Public Utility District
Meeting Of The Board Of Directors
February 18, 2009 270 Elm Road, Bolinas
1. Call to Order
Directors Amoroso, Kimball, Siedman and Smith present;
director McClellan absent. Director Siedman presiding.
3. Manager’s Report.
Staff reported that the district this week received a
request from the Marin County Energy Team to write a letter of support for
the Renewable Energy Secure Communities (“RESCO”) program grant proposal
to the California Energy Commission and recommended that the Board approve
the addition of an urgent agenda item to take this action because letters
of support must be submitted by no later than next week.
D. Smith/B. Kimball all in favor to add
the Marin County Energy Team request for a letter of support as an urgency
item to the agenda as item 14.
The district’s water supply status is considerably improved
as a result of the February rains to date. Staff noted that the most
recent consumption statistics, however, reveal the significant spike in consumption
the district experienced in January (which was warm and dry), before the
mandatory rationing requirements went into effect. Thus far,
the district has received about 17 inches of rain for the season; while this
is far below the district’s average 33 inches of annual average, it
is much better than the 8 inches of accumulation the district had received
when the Board passed the rationing resolution on January 28th. As
for the reservoirs: Woodrat #1 is now full due to the significant runoff
in the weekend storms (more than 6 inches fell over the most recent
weekend) and Woodrat #2 is filling.
The community has responded extremely well to the mandatory
water rationing requirements; district operations staff have been out
in the community providing education and outreach and “going the extra mile”
to ensure that our customers understand and comply with the daily ration
amount. Customers throughout the district are reading their own meters
and numerous leaks on customer properties have been discovered and repaired.
In addition, many people appear to have purchased water catchment tanks and/or
installed new low flow appliances. Customers are sharing water
conservation tips and all of these efforts likely will be to the long-term
benefit of the district’s water system. There has been extraordinary
media interest in the district’s decision to impose mandatory rationing --
initially, the local papers and Marin IJ reported the news and Channel
7 did a TV segment; when the San Francisco Chronicle ran a lead story
on the front page, broader media interest was triggered, including calls
from Nightline (CBS), FoxNews and a newspaper paper from London (Guardian).
As for water system operations, two of the district’s
pressure reducing valves were inspected and repaired in the last two weeks.
The valve controlling the raw water flow into the plant appears to be oversized,
which explains the periodic difficulties staff experience at the plant with
this valve. The valve has been taken apart and its valve seat replaced,
the strainer on its filter changed out and controls installed so that staff
can regulate the speed at which the valve opens and closes. This valve
was designed to receive flows as high as 800 gallons per minute, whereas
the district operates at 160 gallons per minute or so, and sometimes as low
as 30-40 gallons per minute; as such, the valve for years has been
forced to throttle down to the lower end of its operational spectrum.
In addition, work was completed today on the pressure reducing valve in the
vault on Olema-Bolinas road, which regulates the pressure to downtown and
to Gospel Flats. Staff reported that the district’s remaining
three pressure reducing valves will be inspected and adjusted or repaired
as necessary during the following week.
Staff noted that the County is planning to proceed with the installation
of a bike path on the east side of Olema-Bolinas Road to the school this
summer. The district therefore needs to identify work that should be
done in the area in advance of the bike path project. Staff has asked
its engineers to prepare an estimate for the work necessary to rehabilitate
the vault in the Olema-Bolinas/Mesa Road intersection, which will be presented
at the next meeting. District staff repaired two significant
leaks on service saddles in the past two weeks: one on Olema-Bolinas
Road and another on Brighton Avenue; shoring protection previously purchased
by the district proved to be very helpful to overcome wet and unstable excavation
On the wastewater side of operations, staff reported that
all is well; despite the recent rains, Pond 3 is still six feet below
The Board reviewed correspondence sent and received since
the last regular meeting, including a request from the Association of California
Water Agencies (“ACWA”) for the district to purchase four issues of a magazine
ACWA is publishing in collaboration with National Geographic entitled, “Water
For Tomorrow”, which is intended to inform Californians about the state’s
water supply and encourage conservation. The cost to the district for
participating would be at least $1,400 plus mailing costs. The Board
requested staff to check with neighboring districts as to whether there is
any interest in jointly participating and sharing costs.
