Posts Tagged ‘Board of Trustees’

March 8, 2017

Why You Should Stand Against HF 484


House File 484
is a bill that would disband the governing boards of the Des Moines, Urbandale, and West Des Moines water works. If signed into law, these three independent utilities would be forced to turn over management and their assets to the city councils in each city.

This is a diversion

  • There is no drinking water quality crisis in the Des Moines metro area that would necessitate the state legislature stepping in.
  • The real problem is source water quality in the state. The Legislature should be focused on water quality – not local water production.
  • Metro utilities have done an outstanding job for decades of planning and implementing the supply, treatment, and transmissions projects necessary to ensure everyone in the metro has access to quality water in adequate quantities at reasonable rates.

Legislative overreach

  • This legislation stands in stark contrast to Home Rule (the right for local self-government)
  • Iowa Code Chapter 388, states that a city may establish or dispose of a city utility, but it is subject to the approval of the voters of the city.
  • This legislation takes the right to vote out of the hands of the citizens of Des Moines, West Des Moines, and Urbandale.
  • Approximately 15 years ago, West Des Moines asked the citizens of West Des Moines to vote on dissolving their water board. More than 90% of the voters said no. This legislation will allow them to take over the utility without it going to the voters.
  • This is clearly an effort to bypass existing law and the will of the people.

Current version of the bill doesn’t even address regionalization

  • The amended bill doesn’t create a regional water authority, which was ostensibly the reason for the original legislation.
  • Regionalization, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing. This is why a coalition of 22 metro water utilities commissioned a study in 2014.
  • House File 484 would dismantle in an instant all of our accomplishments today. The metro water utilities will find a solution to our region’s future water needs by continuing the dialogue, not dismantling what has already been done.

Why water boards were set up independently

  • Water utility boards were set up independent from city councils for a reason – to protect a public health necessity from politics. Simply stated, it is an independent local water utility owned by its customers and it works, and has worked for 100 years.
  • There is absolutely no need to dismantle the water boards in the metro area that have decades of experience of delivering safe and affordable drinking water, and have long histories of financial diligence that have resulted in healthy water systems at relatively affordable rates.
  • Currently, water rates are reinvested in the water system, funding imperative capital improvements – for example, over $3 million this year in water main replacement projects for Des Moines.
  • It is no secret the City of Des Moines needs new revenue sources. If assets, responsibilities and revenue are transferred to City of Des Moines, portions of water rates could be funneled to the general fund of City of Des Moines, circumventing needed infrastructure plans.
  • Takes the management of delivering safe and affordable drinking water from professionals and puts in the hands of politicians.

Why you should stand against HF 484

  • This is a solution looking for a non-existent problem.
  • The legislature is sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong.
  • The proposed legislation actually impedes the regions ability to create a regional water authority.
  • House File 484 sets a dangerous precedent for all of Iowa’s 500 independent utilities boards.
  • Legislation could impede economic growth as it puts a freeze planning and construction of new water treatment facilities.
  • House File 484 is an example of politics at its worst. This legislation is clearly retaliation for the Clean Water Lawsuit, and shows no regard to the 500,000 people who depend on Des Moines Water Works for clean and affordable drinking water ever day.
  • As we saw in Flint, Michigan, when financially strained cities make decisions for purely economic reasons, the results can be catastrophic.

 

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 8 Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Board of Trustees, Customer Service, Customers, Rates October 23, 2012

Des Moines Water Works Announces 2013 Budget and Zero Rate Increase for Most Customers

DES MOINES, Iowa (October 23, 2012) – The Board of Water Works Trustees has proposed Des Moines Water Works’ 2013 calendar year budget, which includes a zero rate increase for Des Moines and wholesale water customers.  In some communities served by Des Moines Water Works – such as unincorporated Polk County, Pleasant Hill, Cumming, Alleman and Runnells –  who have more significant infrastructure needs, Des Moines Water Works has increased rates for residential customers by five percent.

