FPB named a 2017 Destiny Award winner by KEMI

Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance award recognizes safe workplaces.

FRANKFORT – The Frankfort Plant Board earned the 2017 Destiny Award from Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance (KEMI). KEMI presents this award to policyholders who demonstrate commitment and success in maintaining a safe workplace. FPB Safety Director Kim Phillips made the announcement at the Board of Directors’ November meeting Tuesday night. FPB has won this award six out of the past seven years.

KEMI selected only 14 organizations out of its more than 23,000 workers’ compensation policyholders. According to KEMI, FPB was chosen because of its demonstrated ability to effectively manage a formal safety program, provide on-site training and regular safety meetings for employees. FPB also displays an ongoing commitment to safety from all levels of the organization.

Also at its November meeting, the FPB Board approved a resolution stating that the board has no intention of withdrawing from its contract with the Kentucky Municipal Energy Agency (KyMEA), of which FPB is a founding member. The resolution also states that if for some reason the board finds it necessary to withdraw, it will do so according to the mechanisms within the contract.

Board member Dawn Hale proposed removing language referring to “advising on available exit paths” from a $50,000 contract the board extended to Reed Smith, a law firm the board hired for legal counsel to review the KyMEA contracts. The motion did not pass.

The board also voted on a proposal to require KyMEA to provide a specific date by which it could provide formula information to set rates. That motion also failed.

In addition, the board selected Interim General Manager David Denton as FPB’s primary representative to the KyMEA board. Assistant General Manager Hance Price will continue to serve as the alternate.

As FPB’s former general manager, Herbbie Bannister, retired at the end of October, Board Chair Anna Marie Rosen proposed a committee of members Walt Baldwin and Dawn Hale to begin the process of selecting a new general manager. The committee will define the job description, review search firms and consider employment-listing websites.

In an effort to reduce the cost of customer billing, the board approved a one-time promotional credit of $5 to customers converting from paper to paperless electronic billing. Last year, FPB produced and mailed an average of 31,079 paper bills per month. FPB spent approximately $246,000 on paper, envelopes and postage related to paper billing in fiscal year 2016-2017, which equates to approximately $0.66 per paper bill produced and mailed. 

In other business, the board approved stop loss coverage, plan changes and employee contributions for the 2018 FPB employee health plan. The board also awarded a bid to purchase two outdoor circuit breakers and approved a future budget allocation for board trainings.

The FPB Board of Directors’ next monthly meeting will be Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017 at 5 p.m. at the FPB administration building at 151 Flynn Ave in Frankfort.

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Necessary Cable/Telecom Outages Scheduled for Thursday and Friday mornings

The FPB Cable/Telecom Department reports that it will be necessary to have an emergency scheduled outage Thursday morning, Nov. 16, between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. in the Berry Hill area. All cable/telecom services will be affected by this outage.

It will also be necessary to have a scheduled maintenance window Friday morning, Nov. 17, from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. All cable/telecom services in the Leawood and Deepwood Drive areas will be affected by this outage. 

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. 

Higginbotham retires 23-year career at the Frankfort Plant Board

Frankfort Plant Board Assistant General Manager John Higginbotham retires effective Nov. 1. During his 23-year career at FPB, he has ascended through the ranks, worn many hats and has been a part of many positive changes that have affected the community.

Higginbotham joined FPB in 1994 as a Program Director for Cable 10 Community TV, then a Director from 1995 to 1998. Since then, he has served as Director of Marketing, Community TV & Special Projects, Director of Advertising and Programming, Director of Media Services, Superintendent of Cable/Telecom, and has been in his current position since 2014.

“When John leaves today, he takes with him a vast knowledge of this company and the experience of updating our cable and telecom systems through the technological advances of the past two decades,” said FPB Finance Director David Denton. “Not only has he been a valuable asset to FPB, but he has also contributed greatly to this community. We wish him and Jan the best!”

During his career, Higginbotham helped take Cable 10 from a one-camera Standard Definition set-up to a three-camera full High Definition studio. He initiated the multi-camera “Game of the Week” high school sports productions, initiated the first production trailer and subsequent trailer upgrades to a full HD multi-camera production trailer, and conceived and oversaw the startup of the Cable Advertising Department.

“From the beginning of my career at FPB – and it holds true to this day – my supervisors encouraged me to learn new things, test innovative ideas, think big and take big risks,” Higginbotham said. “My goal has been to instill that same opportunity and trust in the cable-telecom staff, and in my opinion, our subscribers have benefitted from this management style.”