The district’s insurance authority, ACWA/JPIA , recently
issued its most current RPA Stabilization report and the district received
a premium refund of $9,654.99. The Board also reviewed a letter from
ACWA/JPIA regarding its January 9th site visit and requested staff to make
arrangements for the district to participate in Prevention Link’s web-based
Staff noted that the district has receive a bill for the
well recently drilled on behalf of Mesa Park at the Resource Recovery Project
site and asked if the district should proceed to pay it and then bill Mesa
Park for the balance; the Board concurred. Director Siedman requested
staff to submit samples from the well to its outside lab for testing and
analysis. Finally, the Board reviewed a proposal from Bob Dill and
an estimate from Pacific Ridge Construction for a new gate to replace the
Brighton Avenue Beach entrance gate. Director Smith expressed concerns
about the design, as did director Amoroso. The Board ultimately appointed
directors Smith and Amoroso to work with staff to refine a design and then
informally solicit bids from interested contractors for the installation
of a replacement gate
-- Update on the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) Accessibility of
the BCPUD Building.
Staff reported that the district’s next step on this project
is to finalize bid drawings and then put the construction project out to
-- Update on the BCPUD’s Application for Proposition 84 Grant Funds
(in partnership with the County of Marin and the National Park Service)
for Projects to Enhance the Duxbury Reef Area of Special Biological Significance(“ASBS”)
Official approval by the State Water Resources Control
Board of the district’s Proposition 84 grant application was issued on February
3, 2009. Next steps include working with the County and National Park
Service to prepare a grant agreement, address technical reviewer comments
on the grant proposal and prepare related documentation. Unfortunately,
all funds remain subject to the on-going bond freeze, so it is uncertain
as to when this project will proceed..
-- Drainage Project Manager’s Report
Drainage Project Manager Lewie Likover noted that due
to operations staff’s focus on water rationing enforcement and leak repair,
there was no drainage work to report this month.
Director Smith gave a brief update on the status of the
Tomales Bay Watershed Council; he said the most recent Council meeting was
“very gloomy” because not only is all of its grant money frozen, but the
Council is owed $110,000 in state funds that have not been paid for work
already done. Council members are trying to find a way to keep the
organization going, which involves primarily paying salaries to the Council’s
coordinator and scientist. Marin Municipal Water District has offered
to donate lab help, but the Council desperately needs to raise money.
Director Smith said all Council members will soon receive a letter requesting
specific financial assistance; he noted that the district has benefited
directly from its membership in the Council and urged that the district agree
to provide financial help.
4. Community Expression.
Director Siedman noted that there is a letter in the Board
binders complaining about the ditch around the district’s sewer ponds at
the Overlook and Alder pathway; the complaint is that it is difficult to
access the pond pathway because of the ditch. Staff said that
the ditch is an integral part of the design of the sewer ponds; however,
it is possible to install a culvert at this location to improve pedestrian
access. Director Siedman noted a second complaint about the drainage
ditch in front of 10 and 14 Park Avenue; staff was directed to inform
the complainant that the County is responsible for this drainage ditch.
Sandra del Valle requested that the district provide the
community with periodic updates about the status of the water supply and
she said she was very upset about the district’s “threat” to discontinue
water service to customers exceeding the ration amount, which she described
as “an extreme, fascist mandate” that should not be done without a town meeting.
Finally, she requested more information about how to conserve water.
Cela O’Connor requested clarification from the Board as
to the role of the Bolinas Planning Group. She noted that it was established
to update the Bolinas Community Plan, but now seems to be charged with an
advisory role to the BCPUD regarding the Local Coastal Plan update.
She asked for a formal declaration from the Board as to the role of the Bolinas
Planning Group. The Board agreed to address this request during the
Committee Reports agenda item. Cela also noted the agenda item to consider
endorsing Steve Kinsey for the Coastal Commission; she submitted a letter
in opposition to this endorsement which she requested the Board consider
during that agenda item.