The proposed budget includes $50.4 million of operating revenue.  Operating expenses are budgeted at $33.3 million, while capital infrastructure costs are budgeted at $19.4 million.  The Board of Water Works Trustees will hold a public hearing for the proposed 2013 budget on Tuesday, November 27, 2012, at 3:30 p.m.

“The Board’s actions are the result of significant efforts by staff to reduce costs during a period of difficult economic challenges for our customers,” said Bill Stowe, CEO and General Manger, Des Moines Water Works.  “However, a zero rate increase will not likely be repeated as the Board moves toward greater investment in the water utilities’ infrastructure and rate increases more consistent with the challenges of producing and delivering water.”

For a complete listing of Des Moines Water Works’ 2013 water rate structure, visit www.dmww.com.  New water rates will go into effect April 1, 2013, for those customers with rate increases.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Board of Trustees, Customer Service, Customers, Rates August 21, 2012

Board of Water Works Trustees Names William Stowe as New CEO and General Manager of Des Moines Water Works

DES MOINES, Iowa (August 21, 2012) – The Board of Water Works Trustees of Des Moines Water Works has selected Bill Stowe as CEO and General Manager.

“Bill Stowe is a capable leader who is well prepared for the challenges and opportunities facing Water Works, one of Des Moines’ greatest assets,” said Graham Gillette, Board of Water Works Trustees member and co-chair of the search committee.  “Bill Stowe is an innovator who understands the role Water Works plays in ensuring Central Iowa’s future.”

Stowe was one of five finalists interviewed by the Board of Trustees and questioned by employee and community panelists earlier this month. The five finalists were chosen from a large field of candidates. Stowe replaces Randy Beavers who has served Des Moines Water Works for 31 years, the last 5 as its CEO and General Manager.  Beavers will retire September 7, and Stowe will assume his duties on September 24. Des Moines Water Works is a regional water utility serving approximately 500,000 people in the Des Moines metro area.

“The five finalists were all outstanding.  Each would have brought a unique skill set to the job,” said Leslie Gearhart, Board of Water Works Trustees member and co-chair of the search committee.  “We are grateful to the employees and members of the community who helped screen candidates during this process.”

Stowe currently serves as Assistant Manager-Public Works/Engineering for the City of Des Moines, a position he has held since 1999.  Prior to that, Stowe was the Human Resources Director for the City of Des Moines, Operations Manager for MidAmerican Energy, as well as an analyst for Shell Oil, labor relations representative for Inland Steel Industries and a field examiner for the National Labor Relations Board.  Stowe has a B.A. from Grinnell College, a M.S. from the University of Wisconsin, a M.S. from the University of Illinois and a J.D. from Loyola University Law School.

“It’s a privilege to have an opportunity to lead this exceptional utility in service to our community. I welcome the opportunity to join with the employees of Water Works to continue to provide valued water services to our customers throughout the region,” said Stowe.

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About Des Moines Water Works
Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) is a municipal water utility serving the citizens of Des Moines and surrounding communities (approximately 500,000 people). DMWW is an independently operated public utility with a commitment to leading, advocating and investing today and in the future to deliver water you can trust for life.

About the Board of Water Works Trustees
The Board of Water Works Trustees of the City of Des Moines, Iowa, consists of five members, appointed by the Mayor of the City of Des Moines for a term of six years. The Board of Water Works Trustees appoints Des Moines Water Works CEO and General Manager. The functions of the Board of Water Works Trustees can be described as policy making, appraisal, and evaluation.

 

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 1 Comment
Labels: , , , , , , Posted in About Us, Board of Trustees, Employees July 23, 2012

Board of Water Works Trustees Announces Candidates for CEO and General Manager of Des Moines Water Works

DES MOINES, Iowa (July 23, 2012) – The Board of Water Works Trustees of the City of Des Moines, Iowa, announces five candidates for the position of CEO and General Manager of Des Moines Water Works.  The Board of Water Works Trustees selected Colin Baenziger & Associates, a nationwide search for Des Moines Water Works, a regional utility serving approximately 500,000 people in the Des Moines metro area.

