1. Call to Order.
Directors Comstock, Godino, Siedman and Smith present; director Amoroso absent. Director Siedman presiding.
3. Manager’s Report.
-- Update on the Terrace Avenue Bluff Stabilization Project.
Staff reported that a local fundraising committee has been meeting frequently to develop a strategy to meet the County’s July 1st deadline for the community to raise $500,000 to pay for the replacement of the road-level retaining walls at Surfer’s Overlook this Fall. This project is necessary to preserve the usable life of the road by 10-15 years; without the project, the road could fail within three years or less. The committee also is organizing another town meeting with Supervisor Kinsey to explain why the project will benefit the entire town and bolster the fundraising effort; this meeting tentatively is scheduled for May 9, 2015 at the Firehouse.
Director Amoroso arrived at 7:37 p.m.
-- Update on the BCPUD Chlorine Disinfection Byproduct Reduction Project.
Lewie Likover reported that the rehabilitation of the clarifier located next to the Woodrat Water Treatment Plant (“WRTP”) is complete, so the district now is diverting its backwash water into the clarifier prior to pumping it up to the reservoir. This improves plant operations as well as water quality in the reservoir, which is important for reducing the source of chlorine disinfection byproducts. Staff is conducting tests to determine if this process is reducing the levels of phosophorus or whether a chemical treatment will be necessary to do so. As for the operational upgrades at the WRTP itself, the plant now has multiple shut-down alarms (i.e., for high rainfall, high chlorine, high turbidity, etc.), a new chlorine analyzer, a new finished water turbimeter, a new chlorine pump and a new flow meter. Staff conducted tests today to determine if the existing plant filters can pump directly to the water tanks (the results are not yet conclusive); staff has researched possible automatic strainer baskets for the plant and will solicit bids from vendors. A technician visited the WRTP earlier in the day to evaluate potential automation of some of the operational equipment, which will save labor and upgrade overall plant operations (and make it easier to diagnose problems remotely via an on-line program). Staff currently is preparing for a coagulation pilot test, which will need approval from state regulators. In response to a question from director Amoroso, Lewie explained that the coagulation will occur prior to filtration; special plumbing has been installed at the WRTP and the plan is for the coagulant to be injected, for detention time to occur in the new plumbing, and then for the filtration to occur. Staff will analyze the water to determine whether the coagulation process sufficiently enhances water quality; all water used for the pilot project will be diverted to waste per state requirements.
-- BCPUD’s Capital Improvement Plan; BCPUD’s Financial Reserve Policy.
Staff continues to work with the Finance Committee on the development of the district’s Five-Year Capital Improvement Plan and and the next meeting of the Finance Committee is scheduled for March 24, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. If finalized then, the Board can approve the plan at a special meeting next week. The Financial Reserve Policy is in final draft; staff requests that the Board approve it tonight.
On the water side of operations, staff reported that consumption was down again for the quarter ending in February (for the customers on the back of the Mesa), but this was not the lowest in recent years. Total rain fall for the 2014-2015 rain year is 32.1 thus far (last rain year, the district received a total of 27.4 inches of rain). Staff is working on a newsletter on the “Status of the Bolinas Water Supply” to send out to customers with the next round of bills. Briefly stated, the district is in about the same position it was last year in terms of supply; importantly, however, the distribution of rainfall has been very different this year, with nearly all of the rain received in December. The prior year, the district received almost no rain until February (12.4 inches), March (4.3 inches) and April (4.3 inches). So last year was the story of late rains, whereas this year (thus far) is the story of early rains. Overall, the town needs to keep up its great work on conservation and it is critical that outdoor water use does not start to rise.
Staff recently completed a water main relocation project necessited by bluff erosion at the end of Rosewood. The six-inch A/C water main was abandoned on Rosewood, a new service was run to a home at the end of the road off the main on Mistle, and shut-off valves were installed on Mistle and Rosewood. This project was necessary to ensure the reliability of water supply in the area. In addition, the drainage culvert running under Rosewood was replaced as part of this project.
Staff reported that the State Water Resources Control Board (“SWRCB”) has approved the district’s updated Emergency Notification Plan and Bacteriological Sampling Plan. The SWRCB has assigned a new engineer, Waldon Wong, to the district; he replaces Zach Rounds, who has been the district’s engineer for many years. Staff is now working on the district’s 2014 Annual Report (which is due April 24th) and the district’s 2014 Consumer Confidence Report (which is due on or before June 30th).