Under Higginbotham’s leadership, FPB launched many new services that are now considered necessities to operate in today’s society including Internet access, digital cable, security systems, local telephone service, HD service, DVR service, and Video On Demand services. He also conceived and helped execute the Digital Terminal Adaptor project so that all customers would have access to digital programming.

In addition to his day-to-day work, Higginbotham also contributed to professional and community service organizations. He was on the Board of Directors of the National Cable Television Cooperative, a member of the American Cable Association and served as chair of the Telecommunications Committee for the Kentucky Municipal Utilities Association. He also served on the boards of the American Red Cross, the Frankfort Area Chamber of Commerce and is a past president of the United Way of Franklin County.

Higginbotham retires as FPB is exploring future upgrades to the cable/telecom infrastructure.

“Our infrastructure is aging as the telecom industry is going through a revolution in access to information,” Higginbotham said. “The board and staff have important decisions to make in the coming 12 to 18 months while being mindful of additional debt to the ratepayers. My experience says there is more than one way to solve a problem, and with the extensive training and experience of the FPB staff, there is no doubt in my mind the right solution to our customers’ needs will be met for years to come.”

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FPB Board appoints David Denton as interim general manager

The Frankfort Plant Board appointed Finance Director David Denton as Interim General Manager effective November 1. Denton will serve in this role until the board appoints a permanent general manager. The vacancy comes as current General Manager Herbbie Bannister is retiring at the end of this month.

Denton joined FPB in June 2012 as Finance Director. He earned his bachelor’s degrees in accounting and finance from Western Kentucky University and has more than 14 years of work experience as a Certified Public Accountant.

“David Denton is uniquely qualified to step in as Interim GM,” said board member John Cubine. “As Finance Director, he is involved with all aspects of the company, has an excellent working relationship with staff, is well respected and has an excellent team to cover his current duties during this interim assignment.” 

The board also welcomed its newest member, Dawn Hale, who was recently appointed by Mayor Bill May to serve a 4-year term. Hale brings leadership experience to the board, having previously served on Frankfort’s City Commission. She also is a former president of the South Frankfort Neighborhood Association and former executive director of the Sunshine Center.

The board kicked off its October meeting Tuesday night with a public hearing to receive comments about a one-time $5 credit for customers converting to paperless, electronic billing. The goal of this promotion is to reduce the cost of customer billing, but will also reduce the amount of paper used for bills and will encourage customers to use features included in the FPB customer portal encouraging more operating efficiencies. There were no public comments. The proposal will be brought to the board in November for a vote.

Every three years FPB must sign Retransmission Consent Agreements for the right to carry local broadcast channels. FPB currently provides access to local stations in both Lexington and Louisville. As these fees have skyrocketed in recent years, FPB is exploring the possibility of keeping that fee increase to a minimum for customers. This would mean not carrying duplicate channels.

Earlier this year, FPB hired The Matrix Group, a market research consulting firm out of Lexington, to conduct a survey to garner customer feedback on broadcast channels. A sample of 554 cable customers completed surveys including 150 telephone interviews and 404 online surveys in late July and August of 2017.

Martha DeReamer, a consultant with Matrix, presented the findings, which showed that only 22 percent of cable customers would prefer to keep all channels and have a larger rate increase. While 60 percent of customers surveyed feel that having access to local stations in both Lexington and Louisville is important, half indicated that they would prefer dropping duplicate channels in order to have a smaller rate increase. Twenty-eight percent of respondents indicated interest in a proposed skinny bundle offering, while 48 percent of those indicated an interest in the option of adding 12 more channels for an additional $10.

The board accepted the results of the survey and asked staff to make recommendations at the December meeting.

Consultants from Crowe Horwath, a public accounting firm, presented FPB’s annual audit report for the year ended June 30, 2017. Consultant Scott Nickerson CPA, reported that FPB has a clean unqualified audit opinion.

John Painter with nFront Consulting gave an update on the evaluation status of proposals related to Combined Cycle Natural Gas generation and renewables for the Kentucky Municipal Energy Agency (KyMEA) power supply portfolio.

The board voted to revise the FPB Ethics Code policy dealing with post-employment restrictions. The new policy states that if any FPB employee or board member who is required to execute a financial disclosure accepts employment with any person or business that contracts with or does business with FPB shall personally refrain from working on any matter in which he or she was directly involved during the last 36 months of his or her tenure with FPB for a period of one year after the employee or director leaves FPB.