“The field of candidates for CEO and General Manager of Des Moines Water Works is impressive,” said Leslie Gearhart, Board of Water Works Trustees member and co-chair of the search committee.  “The Board wanted to conduct a national search for a person with a proven track record as a leader and communicator. By the looks of the finalists we have chosen, we appear to be close to finding just that person.”

“The Board demanded the recruitment of the new CEO and General Manager of Des Moines Water Works be an open and inclusive process,” said Graham Gillette, Board of Water Works Trustees member and co-chair of the search committee. “Naturally, the next stage will include the participation of employees, City of Des Moines leadership, business leaders, individual customers, and large customers throughout the metropolitan area.”

Candidates for the position of CEO and General Manager of Des Moines Water Works are listed alphabetically.

Patrick Ball
Current position:  Utilities Director, City of Cedar Rapids, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Previous experience:  Director, Operations Manager, Operations Specialist and Solids Handling Operator, City of Cedar Rapids Water Pollution Control Department.

William Gilmore
Last position held:  Principal, Project Manager and Group Leader, CDM Smith, Edison, NJ.
Previous experience:  Deputy Director, Department of the Treasury, State of New Jersey. Executive Director, East Windsor Municipal Utilities Authority, East Windsor, NJ.

Kirk Hobbs
Current position:  Vice President-Community Relations and Economic Development Duke Energy (formerly Cinergy, PSI Energy), Plainfield, IN.
Previous experience:  Vice President-Business Relations and Development, Regional Director-Customer and Community Relations and Area Manager-Field Customer Relations, Duke Energy/Cinergy.

William Stowe
Current position:  Assistant Manager-Public Works/Engineering, City of Des Moines, Des Moines, Iowa.
Previous experience:Human Resources Director, City of Des Moines, Des Moines, Iowa. Operations Manager, Manager of Human Resources, Manager of Employee Relations, Manager of Labor Relations, MidAmerican Energy.

Jason Yarborough
Current Position:  Community Manager, Barefoot Bay, FL.
Previous experience:  Utilities Director, City of Palm Bay, Palm Bay, FL. City Manager, Groveland, FL.  Assistant City Manager/City Clerk, Mary Esther, FL.

The Board of Water Works Trustees invites the public to an open house to meet the candidates on Wednesday, August 8, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Des Moines Water Works, 2201 George Flagg Parkway. Each member of the Board of Trustees will individually interview each candidate the morning of Thursday, August 9.  Afternoon sessions consist of candidate interviews by the full board as well as two panels consisting of Des Moines Water Works employees and community representatives. Afternoon interview sessions are open to the public. The Board’s selection will be announced the week of August 13.

Current Des Moines Water Works CEO and General Manager, Randy Beavers, P.E., informed the Board of Trustees on April 1, of his retirement, effective September 7.  Mr. Beavers has been CEO and General Manager since December 2008, and served as Interim CEO & General Manager since December 2007, following the retirement of L. D. McMullen. Mr. Beavers began his career at Des Moines Water Works as Principal Engineer in 1981.

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About Des Moines Water Works

Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) is a municipal water utility serving the citizens of Des Moines and surrounding communities (approximately 500,000 customers). DMWW is an independently operated public utility with a commitment to leading, advocating and investing today and in the future to deliver water you can trust for life.

About the Board of Water Works Trustees

The Board of Water Works Trustees of the City of Des Moines, Iowa, consists of five members, appointed by the Mayor of the City of Des Moines for a term of six years. The Board of Water Works Trustees appoints Des Moines Water Works CEO and General Manager. The functions of the Board of Water Works Trustees can be described as policy making, appraisal, and evaluation.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Board of Trustees March 29, 2012

An Insight into DMWW’s Early History

Thanks to those before us, the early history of Des Moines Water Works was chronicled in several books of typewritten pages up until 1971, which was the centennial year of the founding of the company.  The priceless books of yellowed pages provide a glimpse into significant occurrences in years past. Sources of information for those history books included scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, official records of the Board of Water Works Trustees, and the memories of various individuals.

The following entries may not pertain to the most momentous events, but they were notable.  And as brief as some of the notations are, they tell the whole story.