Staff noted that several Notices of Noncompliance with Expanded Water Use Permits were sent out to customers for the quarters ending November, December and January. The district was delayed in sending out these notices due to the implementation of the new billing system, so staff has provided these customers additional time to comply with the terms of their permits.
As for the wastewater side of operations, staff continues to evaluate options for the installation of new pumps to replace the pumps that failed in early February at the Wharf Road lift station. Flows into the collection system currently are quite low due to the dry weather and on-going water conservation; the districts is averaging about 15,000 gallons per day.
The Board reviewed correspondence sent and received since the last regular meeting, including a Public Records Act request from Matt Lewis, and a notice of public hearing at the County of Marin concerning a proposed building project at 555 Dogwood Road.
-- Drainage Project Manager’s Report.
The Board received a written report from Drainage Project Manager Lewie Likover.
4. Community Expression.
5. Request for Financial Relief from Quarterly Water Bill pursuant to BCPUD Resolution 553 – 295 Grove Road (J. Molyneux).
Judy Molyneax submitted a letter explaining a leak that was discovered and repaired on her property; Dale Polissar explained that a blackberry bush root had grown into the water line at a connection point and the root system essentially broke apart the water line. He said they were unable to locate the leak due to the rainy weather saturating their property. Director Smith noted that the leak appears to have started in the previous quarter and the bill was quite high; indeed, water use averaged 600 gallons per day at the property. He asked why they did not investigate for a leak at that time and suggested it would have been observable given the dry weather conditions at that time. Dale said he did not know and did not recall receiving the higher bill. Director Smith suggested that the Board forgive only the amount of water lost due to the leak during the most recent quarter (i.e., the quarter ending in January 2015) as reasonable diligence should have enabled the discovery of the leak during the prior quarter.
D. Smith/L. Comstock all in favor to grant relief for the quarter ending January 2015 only and reduce the bill by the amount of water attributable to the leak, using the historical average water use at the property during the same quarter for the prior three years.
6. Tax Assessment Proposed by Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District.
Director Amoroso explained that he requested this item on the meeting agenda; he said that he feels the district should not cast a vote on this assessment because it is a tax-exempt entity, but that in light of the district’s constructive working relationship with the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District (“M&VCD”), it should pass on public comment, if any, on the proposed assessment.
Eleanor Lyman said that she has read Frank Egger’s statements about the proposed asssessement and, while she personally does not object to M&VCD employees receiving their pension benefits, there is information under discussion that makes her wonder about the need for the assessment, or at least wonder whether the M&VCD has done all it can to reduce its expenses. She noted that the public hearing is taking place on the same day that the voting closes, which makes it difficult to decide what to do. Director Amoroso commented that voters also are obligated to identify themselves by name and sign their ballot, which may discourage some from submitting a ballot. He further suggested that if the M&VCD were to implement the non-toxic protocol throughout its jurisidiction, that might reduce its expenses considerably. Director Godino said that homeowners planning to submit a ballot may wish to include a statement of their opinion on the non-toxic protocol with their completed ballot; Eleanor Lyman concurred.
Director Smith said that he received a questionnaire from the M&VCD several months ago, but he was put off by it as it did not seek input from residents about the district’s services and how it might improve; rather, it seemed designed to prepare people for a tax assessment increase. He said there may be ways for the M&VCD to work more closely with local agenices and thereby operate more efficiently. Staff was asked to convey the comments made to the M&VCD via a letter to manager Phil Smith.
7. Proposed Signage for the Entrances to Brighton Beach (County of Marin).
Director Siedman stated that the County of Marin’s Stormwater Pollution Prevention department is proposing to install signs at the entrances to Brighton Beach as follows:
Help protect this beach
and the ocean:
Do not litter
Pick up after your pet
Prevent water pollution
Keep paint and paint chips out of the water*
*Spraypaint on seawalls degrades and flakes off over time negatively impacting the marine environment.
Eleanor Lyman said that a couple of months ago she was knocked over and injured by a dog running off-leash on Brighton Beach and asked whether something could be added to the sign to require people to contain their dogs. Bruce Bowser said that the former Beach Committee evaluated this issue and concluded that pets must be under voice control. Matt Lewis noted that a County ordinance currently provides that if a dog is not under voice command/control, it must be on a leash.