Director Smith noted that Mary Barror requested Tom D’Onofrio
last month to pray for rain and that Tom evidently went to the Dragon’s Head
site and conducted a prayer ceremony; Director Smith noted that the
rains began the following week and he thanked Tom for his efforts.
5. Request for Financial Relief from Quarterly Water Bill
due to Unintentional Water Loss (pursuant to BCPUD Resolution 553) – 30 Brighton
Avenue (St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church).
Director Siedman said there is a letter to the Board from
the Reverend of St. Aidan’s church requesting financial relief from the quarterly
water bill; the church received a bill for more than $250 (the normal
bill is less than $5) and consequently discovered an underground leak that
was promptly repaired. Director Smith noted this was a blind leak, the customer
repaired it immediately and this customer is a charitable institution with
low budget – he proposed reducing the customer’s bill by the amount due to
V. Amoroso/B. Kimball all in favor to
reduce the customer’s bill by the amount it exceeds the historical three-year
average bill for this customer during the same quarter.
6. Approve BCPUD Request to Redwood Disposal Company for
Seasonal Garbage Dumpster on behalf of the Bolinas Community Center for Downtown
and Beach Clean-up.
Staff explained that Redwood Disposal Company is willing
to provide a free, locked dumpster on a seasonal basis for the Bolinas Community
Center to use for downtown and beach clean-up purposes, but has asked that
the request issue from the BCPUD as the franchise holder.
B. Kimball/D. Smith all in favor to request
Redwood Disposal Company to provide a free, locked dumpster from May through
October at Mesa Park for use by the Bolinas Community Center for downtown
and beach clean-up purposes.
7. Request to Lease Land behind the BCPUD Building at 270
Elm Road for a Community Garden.
Director Siedman noted that the Board has received a request
to lease the space behind the BCPUD office building for purposes of a community
garden, but no one was present to speak on behalf of the project. After
some discussion, staff was directed to contact the applicants and ask them
to prepare a site plan, describe their rain catchment proposal, and attend
the next Board meeting to answer questions about the proposed project, including
questions about erosion control and native habitat removal/preservation.
8. Ordinance 37: Declaring a Prolonged Drought Condition
in the Bolinas Community Public Utility District and Implementing Mandatory
Conservation Measures Pursuant to a Previously Established Water Shortage
Director Siedman stated that many in the community either
have inquired about or expressed an interest in forming a committee to investigate
other water sources for the district, particularly in light of the prolonged
local drought. Staff indicated that this is an on-going responsibility
of the district and the district regularly pursues funding opportunities
to enhance its raw water storage supply, among other things. As for
the present drought, water supply conditions have changed appreciably since
the January 28th mandatory rationing was put in place. In response
to an inquiry from director Kimball, staff reported that less than two percent
of the district’s customers were not in compliance with the rationing requirement,
and most of those customers had submitted requests for exemptions.
In light of the on-going rainfall and improvement to the district’s water
supply, staff has deferred enforcement efforts and focused staff resources
on operational priorities. Director Smith referred to an earlier
comment during Community Expression about the heavy-handed nature of the
district’s approach to the mandatory rationing; he noted that this
was necessary only after years of regular request for voluntary conservation
and the implementation of a tiered water rate that rewards water conservation.
He said he hoped it would not be necessary to discontinue water service.
Director Siedman observed that the ordinance provides that a first time violator
will receive a written warning; a second violation will result in another
written warning and a $100 fine; a third violation results in yet another
written warning, a $200 fine and the possibility of the district installing
a flow-restricting device on the water service line; and a fourth violation
results in a $500 fine and discontinuation of water service.
Director Kimball pointed out that the district’s process
of enforcing expanded water use permit violations has been very successful.
The district has a notification process for such violations and customers
have been very willing to work with the district to reduce their consumption
and abide by the terms of their expanded water use permits. She noted
that the district prefers to work with customers to achieve compliance, but
the district ultimately has a responsibility to employ enforcement mechanisms,
as difficult as they may be.
After further discussion about the ordinance, director
Siedman suggested that the Board defer enactment of Ordinance 37 at this
time given that the district’s water supply conditions are improving and
given further that customer compliance with the existing resolution requiring
mandatory conservation is nearly unanimous.