September 1922:  “An article titled “Des Moines Municipal Pumping Station” appeared in the magazine National Engineer.  The article, illustrated by large pictures of the new steam turbine-driven centrifugal pumping unit, boiler feed pumps, and coal crane and pits, was written by A.T. Luce, engineer and superintendent of the Des Moines Municipal Water Plant.”

November 16, 1922:  “The General Manager was instructed to furnish the Board with an itemized statement of the cost of operation and maintenance for the various automobiles used in connection with the Water Plant.  This report shows that the Water Plant owned 22 trucks and roadsters, purchase dates varying from 1913 to 1922, a Dodge Coupe purchased in 1922, and a Peerless, purchase date not indicated.”

May 15, 1924:  “To discontinue paying wages in cash and to pay by check.”

July 17, 1924:  “Board to discontinue farming operations on water supply grounds.”

December 5, 1929:  “News story in Des Moines Tribune quoting Mr. Denman (DMWW General Manager) as saying that too many people were still getting water by waving the pump handle up and down instead of connecting to the city water mains.”

March 5, 1931:  “Directional sign for aviators to be painted on top of new water tower.” (Hazen tower)

February 8, 1939:  “The General Manager was authorized to purchase three horses to be used on the water supply grounds.”

December 31, 1956: “Year 1956 was Iowa’s driest on record.”

July 8, 1959:  “Water Board sells the locomotive.”  (In 1956, a steam engine was purchased by DMWW to serve as a backup to the boiler. According to “old timers” in Water Production, the locomotive’s boiler was never fired.)

August 25, 1960:  “Water Works laboratory testing 10,000 elms on Water Works property for Dutch elm disease.”

August 14, 1963:  “Four boys turn on 47 fire hydrants in the night.”

July 13, 1965:  “Water Board to be represented at ground breaking ceremonies for Saylorville Dam on July 17.”

January 24, 1966:  “Fleur Drive to be widened.”

February 17, 1970:  “Snowmobiling not approved for Water Works Park or Maffitt Reservoir.”

We hope you have enjoyed this glimpse into Des Moines Water Works’ history. Do you have any early memories of Des Moines Water Works?

Photo of steam locomotive #1678 taken by Richard Ikenberry.

Posted by: Pat Ripley No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in About Us, Board of Trustees, History March 26, 2012

Water Rate Increase Effective April 1, 2012

Last October, Des Moines Water Works Board of Trustees approved water rate increases that will be effective on water bills beginning April 1. Volume charges for water will increase $0.06 per thousand gallons for residential customers in the City of Des Moines. Water charges for a typical four-person household will increase approximately $0.45 per month. On average, a two-person household will see an increase of approximately $0.22 per month.  Water availability charges are not changing.

For more information on your water rates, visit www.dmww.com.   If you have any questions, please contact Des Moines Water Works at 283-8700.

Posted by: Peggy Freese No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Board of Trustees, Customer Service, Customers, Rates February 17, 2012

What’s in a Name?

The Arie Den Boer Arboretum, Dale Maffitt Reservoir, Denman Woods . . . have you ever wondered about the history behind the names?  Namesakes of property and facilities owned by Des Moines Water Works include former general managers, Board of Trustees members, and employees whose strategic visions helped the water utility evolve into the industry leader it is today.

Charles Sing Denman’s 37-year career began in 1896 when the water company was privately owned.  He was the first general manager, appointed in 1919, when the water company became municipally owned.  During his tenure, the water system experienced tremendous growth and many of the facilities in use today were constructed under his direction.  As a testament to his love of nature, the western tract of land that extends along both sides of the Raccoon River in Water Works Park was designated as Denman Woods.  A concrete bench was erected in his memory in 1937 inside the Fleur Drive treatment plant, which was moved to its current location at Water Works Park in the late 1970s when the Charles Sing Denman Memorial Garden was dedicated. 

In 1928, Arie den Boer, a horticulturist, was hired to beautify Water Works’ grounds and create a park, which was opened to the public in 1933.  Mr. den Boer introduced several hundred varieties of crabapple trees and won numerous prestigious awards for his work in horticulture.  The crabapple arboretum was named in Mr. den Boer’s honor when he retired in 1961, after serving as grounds superintendent for 33 years.