Elia Haworth said that the paint chips flaking off the seawalls and onto the beach/into the water have concerned her for a long time. She said she is glad someone is addressing it and that the County is aware of it. Elia noted that when she walks at the beach and people are spraypainting on the walls, the fumes are very strong. Director Amoroso said that he would rather have the sign read: ‘Do Not Use Toxic Paint on the Beach” and commented that the proposed wording seems too cumbersome.
Director Smith said the proposed signage does not make clear what a person can and cannot do at the beach. He also questioned which agency has jurisdiction and who will enforce the prohibitions articulated on the sign. He recalled that a chemist who attended a prior Board meeting on this topic made it clear that it is very expensive and timeconsuming to determine the toxicity of the paint chips.
Judy Molyneux said that all pigment paints are toxic at one level or another. As for the sign, she thinks it should be much more strongly worded; it should cite the Penal Code provision and clearly state that spraypainting is illegal on public beaches. Remick Hart said when he initially made a presentation on this issue at a Board meeting last year, director Amoroso correctly asked: how do we know this product is toxic? Remick said the spraypaint cans expressly state that the paint it toxic and he knows this is true when he smells it because it makes him nauseous. He recently walked the beach with Rob Carson from the County’s Stormwater Pollution Prevention department and explained the situation and community concerns. As they walked, they found a large paint chip by the groin; this demonstrates that paint is coming off the walls, going into the ocean water and on to the clam patch. Remick said that Rob worked with management at the County and created a proposed sign for the beach entrance; the original version expressly cited the Penal Code provision, but that version was revised and the revised one is the one before the Board right now.
Arline Mathieu said that she does not want pollution at the beach, but there is a culture around this topic in the community and she would not feel good about penalizing graffiti art. Director Comstock said that there are lots of laws on the books that people don’t follow; if people really want the spraypainting at the beach to stop, more needs to be done than posting signs that say it’s illegal to do so (the spraypainters already know this). In this case, it may help to explain why the spraypainting is objectionable: it isn’t the art form, it’s the fact that people are spraypainting on a seawall next to a protected marine environment. He said that pointing out the impact of spraypainting on the protected marine environment likely is the best way to persuade people to stop and he would like to see such a reference on the sign. Director Godino agreed that the less said about the penal code the better in this community; “this is about hearts and minds”.
Syd Bass said she walks her dog on Brighton Beach at least twice a week (and has done so for more than 8 years) and she has tried talking to the spraypainters about where the paint goes (into the water, etc.), but they just turn around and keep painting. Her impression is that they do not care about the impact of their actions. She said the penal code provision needs to be included on the sign so that the deputy sheriff can enforce it.
Pam Dake said she appreciates the discussion and agrees that this is an opportunity for education; she offered some specific verbage for the sign and noted that in her experience, when she talks with young people who are spraypainting at the beach, they stop painting and say they are sorry. Dale Polissar agreed with Pam’s suggested revisions to the signage and said that when he talks with spraypainters at the beach, they say “we thought it was legal here” or “we thought Bolinas likes it”. Dale said the town has a reputation as a place where you can spraypaint and we need to let people know there is a strong faction in town that does not condone spraypainting on the seawalls. He said most people would be horrified if someone started spraypainting the granite walls in Yosemite; the walls at this protected location should be treated just as protectively.
Eleanor Lyman said she attended the first meeting at the BCPUD on this topic and most people in attendance at the time were in favor of the graffiti, whereas the people here tonight are not. She said it is clearly a big subject that is very divisive. She noted that it is very challenging when so many people come to the beach and she does not want to see policemen on the beach to deal with this; she is very concerned about the young people getting in trouble. Eleanor said she has lived next to Smiley’s Saloon for 42 years and has never called the police because she does not want to get the young people in trouble. The fact that spraypainting is illegal is what makes it exciting for the young people; she suggested that if one simply walks far enough down the beach to sit down, it is quite easy to be far away from where the spraypainting occurs.
Matt Lewis suggested that the signs include the words “please “ and “thank you”, and ask that vistors leave the beach in better shape than they found it. He thinks such an approach will be more effective than citing the Penal Code. He referenced his attempts to discourage parking in specific areas on July 4th and the signs asking politely for cooperative behavior were much more effective.
Director Amoroso noted that the BCPUD has no jurisdiction over this topic and the walls themselves are owned by private parties; he further observed that Bolinas has a rather notorious history with signs. If signs are going to be posted, he said they should be as non-threatening as possible, or the signs likely will simply disappear. Bruce Bowser said that Bolinas is suffering from its own popularity and it will only get worse over time. He lives at the beach and there is a lot more spraypainting going on than there used to be; he, too, has found dozens of paint chips on the beach. “If we don’t let people know it isn’t welcome, it will only get worse.” Bruce suggested that the County consult with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area or National Park Service to find out how they deal with graffiti at their facilities.