9. Use of Asphalt/Concrete Grindings on Roads within the
Bolinas Community Public Utility District.
Director Siedman announced that the Board has received
a letter from its environmental consultant, Peter Russell, concerning the
laboratory test results on the samples of asphalt-concrete grindings taken
from the pile currently stored as Mesa Park. Director Siedman read
from sections of the letter, in which Mr. Russell opines that the material
is as environmentally benign as the asphalt from which it is derived and
unlikely to result in any environmental degradation. Director Siedman
stated that in light of this letter, he believes it is now appropriate to
make the material available to the public for use for road resurfacing projects.
Director Amoroso concurred and moved that the BCPUD allow the use of this
material on the public rights-of-way provided that residents first come to
the BCPUD for the appropriate permit. Director Amoroso said the pile
also should remain properly tarped and protected during the rainy season.
Burr Heneman inquired whether residents outside the district can use the
material; the Board said yes and that no permit from the BCPUD is needed
for projects outside the district.
V. Amoroso/ B. Kimball all in favor to
allow the use of the asphalt-concrete grindings currently stored at Mesa
Park for road improvement projects within the district, subject to the appropriate
BCPUD permit requirements.
10. Approve BCPUD Letter of Endorsement for the Appointment
of Supervisor Steve Kinsey to the California Coastal Commission.
David Kimball said that he requested this agenda
item as a private citizen, not in his capacity as the chair of the Bolinas
Planning Group. David stated that while he and others may not agree
with every position Supervisor Kinsey has taken on issues over the years,
he believes it would benefit Bolinas to have someone like Supervisor Kinsey,
who knows this stretch of coastline extremely well, to serve on the Coastal
Commission Director Amoroso agreed; he said that while Supervisor
Kinsey does have a reputation for supporting development projects, he has
been very protective of the Coastal Zone and helpful to Bolinas. Burr
Heneman stated that he wrote a letter of support for Supervisor Kinsey’s
appointment to the Coastal Commission on behalf of Commonweal. Director
Kimball said that Supervisor Kinsey was instrumental in facilitating the
process of achieving a non-toxic protocol for mosquito abatement; he upheld
the Bolinas Community Plan to stop development on the Bolinas bluffs; and
he has taken a leadership role in protecting the Bolinas Lagoon. She
also feels he has supported affordable housing in Bolinas and believes it
is critical for Supervisor Kinsey to stay engaged in the efforts to preserve
Terrace Avenue at Surfer’s Overlook. Director Siedman said he has found
Supervisor Kinsey to be very responsive to community concerns, especially
in comparison to his predecessor; he said he supports the endorsement.
V. Amoroso/D. Smith all in favor to submit
a letter of endorsement for the appointment of Supervisor Steve Kinsey to
the California Coastal Commission.
11. Letter to Steve Kinsey re: BCPUD Participation in Planning
and Financing of Engineered Solution for Terrace Avenue.
Director Smith reported that he and staff had a telephone
conference with Supervisor Kinsey last week about the letter concerning Terrace
Avenue at Surfer’s Overlook that the BCPUD and Bolinas Fire Protection District
(”BFPD”) sent to the supervisor on December 10, 2008. Supervisor Kinsey
said that County DPW staff has estimated the costs of engineering and permitting
for a project to preserve Terrace Avenue at this location likely will be
at least $50,000. Supervisor Kinsey proposed that the County and the
two districts share these costs on a 50-50 basis – the County will pay $25,000
and the two districts will contribute $25,000. Director Smith said
it appears that some form of cost-sharing in this manner is the only way
that a project will get done, even though Terrace Avenue is the County’s
responsibility. Although the BFPD’s funds are quite limited,
director Smith is hopeful the BFPD Board will be persuaded to participate.
Given the imminent threat posed to the BCPUD’s water and sewer lines, director
Smith said it is well within the district’s purview to participate and hopefully
will be a good investment.
Supervisor Kinsey said that the next step is for the two
districts to send a letter to the County making an express commitment to
contribute $25,000 toward the engineering and permitting of a project to
preserve Terrace Avenue. Director Smith said that if the BCPUD Board
approves a financial commitment tonight, he will appeal to the BFPD Board
at its meeting next Monday evening to join the BCPUD in this commitment.
