Part of their work would involve reducing loss and waste in the system. They should determine the actual cause of the large unaccounted-for-water percent and work toward reducing that loss. They should make a plan for reducing the effects of storm water inflow and infiltration. This position should be given the authority to enforce the city’s sewer use ordinances. For this position to be effective, it must have proper funding and be free of micro management from the Mayor and Board of Aldermen. The Board through the Water and Wastewater Committee would set the policy for the position, provide the funding, and hold the manager accountable but not micro manage the way he does his job. Unaccounted-for-water During fiscal year 1999 Monterey had an unaccounted-for-water percent of 41%. Another way to say this is to state that 41% of the water produced was never paid for. At this point, the water is not lost but simply not counted. The water plant produced 421 million gallons during the year, but only 249 million gallons were billed. The balance of 172 million includes water that was used at city facilities, water that was used during fire fighting or hydrant flushing, water that actually leaked from the system and water that was used but not recorded because of old or inaccurate meters. There are several things that can be done to reduce this percentage and then determine the actual amount of water loss or leaks. Recommendations: Add an additional meter reading route that would include only the city owned facilities that use water, but are not billed. These would include the water and sewer plants, city hall, the garage, fire hall, parks, and any other public facility that uses water, but is not billed. This allows you to account for this water usage. Begin recording the estimated volume of water used by the fire department in fire fighting and the volume used in hydrant flushing. These figures also assist the manager in determining the actual water loss by accounting for more water usage. Develop and implement a water meter testing and change-out policy to assure that the meter readings are correct. Generally, large meters two inches and bigger are checked annually. Residential meters are often changed on a ten to fifteen year rotation depending upon the system. However it is done, the policy should assure management that meters remain acceptably accurate. All meters should be read and billed. Frequently hard to find or read meters are forgotten over time; in other instances they are not read as favors to customers. In either case, the system loses revenue and other customers must subsidize those who are receiving free water. These practices, if common, make balancing the budget difficult and unfairly burden the other rate payers. The remaining unaccounted-for-water would be considered lost water. This volume would include the water that leaks from the distribution system pipes. The industry standard for acceptable water loss percent is ten, but increasingly systems are demonstrating that they can achieve lower loss percentages than even this. Once Monterey’s actual water loss is determined, plans for reducing that loss should be implemented. This may include leak detection and line replacement. Some cities find that replacement of old and failing lines a little each year can be quite effective. Inflow and Infiltration Monterey has a significant problem with inflow and infiltration (I/I). Inflow is defined as storm water that flows into the system from roof gutters, storm drains, open clean-out plugs or damaged service lines, and other relatively large openings in the pipes. Infiltration is ground water that enters the system through loose joints in pipes, cracked manholes, and other relatively small openings in the system. Rough calculations indicate that about 30% of the flow through the sewer plant is storm water. This figure is less than the total storm water entering the system because many gallons overflow from manholes and lift stations and are never counted by the flow meter. These raw sewage overflows pose a public health hazard to the citizens of Monterey. This also places the city at financial risk and at risk of regulatory action. The upcoming sewer rehab project will correct some of the I/I. It is important for the city to understand that this project will not totally solve the I/I problem. There will be significant amounts of I/I even after the project is completed. Most cities that are successful in reducing I/I do so with an ongoing maintenance program in conjunction with well-managed renovation projects. These are both expensive undertakings and should be managed wisely. Inflow and infiltration not only cost the city by increasing the treatment expense, but also rob the treatment of capacity. Every gallon of storm water that enters the system displaces a gallon of water from a paying customer. The city can actually regain plant capacity by reducing I/I. Recommendations: The city should investigate the possibility and cost effectiveness of adding an additional sewer crew dedicated to I/I location and repairs. There is actually a great deal of productive work that city crews can perform in collection system maintenance. Simple physical inspection of the manholes in dry weather and then in wet weather can be quite revealing. Smoke testing in dry weather can show many sources of inflow. As problems are found using these low cost methods, the city may want to invest in a sewer camera system. Whichever type investigation work is performed, action must be taken to repair the problems that are found, and the Board must provide the funds to make these repairs. The Monterey sewer use ordinance seems to lack a clear prohibition to the introduction of storm water into the sewer collection system. Prohibiting an then enforcing that prohibition is and effective way to reduce storm water inflow into the system. Chapters 2&3 of Title 18 of the Monterey Code should include a prohibition of connections from roof gutters, sump pumps, surface drains, storm sewers and other sources of storm water that may enter the sanitary sewer. Wastewater Plant Monterey’s wastewater plant is showing signs of being understaffed. A plant of this size and complexity should have at least two full-time persons. There are some maintenance issues that are being delayed, and sludge hauling has been a problem in the past. The plant is generally performing well. Violations of the discharge permit are generally related to high flows from storm water inflow and infiltration. Some violations are due to the plant design. Complete ammonia removal can be problematic for trickling filter plants especially in colder weather. Closer operation attention by a well-qualified person should result in improved plant performance even as loadings increases. Recommendations: Hire a full-time plant operator in addition to the present lab analyst. This operator should be responsible for operating the plant, maintaining the equipment, hauling sludge, and caring for the facilities. Summary Monterey’s water and wastewater system is typical of many cities in Tennessee. The most challenging problems are the underground ones. This is very understandable, because maintaining and repairing these facilities is difficult and expensive. Nevertheless, the loss and waste associated with I/I and water losses appear to be significant. Action needs to be taken to correct each of these situations, especially the easy to perform actions. Making a complete accounting of the water produced is a relatively easy action and will give the city correct information to base further decisions upon. If there is a significant water loss from leaks, then the leaks need to be fixed. I/I is a problem for all sewer systems. Ongoing sewer maintenance to locate and repair these problems is simply a cost of doing business. It’s not cheap, it’s not glamorous but it will increase the longevity of your system, reduce your potential liability, and keep the regulators at bay. The bottom line of this report is that Monterey needs additional personnel in the water and wastewater system, a dedication to long term care for the system, and to providing quality water and wastewater service.
"CMR for Monterey"