Remick Hart assured Eleanor that no one wants to arrest the young people involved in the spraypainting; rather, they want the young people to change their behavior based on an understanding of how the spraypaint pollutes the environment. Arline Mathews suggested that there may be more effective ways to communicate with the young people than via signage at the beach entrances; for example, perhaps the Surf Shop can be enlisted to help and/or post information on its website.
Director Siedman said this was a good discussion with lots of ideas expressed, but he is not sure there is consensus about what the County’s sign should say. Discussion ensued with support expressed for the language Pam Dake proposed earlier. Pam read from her notes: “Please help protect this beach and ocean sanctuary. Control your pet. Prevent water pollution. Do not use spraypaint; it is toxic and this is a protected marine environment.” She also included a citation to the Penal Code provision. The Board directed staff to send a letter to Rob Carson expressing the comments expressed and Pam’s suggested language.
8. Local Agency Formation Commission of Marin County (“LAFCO”) Countywide Water Municipal Service Review: BCPUD Comments on Revised Draft of Agency Profile.
Staff presented the district’s comments on the more recent revised draft agency profile prepared by the LAFCO about the BCPUD as part of its municipal service review.
D. Smith/L. Comstock all in favor to approve the BCPUD comments on the revised draft agency profile prepared by LAFCO as part of its municipal service review.
Matt Lewis said that he read through the document but did not see any mention of the irrigation well at the Resource Recovery Center as one of the BCPUD’s water sources. Director Smith assured him that the district included information about the irrigation well and the district’s water supply study in its comments on the revised draft of the agency profile.
9. Update on Proposed Sale of College of Marin Properties in Bolinas.
Director Siedman said there has been a lot of discussion in town about the ownership and use of the boat dock, as well as the potential use of the lab buildings for affordable senior housing; he does not think there is community interest at this point in trying to acquire the private home currently under long-term lease to a local resident. The College of Marin will give priority to potential acquirers who will use the facilities for park and/or affordable housing purposes. As such, perhaps the BCPUD could take title to the dock, and maybe also the lab buildings, but then delegate responsibility for the lab buildings to the Bolinas Community Land Trust (“BCLT”). Given the amount of clean-up effort that will be necessary to rehabilitate the lab buildings, the fair market value of the property may be negative. He noted there are many seniors in town on fixed incomes who need housing. As for the dock, it is the only public access to the lagoon in town.
Arline Mathiey said that there is considerable enthusiasm in town about the idea of the lab building as a site for a new library. While she agrees there is a need for affordable senior housing, Bolinas also has a very high per capita use of its library. She said she would love for the idea of a new library to be on the table for discussion.
Director Amoroso reported that he spoke briefly with Steve Kinsey about this topic recently and Steve said the County is very interested in participating in any acquisition of the dock that might be under consideration. Director Smith expressed concern about the prospect of BCPUD taking on the lab building given the potential clean-up cost. Director Amoroso concurred, noting that a group of local fishermen recently met with representatives from the College of Marin who said the clean up cost is estimated at $3.5 million. Director Godino noted that the BCLT has a lot of very good, smart people and if they endorse the concept of acquiring the lab building for affordable housing for seniors, that is important.
Director Siedman asked if the Board agrees he should continue to meet with local people to work on options for acquiring the property and there was no objection. Director Comstock said that he very much appreciates director Siedman’s efforts and agrees that the BCPUD is an obvious forum for the conversation; however, it is not ultimately within the district’s core mission of water, sewer and related services. Director Siedman said he was glad to hear that Steve Kinsey is supportive of a County role in the boat dock; he said he would report further at upcoming meetings.
10. Fiscal Year 2015-2016 Memorandum of Understanding re Compensation and Benefits between the BCPUD Board of Directors and BCPUD Employees.
Staff reported that the terms and conditions of the fiscal year 2015-16 MOU are largely the same as the existing MOU, but includes a 3% cost-of-living increase in the hourly wages paid to BCPUD employees.
L. Comstock/G. Godino all in favor to approve the fiscal year 2015-16 Memorandum of Understanding re Compensation and Benefits between the BCPUD Board of Directors and BCPUD Employees.