Thereafter, the next step will be to form a working group of representatives
from both districts and County DPW to begin the process of selecting an engineer
and developing a solution for Terrace Avenue.
Discussion ensued about the substance of the requested
letter to Supervisor Kinsey. David Kimball, a member of the Board of
Directors of the BFPD was present and said that the BFPD does not see itself
in business of maintaining roads. Although this is clearly an egress
and emergency access issue, the BFPD is on a lean budget and the Board likely
will be concerned about setting precedent. Director Smith said that
the emergency access issue is one of the strongest arguments in favor of
saving Terrace Avenue and that the BFPD’s participation (even if financially
relatively nominal) will add tremendous clout to the project. After
further discussion, Ken Masterton suggested that BCPUD contribute up to $20,000
and request the BFPD to contribute at least $5,000; he said it will
be difficult for the BFPD to say no to spending a relatively small amount
of money to be part of the solution for Terrace Avenue.
V. Amoroso/B. Kimball all in favor that
the district contribute up to $20,000 for the planning, engineering and permitting
of an engineered solution to preserve Terrace Avenue at Surfer’s Overlook,
but that a letter to that effect not be sent to Supervisor Kinsey until the
BFPD meets next Monday.
12. Approve BCPUD Comments on Draft Statewide Septic Regulations
Staff presented an overview of the comments prepared by
directors McClellan and Smith and staff on the proposed statewide septic
regulations. Overall, the regulations are an unfortunately misguided
attempt to impose a “one size fits all” approach to septic regulation that
does not account for differences in soil or other site conditions; nor do
the regulations implement the Legislature’s intent that financial assistance
be provided to homeowners who inevitably will incur significant costs to
upgrade their systems if the regulations are enacted. Director Smith
said that director McClellan also feels the letter should distinguish between
the public health benefits sought to be accomplished by these regulations
vs. broader public benefits such as environmental quality. Director
McClellan feels the state should have to prove that existing septic systems
somehow are responsible for environmental degradation before it can impose
environmental clean-up responsibility on owners of septic systems.
B. Kimball/D. Smith all in favor to approve
the BCPUD comment letter with the addition of a sentence to convey director
McClellan’s additional point questioning whether the regulations impose responsibilities
on septic system owners beyond that which can reasonably be imposed by the
13. Election for LAFCO Special District Member.
Director Kimball requested to defer this item until the
March meeting in order to provide the Board members with sufficient time
to research the candidates. There was no objection.
14. Urgency item:
Staff explained that the Marin County Energy Team has
requested a letter of support from the BCPUD for the Marin RESCO application,
a summary description of which is in the Board binders. This
item was added as an urgency item because the RESCO grant application is
due next week and the Board did not have sufficient prior notice of the application
to include a letter of approval on the regular meeting agenda.
B. Kimball/D. Smith all in favor to send
the requested letter of support for the Marin RESCO grant application.
14. Volunteer Committee Reports
-- Alternative Energy: Discuss Acceptance of Solar Projects and Final
Payment to SPG Solar, Inc. Director Smith said that work remains to
be done to complete the solar projects and he therefore requested to defer
this item until the March meeting. There was no objection.
-- Bolinas Community Plan Review Committee: Director Siedman said the
Board needs to decide the exact role of this committee relative to the update
of the Local Coastal Plan (“LCP”) and specifically whether the committee
is authorized to act on behalf of the BCPUD Board when attending public meetings
and workshops hosted by the County. David Kimball, chair of the committee,
acknowledged that it is not possible for the committee to represent the entirety
of the community, but it would be remiss for the BCPUD not to have a means
by which to provide input on the LCP update process. He said the committee
seems to be the best way to do it given the timing of the update process,
which is moving extremely quickly and often requires a two-week turnaround.
Director Siedman said he thinks the committee is doing a good job at gathering
input and conveying it to the County. Discussion ensued as to whether
the committee can and should speak on behalf of the BCPUD to the County on
the LCP update process, even where it is not possible to present and obtain
approval for its input beforehand at a regularly scheduled BCPUD meeting.
