Tom Parker retiring this month as RMU operation manager

Rolla Municipal Utilities Operation Manager Tom Parker will retire officially Feb. 16.

"This is Tom Parker's last meeting," RMU General Manager Rodney Bourne announced to the Board of Public Works at the utilities' governing board's January business meeting last week.

Parker, who has been sitting with the audience at the last several meetings while his designated successor, Chad Davis, has been making the monthly operations report from the managers' table, spoke to the board briefly about his tenure.

He noted that he began working for Rolla Municipal Utilities 34 years ago, so he has known many previous board members, managers and staff members. He recgnized the contributiosn of all of those individuals including many "that are no longer with us."

Parker said he has seen much growth in the value of the utilities' assets, but he stressed the worth of RMU is much more than that.

"Our most valuable asset is right here," he said, gesturing to the managers and directors, and by extension to all the workers out on the mains and lines. "It's our people."

Bourne told the board that "Tom has been a great asset, and I appreciate everything he's done."

All the board members thanked Parker for his 34 years of service to Rolla Municipal Utilities.

In other business, discussion and reports:

*Rolla Municipal Utilities recorded a net loss of $314,875.68 for the first three months of the fiscal year.

"For the first quarter, we're running fairly flat from where we were last year," RMU Business/Finance Manager Dennis Roberts told the Board of Public Works, the utilities' governing board, at the January business meeting.

The fiscal year began Oct. 1, and Roberts reported on the December income and expenses, as well as the year-to-date figures.

In December, the utilities showed a loss of $19,167.

Total operating income from all power sales was $2,522,327.81. Total operating expenses were $2,589,918.40, with purchased power being $,958,215.07.

That gave an operating loss of $67,590.59.

Non-operating income of $48,423.59 brought the tota net loss of $19,167.

The December 2015 loss was $140,089.98.

For the first three months of the fiscal year, total pearting income is $6,985,375.36 and total opearing expeses are $7,421,137.46 for a total operating loss of $435,762.10. Non-operating income for the quarter amounts to $120,886.42, bringing the total net loss for the first quarter to $314,875.68.

Last year, the loss for the first three months was $229,767.68.

*Staff Engineer Vicky Cason made her annual report on net metering. In 2016, Rolla Municipal Utilities had three customer-generator facilities that combined had an estimated generating capacity of 35.28 kilowatts. For the year, RMU received an estimated net 949 kilowatt-hours from those three facilities.

*Cason also reported on website statistics for 2016. She said there were 740,961 hits, an average of 61,747 hits per month to www.rollamunicipalutilities.org. That was up 382 percent from 2015.

Top viewed pages were payment options, 550 hits per month; rates and fees, 375 hits per month; contact us, 284 hits per month, customer service, 207 hits per month, and electric service rates and depositis, 140 hits per month.

Water conservation page received 912 total hits, 76 per month, up from 802 in 2015.

Energy conservation page was 1,265 (105 hits per month), down from 1,450 in 2015.

Facebook "likes" went from 1,450 on Jan.1, 2016, to 1,899 on Jan. 20, 2017. The recent ice storm gave an approximate 6 percent increase.

*Davis, designated operation manager, reported that extension of electric service to the new Kingdom Kia/Byrider facility on North U.S. 63 was completed Jan. 20.

The transformer and new service was completed Dec. 19 to the MFA Breaktime that is under construction.

Water main replacement with 8-inch PVC on Oak Street from 12th to 14th streets was completed Jan. 4.

A pump control valve was replaced Dec. 22 at Lanning Pump Station.

Much other work is ongoing.

* The board approved a total bid of $114,873 from Scheppers International Truck for a new service truck. With the $24,000 trade-in, the total price will be $90,873.

* The board also approved a $56,263.01 bid from Vision Metering for electric meters. This was the low bid, as was the truck bid.