The water tower at 48th and Hickman is a memorial to Allen Hazen who designed the tower and unexpectedly died in 1930 before construction was completed.  Mr. Hazen was a prominent New York engineer of international reputation and a pioneer in the area of water treatment.   

Dale L. Maffitt was the general manager when 650 acres southwest of Des Moines were purchased in 1942 to construct a dam and water storage reservoir to be used as an emergency water supply.  The 200-acre impounding reservoir and surrounding area was named for Mr. Maffitt after his death in 1955, following 41 years of employment, 22 of which he led the utility as general manager.  

Henry Nollen and Norman Wilchinski were long-term Board of Trustees members, both of whom served on the first water board of 1919.  Two water storage facilities built in 1955 were named after them.  The Nollen Standpipe is at 26th and Hull and the Wilchinski Standpipe is at SE 9th and Pleasantview Drive. 

The Tenny Standpipe at Merle Hay Mall, which was built in 1959, is a tribute to Morris K. Tenny.  A 44-year employee, Mr. Tenny held the positions of chemist and assistant manager, prior to serving as general manager for 13 years.  He was instrumental in the growth of the Water Works.   

Maurice King’s employment with the Water Works spanned nearly 43 years.  The Maurice A. King Intake and Pumping Station facility on the Des Moines River was named after Mr. King who served as General Manager from 1968-1977.

The L.P. Moon Storage and Pumping Station facility was named in recognition of a former long-term Board member, Louise P. Moon.  Located in Clive, this west side facility was placed on-line in 1996.  Ms. Moon currently serves as Windsor Heights’ representative on the Central Iowa Regional Drinking Water Commission, of which Des Moines Water Works is a member.

In May of 2000, the Water Treatment Plant at Maffitt Reservoir, a 25 million gallon per day facility, began operation using nine radial collector wells for its main water source, but also drawing from Maffitt Reservoir for additional water resources.  In 2007, it was renamed in honor of L.D. McMullen, a 30-year employee who served as general manager from 1985-2007 and was instrumental in construction of the water treatment plant. 

We are proud of these visionaries and their contributions to Des Moines Water Works and the community.

Posted by: Pat Ripley No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Employees, History, Parks November 30, 2011

How is DMWW Operated?

Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) has been a publically owned utility governed by a five-member Board of Trustees since 1919. Members of the Board of Water Works Trustees (Board) are appointed by the Mayor for six-year terms subject to approval by the City Council. The Board of Water Works Trustees appoints Des Moines Water Works CEO and General Manager. Functions of the Board can be described as policy making, appraisal, and evaluation. A majority vote by the Board is necessary to pass any motion or take any action.

The full Board meets monthly, typically the fourth Tuesday of the month. Two Board committees – Planning and Finance and Audit – also meet monthly. All Board and Board committee meetings are open to the public in accordance with Code of Iowa Chapter 21. Public notice and an agenda is posted at least 24 hours prior to commencement of Board meetings, and meeting minutes are subject to the Open Records Law. It is not required by law, but in an effort to be transparent, Board and Board committee meetings are recorded and posted on DMWW’s website. Board meetings can also be viewed on Mediacom Channels 86 or 97.1 the Tuesday after the Board meeting beginning at approximately 4:00 pm and on Thursdays, beginning at approximately 8:30 pm.

Visit http://www.dmww.com/about-us/board-of-trustees/ to learn more about the members of the Board of Water Works Trustees, meeting agendas, supporting documentation, and recordings of meetings.

Posted by: Pat Ripley 1 Comment
Labels: , , , Posted in About Us, Board of Trustees November 9, 2010

What is DMWW Doing to Control Costs?

DMWW sets water rates to adequately fund operation and infrastructure investments to ensure high quality water to our customers.  Even though water consumption has declined, the utility has experienced rising costs.  DMWW pays all of its operating expenses but is not collecting sufficient revenue to pay for the needed infrastructure improvements. Instead of taking on debt to invest in improvements, a water rate increase has been approved to help bring revenues in line with costs.

