OWASA Board of Directors Meeting Summary for June 11

OWASA’s Board of Directors met virtually on Thursday, June 11, 2020, and considered an agenda that included approval of the Fiscal Year 2021 budget and rates, fees, and charges, an update on the response to COVID-19, a resolution affirming OWASA’s Diversity and Inclusion values and supporting a community free of hatred, and election of Board officer positions.

The Board of Directors is currently meeting virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Budget and Rates

The Board approved the annual operating and capital improvements budget and rates, fees, and charges for the 2021 Fiscal Year as well as the Capital Improvements Program for Fiscal Years 2021-2025. The approved budget includes roughly $23.2 million for operating expenses, $20.3 million for capital projects, and $9.1 million for debt service. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board decided against implementing a planned 5 percent rate increase. To balance the budget, certain investments in the community’s infrastructure have been deferred to future years.

Pandemic Response

The Board received an update on OWASA’s response to COVID-19 and a phased plan for returning to normal operations. OWASA continues to take proactive measures to ensure we provide the Carrboro and Chapel Hill communities with high-quality and reliable water, wastewater, and reclaimed water services during the COVID-19 pandemic. OWASA opened the lake recreation season on May 29, 2020, utilizing an electronic reservation system and COVID-19-specific guidelines (click here for more details). Lake-use fees will be collected beginning June 12 via credit or debit card transactions only. OWASA will continue the suspension of service disconnection for non-payment through at least the end of July 2020 and will keep the Board informed on plans for customer payment plans and utility billing assistance. Chair DuBose will send a letter to our State elected officials providing support for state funding support of utility bill assistance.

Diversity and Inclusion Values

The Board approved a resolution affirming OWASA’s Diversity and Inclusion values and supporting a community free of hatred. OWASA’s Diversity and Inclusion Program, which was implemented in 2016, has provided training for staff and Board members as well as the updating of policies and practices to further promote diversity and inclusion. OWASA supports the recent statements and actions by our community governmental leaders regarding racial injustice.

Officer Elections

The Board elected Ray DuBose as Chair, Bruce Boehm as Vice Chair, and Jody Eimers as Secretary of the Board of Directors effective July 1, 2020.

Next Meeting

The Board will hold its next meeting remotely on Thursday, June 25, 2020, via Microsoft Teams at 6 p.m.; a link will be provided here.

OWASA’s administrative office is closed to the public to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Customers in need of assistance can still contact OWASA from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday by calling (919) 968-4421, emailing customerinquiries@owasa.org, or using the chat function available in the bottom-right corner of the web page. Please allow for additional time for OWASA staff to respond during this time. We appreciate your patience.