In other business, the board approved a Master Service Agreement with Jones/NCTI Inc. for online customer care and technician courses, awarded a contract to Irby for underground faulted circuit indicators, approved a contract with VASS Solutions for AMI consulting services, awarded a contract to Reed Smith for legal counsel regarding FPB participation in KyMEA, and made revisions to the Community Room rental agreement.

Every two years, the board elects new officers. At its October meeting, the board elected Anna Marie Rosen as chair, Walt Baldwin as vice-chair, and Dawn Hale as secretary/treasurer.

The FPB Board of Directors’ next monthly meeting will be Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017 at 5 p.m. at the FPB administration building at 151 Flynn Ave in Frankfort.

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Notice of Water Interruption and Boil Water Advisory

On Wednesday (10/18/17) there will be an interruption of water service from 10 a.m. 3 p.m. in the following areas:

·       713 Fairview Ave. to Schenkel Ln.

·       98 and 99 Aspen Ave.

·       102 to 107 Maple Ave.

·       676 and 670 E. Main St.

·       114 to 124 Schenkel Ln.

Immediately following there will be a Boil Water Advisory.

A vigorous boil for at least two minutes is recommended. This Boil Water Advisory is a precautionary measure due to a loss of pressure in the water main caused by Plant Board crews installing three new main line valves.

This Advisory will remain in effect until lab analysis of water samples taken confirms that the potable water supply in the affected area is safe to drink. You will receive a notice when the advisory is lifted.

If you have any questions concerning the Boil Water Advisory, please call 352-4372.

FPB Joins Third Annual Imagine a Day Without Water Campaign

Effort to raise awareness about the value of water and water infrastructure

As the Frankfort Plant Board is in the midst of replacing its 130-year-old water reservoir, it is joining hundreds of organizations across the country to observe Imagine a Day Without Water, a nationwide day of education and advocacy about the value of water. Led by the Value of Water Campaign, the campaign aims to raise awareness about the crucial need for investment in our nation’s water infrastructure to ensure that no American community is left without safe and reliable water.

“Investment in our drinking water system is essential to our national health, safety and economic prosperity, said David Billings, FPB Chief Water Engineer. “Here in Frankfort, it is our priority to make needed investments to maintain a high-quality system that is safe and affordable for our community.”

“We're thrilled that the Frankfort Plant Board is a part of Imagine a Day Without Water. This national day of action educates our neighbors and public officials about the essential role water plays in all of our lives, and the threat that aging and underfunded water infrastructure poses to our communities and economy” said Radhika Fox, CEO of the US Water Alliance and Director of the Value of Water Campaign. “It is easy to take our water infrastructure for granted because it is often underground and out of sight. But, the systems that deliver water to and from our homes and businesses require reinvestment and upkeep just like roads and bridges. It is time to take action.”

The nation’s water infrastructure is aging and in need of investment, having gone underfunded for decades. Drought, flooding, and climate change are stressing our water and wastewater systems. A single nationwide day without water service would put $43.5 billion of economic activity at risk. In just eight days, a national water service stoppage would put nearly 2 million jobs in jeopardy.  

While many of these challenges are regionally-specific and will require locally-driven solutions, reinvestment in our water must be a national priority. Imagine a Day Without Water tells the stories of the challenges we face when our water infrastructure fails, but also of the innovative solutions being implemented in communities nationwide.

“In Frankfort, we joined Imagine a Day Without Water because we recognize the value of water and the upkeep of its infrastructure,” Billings said. “We are in the process of replacing our water reservoir that is more than 130 years old. If the current reservoir ever failed, this community would be in crisis.”

Despite the vast challenges facing American water infrastructure, the good news is that there is great opportunity in investment. A study conducted by the Value of Water Campaign has found that there is over $220 billion in economic activity to be gained nationwide by closing the water infrastructure investment gap. The American public is already widely supportive of implementing these needed investments. Above any other pressing political issue, Americans name rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure as the issue they most want our elected officials to address.

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The Value of Water Campaign educates and inspires the nation about how water is essential, invaluable, and in need of investment. Spearheaded by top leaders in the water industry, the Value of Water Campaign is building public and political will for investment in America's water infrastructure.

