A meeting of Commissioners of Public Utility District No. 1 of Clark County was held in the District offices, 1200 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver, Washington, on Tuesday, the 26th day of January at the hour of 9:00 a.m.
Present: President Nancy Barnes, Vice President Jane Van Dyke, Secretary Jim Malinowski, Commissioners; CEO/General Manager Wayne Nelson, Director of Water Doug Quinn, Director of Finance Rick Dyer, Director of Energy Resources Dan Bedbury, Director of Information Services Mike Harris, Director of Customer Service Lisa Fix, Director of Engineering Cal Morris, Director of Communications Lena Wittler, Corporate Communications Manager Erica Erland, Communications Services Manager Heather Allmain, Senior Manager of Large Industrial/Conservation Planning Larry Blaufus, Manager of Dispatch Don Pape, Office Supervisor Helen Bartley, Energy Services Project Manager Matt Babbitts, Key Accounts Manager Bart Hansen, P&C Working Foreman Pat O’Rourke, Shift Superintendent Don Lidrazzah, Administrative Assistant Chrystal Jones and Assistant to CEO/General Manager Margaret Anderson.
Press Representatives: Brooks Johnson, The Columbian
Others Present: Mike Bomar-CREDC, Elizabeth Scott-CREDC, Nancy Newell, John Nelson (Materials A)
The order of business recorded below reflects the published agenda (Materials B)
At 9:00 a.m., President Barnes called the meeting to order for the transaction of formal business.
Consideration of the Minutes of January 12, 2016
There were no changes or corrections.
Consideration of Accounts Payable
The Board, by a unanimous vote, approved the following payment amounts as listed on the on Letter of Transmittal dated January 26, 2016 from the District Auditor:
Electric Revenue Fund – $26,849,774.86
Water Revenue Fund – $660,338.32
Generating System Fund – $601,461.83
For a total of $28,111,575.01
Recognition of Employee Service Awards
Director of Engineering Cal Morris introduced Pat O’Rourke, Protection and Control Working Foreman. Pat was recognized for 30 years of service with the utility.
Manager of Dispatch Don Pape introduced Don Lidrazzah, Shift Superintendent. Don was recognized for 20 years of service with the utility.
Office Supervisor Helen Bartley introduced Chrystal Jones, Administrative Assistant at Operations. Chrystal was recognized for 20 years of service with the utility.
The board thanked all the employees for their service to the utility (Materials C).
Consideration of Establishment of LUD Nos. 1235, 1241 and 1242
Director of Engineering Cal Morris addressed the Board regarding the Establishment of Local Utility District Nos. 1235, 1241 and 1242 for street lighting.
Resolution No. 7245 – LUD No. 1235 – Abbey Glen
Resolution No. 7246 – LUD No. 1241 – Creekwood North PH4
Resolution No. 7247 – LUD No. 1242 – 103rd East/West Infill Short Plat
After the presentation by Mr. Morris, Commissioner Barnes opened the public hearing for comment. There being no public comment, a motion was made by Commissioner Van Dyke, seconded by Commissioner Malinowski, and unanimously carried that Resolution Nos. 7245 – 7247 (Materials D) be adopted.
CREDC Employment Land Study Request
Senior Manager of Large Industrial/Conservation Planning Larry Blaufus introduced Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) President Mike Bomar.
Mr. Bomar first thanked the board and utility staff for their continued support of the CREDC and the work with existing and incoming business. Mr. Bomar then requested support of an employment land study. The study would be updating an analysis done five years ago to determine what sites are available for economic development in the county (Materials E). The CREDC requested a 2.4% investment from the utility for this project, which totaled $5,000.
Commissioner Barnes thanked Mr. Bomar for the recognition of staff regarding the work they do to support current and incoming business with affordable and reliable electricity.
Commissioner Malinowski moved to approve the request by CREDC for the $5,000 to support employment land study. Commissioner Van Dyke seconded the motion, and it passed unanimously.
Consideration of Resolution Regarding Self-Insured Status
Director of Finance Rick Dyer addressed the board (Materials F). Mr. Dyer explained that the utility has self-funded medical claims for over 15 years. During a recent state audit, it was recommended that we update our documentation to support our use of self-funding medical claims. Based on that recommendation, staff prepared a resolution to recommend for board approval.
Mr. Dyer reviewed with the board the specifics of the resolution that included creation of reserve funds and an annual report to the state, which would be the only changes to the current process.
Commissioner Van Dyke moved to approve the resolution authorizing a self-insurance program for medical benefits. Commissioner Malinowski seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Solar Incentive Discussion
Key Accounts Manager Bart Hansen and Energy Services Project Manager Matt Babbits briefed the board on the current status of state solar incentives based on the number of current net metering installations in conjunction with community solar (Materials G).
Mr. Hansen reported that like many of the other public utilities in the state, Clark County experienced a dramatic increase in the number of rooftop solar projects at the end of 2015 due to expiring federal tax credits (now extended two more years). With dozens of projects being contracted and constructed simultaneously, the utility is now in the same situation as utilities around the region with an over allocation of state solar incentives, which is capped at one half of a percent of our taxable power sales.
According to the state statute, the amount of state incentives must now be reduced proportionally across all participants, including Community Solar. The projected impact would be an estimated maximum of 12 percent reduction of the incentive amount in 2016, followed by an estimated maximum of 25 percent incentive reduction each year after until the state incentives expire in 2020.
Staff has temporarily paused the state incentive for the rooftop solar program pending a board decision regarding next steps. Staff proceeded to present options for the board to consider.
After some discussion, the board decided that the temporary pause put in place should remain until they could fully review and vet all options. The commissioners thanked staff for all the information and indicated they would consider taking formal action at the next meeting February 9.
Commissioner Reports and Comments
Commissioner Malinowski reported on his upcoming attendance at the Energy Northwest meetings.
Commissioner Van Dyke reported on her attendance at recent CREDC events.
CEO/General Manager Wayne Nelson asked if the board would like to support the APPA Letter to Congress supporting the Municipal Bonds initiative. The board agreed to all be signers on the letter.
CEO/General Manager Wayne Nelson let the board know that the utility submitted comments to State of Washington Site Evaluation Council regarding the oil terminal site. Comments were made by Director of Water Doug Quinn and Director of Energy Resources Dan Bedbury.
Other Business before the Board
Both members of the public shared their concern for the potential problems surrounding the solar incentives: Ms. Newell for the potential loss of solar energy to replace nuclear power, and Mr. Nelson because he is currently in the process of installing rooftop solar.
There being no further business before the Board, Commissioner Barnes adjourned the meeting at 11:00 a.m. to executive session to discuss a personnel matter and potential litigation. The executive session was not expected to last longer than on hour and no formal action would be taken.
Commissioner Barnes reconvened the public meeting at 12:10 p.m. She stated no formal action was taken during the executive session, and there being no further business to come before the board, the meeting was adjourned at 12:10 p.m.