Costs increased 8% in 2009 due to treatment chemicals, system maintenance labor and materials, lime softening residuals disposal and employee benefits.  Staffing levels vary little in periods of reduced consumption.  Our treatment facilities and distribution system must be maintained regardless of the amount of water consumed. 

DMWW has a constant focus on containing costs.  Recent efforts to reduce costs include:

  • The addition of two treatment plants, one in 2000 and one later this year, resulted in only one staff addition
  • Customer pre-termination calls that have reduced field service collection cuts by 25%, thereby allowing field service staff to focus on other areas like more frequent testing of large meters
  • E-Statements to reduce the cost of billing
  • Automated processing of bills, thereby eliminating a nightly IT operator position
  • A work-from-home program for customer service resulting in handling more calls/account activity per customer representative
  • Coordinated with Polk County on a joint asphalt project that saved us $150,000
  • Reduction of senior management by 20%
  • A 0% salary increase to DMWW management team and professionals in 2010
  • Successful application for over $5 million in FEMA funding for riverbank repairs to protect our treatment plant collector well system
Posted by: Peggy Freese No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Board of Trustees, Infrastructure, Rates October 25, 2010

A Vote for the Creation of a Trust Fund-Not a Vote for a Tax Increase

Written by guest author, Marian Gelb, Executive Director,  Iowa Environmental Council

Iowa voters will have a historic opportunity on November 2, 2010, to vote for Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy constitutional amendment. Protecting Iowa’s water and soil is at the heart of this amendment. Specifically, the amendment will create the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund which will provide a permanent, reliable and accountable revenue source to improve water quality and natural areas in Iowa. Funding will include fish and wildlife habitat and parks, trails, in addition to aiding in conservation of agricultural soils and restoring wetlands to protect against future flooding.

Recent data from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources shows that 53% of Iowa’s water sources rate “poor,” and Iowa currently loses an average of five tons of soil per acre each year due to erosion. Over 500 of Iowa’s waters have been deemed “impaired.” Funding to protect our natural resources remains at near historic lows. As of today, Iowa ranks 47th out of 50 states in funding for conservation, despite the fact that more than 27,000 Iowa jobs are supported by outdoor recreation.  Nobody will dispute the fact that Iowa’s distinct character and our quality of life are directly tied to our state’s natural resources. Iowa’s parks and lakes receive more than 25 million visits each year, and our fertile soil provides the backbone to our economy.   

The stakes for Iowa’s natural resources on November 2 are incredibly high. We must act now. By passing this amendment in November, we can prevent the permanent loss of soil, water and wildlife and retain Iowa’s quality of life and natural beauty so our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren can enjoy the state the same way we do.  The good news is, by cleaning up our water supply and conserving Iowa’s soils, we have the opportunity to actually leave the state to future generations better than we found it.

A vote for Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy Amendment is a vote for the creation of the Trust Fund – not a vote for a tax increase. Revenue for the Trust Fund will come from allocating 3/8ths of one cent from sales tax revenue the next time the Iowa legislature raises the state sales tax. This funding recommendation was based on over three years of research and study conducted by a legislative advisory committee. The advisory committee concluded that those funds, in addition to annual state budget allocations, would meet current needs. Once created, the Trust Fund will be managed responsibly, including open, public competition for funding, mandatory audits and citizen committee oversight. 

The time is now to start investing in Iowa’s natural resources.  We have a proud history of farming, biking along the Heritage Trail, hiking the Loess Hills, fishing on North Bear, and teaching our sons and daughters to appreciate wildlife.  The quality and condition of our natural resources is the responsibility of all Iowans.  Please go to the polls on November 2 and vote YES on Question #1.

For more information on how to get involved: Mark Langgin, campaign manager for Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy, marklanggin@gmail.com; 515-707-0266.  Visit www.IowasWaterAndLandLegacy.org for more information.

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The Board of Water Works Trustees supports the Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund

Posted by: MGelb No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Board of Trustees, Conservation, Environment, Value of Water, Water Quality