National Media Contact

Abigail Gardner |Value of Water Campaign Communications Director| agardner@thevalueofwater.org

o. 412 421 0809 | c. 412 977 3051

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FPB launches the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA

FPB today launched the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA on FPB Preferred Cable channel 144. 

 

This channel presents year-round coverage of Olympic sports from around the world, featuring U.S. athletes and teams. Programming includes live events from a broad portfolio of summer and winter Olympic sports, original series documentaries and rich, archival content.  

 

This week, the channel presents "Gymnastics Gold Week" with 30 hours of coverage from eight Olympic Games and 2017 world championship action. This special programming beginning Oct. 2 will feature U.S. Medalists ranging from Shannon Miller, Kerri Strug and "The Magnificent Seven" to Nastia Liukin, Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles.  

 

This addition to FPB's channel lineup is the result of an agreement change with NBC Universal which also removes Chiller (channel 121) from FPB's cable offerings. 

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Boil Water Advisory Cancelled

The Division of Water of the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection has now canceled the Boil Water Advisory issued yesterday in South Frankfort.

This Advisory was issued 9/26/17 due to the loss of pressure in the water main caused by Plant Board crews repairing a water main break.

The streets affected were:

·       Logan St. from 4th St. to 2nd St.

·       3rd St. from Capital Ave. to Murray St.

If you should have any questions or problems with normal service or water quality please call 352-4372.

Notice of Water Interruption and Boil Water Advisory - Logan and Third Streets

The Water Department of the Frankfort Plant Board has interrupted water service in the following area due to a water main break:.

·       Logan St from 4th St to 2nd St

·       3rd St from Capital Ave to Murray St

Once repaired, FPB advises customers in those areas to boil the water before drinking or using it for cooking. 

A vigorous boil for at least two minutes is recommended. This Boil Water Advisory is a precautionary measure due to a loss of pressure in the water main caused by Plant Board crews repairing a water main break.

This Advisory will remain in effect until lab analysis of water samples taken confirms that the potable water supply in the effected area is safe to drink. You will receive a notice when this advisory is lifted.

If you have any questions concerning the Boil Water Advisory please call 352-4372.

FPB Board approves cable/telecom upgrades

Board member Dr. Scott Green serves at his final meeting.

FRANKFORT – Frankfort Plant Board customers will soon see improvement in signal quality of cable TV, broadband and telephone. At its September meeting, the board approved upgrades to replace aging equipment in the cable/telecom infrastructure. In addition, the board accepted the final plans for the headend/reservoir property at Tanglewood.

The board approved the purchase of Hybrid Fiber-Coaxial (HFC) infrastructure improvements for amplifiers and line extenders. The nearly $1.6 million project was included in the Fiscal Year 2018 budget. Staff has planned and budgeted to replace the equipment since 2015. Consultants agreed and recommended at the August 2017 board meeting that these improvements be made immediately.

Many of the existing components were placed in service between 1999 and 2003 with a design life expectancy of 10 years. The initial manufacturer of equipment has gone out of business and spare parts are non-existent. The old equipment can no longer provide reliable service to FPB’s 17,500 cable TV, broadband and telephone customers.

The replacement amps and line extenders have a higher signal capability making the quality better to the cable TV, broadband and telephone subscriber. The replacement equipment will operate at 1 GHz while the existing equipment operates at 750 MHz.  This additional 250 MHz of spectrum allows FPB to utilize the spectrum to provide more Internet capacity and faster Internet speeds to the customer. This upgrade provides FPB with more time to develop plans for a fiber-to-the-home design.

The board approved the final construction documents and specifications for the fencing, landscaping and parking lot demolition at the headend/reservoir property. The Board approved the schedule for this project in July 2017.  GRW presented the plan at last month’s meeting. Staff then met with members of the Tanglewood Neighborhood Association to incorporate their comments and suggestions into the final design. FPB will now submit the plan for consideration to the Frankfort/Franklin County Planning Commission.

In an effort to reduce the cost of customer billing, the board voted to schedule a public hearing to discuss a one-time promotional credit of $5 to customers converting from paper to paperless electronic billing. Last year, FPB produced and mailed an average of 31,079 paper bills per month. FPB spent approximately $246,000 on paper, envelopes and postage related to paper billing in fiscal year 2016-2017, which equates to approximately $0.66 per paper bill produced and mailed. 

The public hearing will be held on Oct. 17 to coincide with the board’s next monthly meeting.

