by Katie Orlando

Mooresville- and Davidson-owned MI-Connection expects to complete its transition to local operations on schedule in February, CEO David Auger told the company’s board Dec. 15.

MI-Connection’s operations have been contracted to Virginia-based Bristol Virginia Utilities. MI-Connection brought Auger in as transition manager in March to bring company control to the area, saving money on the contract, bringing more services in-house and allowing the company to hire locally.

MI-Connection took over accounting and purchasing Dec. 6 and will close out December accounts in January.

“January will be challenging,” Auger said.

A part time independent contractor will handle accounts payable.

Payroll and benefits transitioned to MI-Connection Dec. 1, and Mooresville began processing payroll, effective this pay cycle.

Employees voted unanimously last week to adopt the N.C. local government employee retirement system.

Board chair John Venzon is hoping that the transition does not take away any employee benefits.

“We wanted this to be neutral to better, from an employee standpoint, and I know we worked hard to do that, so thank you,” Venzon said.

With the transition steps completed so far, Auger said MI-Connection’s December payment to Bristol Virginia Utilities is already significantly lower. MI-Connection has paid Bristol Virginia Utilities $1.5 million a year in management fees. The transition will reduce that to around $300,000 annually.

The transition has also given MI-Connection complete control of all vendor relationships that they didn’t have before. Auger said General Manager Alan Hall is scrutinizing every established relationship and looking at alternatives to get the best service for the best price.

Auger is also working on transitioning MI-Connection’s bank accounts to Bank of America and BB&T.

Three new employees are completing training to bring the Network Operating Center to Mooresville, Auger said. These engineers will work with customers, monitor the system and work on engineering projects. The Network Operations Center will be self-sufficient Jan. 15, a huge step in the transition process, Auger said.

MI-Connection is on track to meet its last transition date in February, Auger said.