D. Smith/B. Kimball
all in favor authorizing the committee to act on behalf
of the BCPUD on LCP update matters, subject to the requirement that all committee
decisions are require a majority vote of committee members present at a duly
noticed meeting of the committee and subject further to the committee keeping
the BCPUD Board informed as to its activities.
Discussion then ensued about a possibly broader role for
the committee to incubate other projects such as victory garden projects,
water catchment planning and so forth. Jennie Pfeiffer said a rumor
has been circulating that a member of the committee has taken it upon him
or herself to report illegal structures to the County; David Kimball said
the committee explicitly decided against the concept of serving as a design
review committee and any individual acting as Jennie suggests would not be
acting on behalf of the committee.
At the conclusion of the discussion, the Board reiterated
that the committee is authorized to speak on behalf of the BCPUD on LCP update
matters only (subject to the conditions of the motion just approved) due
to the need to respond quickly during the update process and is required
in all other instances to come to the Board for approval for position statements
-- Bolinas Lagoon Technical Advisory Committee: Nothing to report.
-- Community Paths Group: Nothing to report.
-- Downtown Parking and Traffic: Director Amoroso requested that the
committee be taken off the agenda as a regular reporting item.
-- Resource Recovery: Director Siedman reported that the Resource
Recovery Project is in the process of installing a water storage tank for
water obtained via the new well and Mesa Park is working with PG&E to
secure electricity at the site to power the well pump.
-- Terrace Avenue/Alternative Access Road Committee: Nothing further to report.
-- West Nile Virus Task Force/West Marin Mosquito Control Coordinating Council:
Nothing to report.
15. Other Business
a. Board Committee Reports
-- Finance: Approve FY 2009-2010 Budget Schedule; Accept FY 2007-2008
B. Kimball/V. Amoroso
all in favor to approve the 2009-2010 budget schedule and
accept the 2007-08 audit report.
-- Legal: Nothing to report
-- Mesa Septic, Flood Control and Roads: Nothing to report
-- Operations: Nothing to report.
-- Park and Recreation: Director Siedman reported that the Design
Review Committee held a very successful meeting at the Bolinas Community
Center that was attended by approximately 75-80 people, the majority of which
were completely supportive of the proposed design. Alethea Patton has
agreed to serve as the downtown park project manager and will meet with the
County to determine permit requirements and so forth. Director Amoroso
commented that the water catchment design likely needs engineering. Director
Siedman agreed and said George Gonzales also had questions about it,
A full review of the catchment design will be done and the concept may prove
to be prohibitively expensive; the fundamental concept is to collect
water that drains from the Little Mesa and collect it in underground cisterns.
Director Siedman further reported that he met with the
County about the Mesa Park parcel tax because on the December tax bills the
County for some reason assessed only 25 parcels; the County will correct
this error but required Mesa Park to include a statement acknowledging the
error as Mesa Park’s, rather than the County. Director Siedman says that
Mesa Park has elected to “fall on its sword” on this rather than fight the
County and delay its receipt of the tax funds.
-- Personnel: Staff reported that a timely request to negotiate the
Memorandum of Understanding between the Board and employees has been submitted
and requested a Personnel Committee meeting to review the request.
Directors Kimball and Siedman asked staff to circulate proposed meeting dates.
-- Sewer: Director Amoroso said it is time to do more eucalyptus
containment work at the sewer pond property and funds should be appropriated
for this work in the upcoming budget process. Director Smith agreed.
b. Minutes of the January 21, 2009 Regular Meeting; Minutes of the January
28, 2009 Special Meeting.
Director Kimball offered a correction to the January 21,
2009 regular meeting minutes.
D. Smith/B. Kimball three in favor,
director Amoroso abstaining to approve
the January 21, 2009 regular meeting minutes, as corrected.
B. Kimball/D. Smith three in favor, director Amoroso abstaining
to approve the January 28, 2009 special meeting minutes.
D. Smith/B. Kimball all in favor to approve
the warrant list.
d. Scheduling of Next Meeting(s)
March 18, 2009 at 7:30 p.m.