OWASA Board of Directors Meeting Summary for May 14

OWASA’s Board of Directors met virtually on Thursday, May 14, 2020, and considered an agenda that included updates on the response to COVID-19, draft budget and rate information for Fiscal Year 2021, and the onboarding program for OWASA’s next Executive Director. The full agenda as well as other Board materials can be found here.

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

Pandemic Preparedness and 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 Carrboro and Chapel Hill communities with high-quality and reliable water, wastewater, and reclaimed water services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Administrative offices and lake recreation activities remain closed. OWASA staff who are able to telework will continue doing so. Best practices are being implemented to allow for field crews to begin preventative maintenance and lab staff to operate in a limited capacity.

Employee Health and Dental Insurance

The Board authorized the Executive Director to execute contracts for employee health and dental insurance plans with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. The contracts for the term beginning on July 1, 2020, include a 10 percent decrease for health insurance premiums and a 5 percent increase for dental insurance premiums.

Draft Budget and Rate Adjustment

The Board received draft budget and rate adjustment information for Fiscal Year 2021. A 5 percent rate increase had been anticipated for FY21, but the impact of COVID-19 on our community has been significant. Therefore, the Board is considering a budget with no rate increase for FY21. The proposed budget includes roughly $23.2 million for operating expenses, $20.3 million for capital projects, and $7.6 million for making principal and interest payments on loans and bonds used to finance system improvements. The Board of Directors will hold a virtual public hearing on the proposed budget and rates on May 28, 2020, at 7 p.m. and will vote on the final budget and rates in June.

Onboarding Program for Next Executive Director

The Board discussed the onboarding program for OWASA’s next Executive Director to prepare for a smooth and effective transition. COVID-19 may impact the schedule, format, and priorities of the onboarding program.

Board Nominations

The Board nominated Board members to serve in leadership roles of Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary. The Board will vote on election of officers at the first meeting in June.

Next Meeting

The Board will hold its next meeting remotely on Thursday, May 28, 2020, via Microsoft Teams at 7 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.