The board accepted a follow-up report submitted by Energy + Environmental Economics, Inc. (E3), a California consultant hired to analyze the economic and contractual risks and benefits of FPB’s participation in the Kentucky Municipal Energy Agency (KyMEA). The report lays out strategy alternatives for moving forward to procure power.

In 2015, FPB voted that it would no longer purchase power from Kentucky Utilities (KU) once the contract expires in 2019. In an effort to obtain a more economical, flexible and environmentally responsible power supply, the board then approved an agreement to join KyMEA, which includes nine other Kentucky municipal utilities.

After reviewing KyMEA materials, the E3 consultants voiced concern with the contract and offered three options for FPB: remain in KyMEA and pursue changes to the interlocal agreement and the all requirements contract; withdraw from KyMEA and pursue its own power procurement program; or remain in KYMEA and not pursue changes.

The board voted not to obtain legal counsel regarding the KyMEA review until a work plan is in place.

After a review of references and much discussion, the board re-considered a contract with Corix Utility Services for meter reading services. The board voted to reverse last month’s decision to pursue that contract and requested staff to explore the possibility of hiring locally on a temporary basis.

The FPB Water Department had several items on the agenda for board action. The board approved documentation needed to secure a grant for a waterline project in Millville, executed an agreement with the Bluegrass Area Development District to administer that grant, authorized FPB to apply for a Kentucky Infrastructure loan for the reservoir replacement project, and approved amendments to a contract with Strand Associates for additional services necessary for that project.

In other business, the board awarded a number of bids to purchase needed electrical equipment including a transformer, circuit breakers, switches and an online transformer filtration system; appointed student representative Madeline Crescitelli, a junior at Frankfort High School, to the Cable Advisory Committee, and approved a renewal of the PAC12 network. This NCTC agreement has a term through June 30, 2024.  FPB currently carries PAC12 on channel 794 on the optional Sports Plus tier.

Dr. Scott Green ended his seven-year service to FPB as his term on the Board of Directors ends Sept. 23, 2017. Mayor Gippy Graham appointed Green in 2010 for a three-year term to fulfill a vacated seat. Green was then reappointed by Mayor Bill May in 2013. He served as vice-chair, acting chair and secretary/treasurer during his tenure.

Green takes pride in the many projects FPB accomplished to improve service to the community while on the board. These include constructing a chlorine treatment facility and a backup generator at the Water Treatment Plant; constructing a new headend and administration building; and terminating FPB’s contract with Kentucky Utilities to join KyMEA in order to pursue more affordable power procurement for customers.

Mayor Bill May is expected to appoint a new member to the FPB Board of Directors this month.

The FPB Board of Directors’ next monthly meeting will be Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017 at 5 p.m. at the FPB administration building at 151 Flynn Ave in Frankfort.

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Update: Glenns Creek Road will be closed Sept. 20-21

FRANKFORT – The Glenns Creek road closure originally slated for Sept. 13 and 14 has been rescheduled for Sept. 20 and 21. FPB will replace 2 transmission poles, and the road will be closed to traffic between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day. There will be turnaround areas at Harrod Stone in Franklin County and Glenns Creek Distilling near the Woodford County line.

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FPB crew headed to Florida to assist in post-Irma power restoration

The Frankfort Plant Board is sending three trucks and a crew to Clewiston, Florida as the area braces for Hurricane Irma. Locals anticipate that the hurricane winds will wipe out power infrastructure in some areas. FPB crews will be on the scene Monday afternoon to start the process of restoring service.

 

The Florida Municipal Utilities Association reached out earlier this week to the Kentucky Municipal Utilities Association requesting assistance. FPB answered the call and was assigned to the City of Clewiston, which has a population of approximately 7,600.

 

The crew loaded two bucket trucks, a digger derrick truck and a pickup truck with food, water and as many materials as they could haul. They left Frankfort Sunday morning to caravan with another Kentucky crews from the City of Berea. The group plans to hunker down Sunday night in northern Florida to ride out the storm and arrive in Clewiston Monday afternoon, once local assessments have been made.

 

“There wasn’t any hesitation or question about whether we could do it,”said Cathy Lindsey, FPB’s public information coordinator. “We just knew it was the right thing to do. In fact, all of our guys wanted to go. In the face of such potential devastation, this is what we can do to help.”

 

While there are so many unknowns until the storm passes through, the crew plans to be in Florida anywhere from seven to 15 days.

 

Stay tuned to FPB’s social media sites to stay up to date on the crew’s work in Florida.