11. Update on Cross-Connection Control Survey.
Staff reported that the district has received responses from 72% of its customers to the district’s cross-connection control survey and staff is evaluating the responses in order to formulate recommendations as to next steps for the Board’s consideration.
12. Water Supply Update: Cost Proposal to Install Monitoring Wells.
Director Smith said that he has given a lot of thought about the best next steps for the district with regard to its water supply study. He spoke with the district’s consulting hydrogeologist, Rob Gailey, at some length recently, which deepened his appreciation for the complexities involved. A significant issue for the Board to consider is how much money it is worth spending to better understand the hydrology of its irrigation well and the surrounding territory given the likely limited supply of water in the aquifer.
Director Smith noted that Rob prepared cost information for the Board’s consideration about the proposed installation of monitoring wells near the existing well (two shallow and two deep) along with three shallow wells closer to the beach entrances; these sets of wells would enable the district to monitor the potential for seawater intrusion, as well as to evaluate the recharge of the well from the groundwater basin surrounding the well. Director Smith directed the Board’s attention to diagrams he has prepared to depict the hydrologic concepts and discussion ensued among the Board members about the depth of the potential monitoring wells, the location of those wells, the purpose of the wells, the potential cost of their installation and the value of the information likely to be developed. Director Smith noted that the Board has agreed to hold a special meeting next week to receive a presentation from Rob Gailey, so his goal tonight is to help orient the Board and prompt some consideration of the district’s next steps.
Director Comstock thanked director Smith for his presentation, particularly since he likely cannot attend the special meeting with Rob Gailey next week due to family commitments. He agreed that the hydrology involved is exceedingly complex and very expensive to study; he said that it will be important for the district to proceed carefully in order to responsibly manage this resource and its financial resources. Director Siedman concurred, especially since one of the district’s goals is to understand whether the irrigation well has the potential to serve as a supplemental drinking water source.
Director Smith said he asked Rob about the possibilty of using seismic refraction technology and Rob said it could be used to figure out the bedrock topography near the well at a likely cost of about $15,000. Director Smith said that it seems that the district would need to invest at least $100,000 to obtain a complete picure of the hydrogeology at issue; as such, perhaps there are additional, smaller-scale steps the district can take now to enhance it’s understanding. Diector Amoroso suggested that there may be grant money available to study the well given the current drought conditions in the state.
13. Volunteer Committee Reports.
-- Bolinas Lagoon Advisory Committee: Director Amoroso reported that two meetings of the committee have been scheduled and then subsequently cancelled; he said there might be a meeting in April.
-- Downtown Parking & Traffic Committee: Nothing to report.
-- Resource Recovery: Nothing to report.
-- West Marin Mosquito Control Coordinating Council: Nothing to report.
-- Land Stewardship Committee: Recommendation to Approve M. Murch Proposed Use of Water Tank for Rain Catchment. Director Siedman reported that the committee met and discussed Mickey Murch’s request to relocate a water tank on to “Parcel B”, which is the parcel next to the steep path down to Resource Recovery. Mickey proposed to partially bury the tank to render it less visible and use it to catch rainwater; a small solar-powered pump will be used to direct the water to a gravity-fed irrigation system. No diverson of any surface water will occur; the tank is solely for rainwater catchment. Director Siedman said the committee voted 8 – 1 (Jody Angel voting no) to approve Mickey’s proposed use of the water tank; this approval applies to this tank only and the proposed installation of any additional tanks would need to be presented first to the committee for consideration.
V. Amoroso/G. Godino all in favor to approve Mickey Murch’s proposed use of a water tank for rain catchment on Parcel B.
13. Other Business.
a. Board Committee Reports.
-- Finance: Minutes of the February 10, 2015 Finance Committee meeting; Minutes of the March 3, 2015 Finance Committee Meeting; Minutes of the March 10, 2015 Finance Committee Meeting.
L. Comstock/V. Amoroso all in favor to approve the minutes of the February 10, 2015, March 3, 2015 and March 10, 2015 meetings of the Finance Committee.
-- Legal: Nothing to report.
-- Mesa Septic, Flood Control and Roads: Nothing to report.
-- Operations: Director Smith reported that one of the invertors at the Woodrat Water Treatment Plant burnt out a couple of weeks ago and the district is waiting for a cost estimate to fix it vs. purchase a replacement invertor.
-- Park and Recreation: Staff reported that the newly renovated soccer and baseball fields at Mesa Park were opened on March 15, 2015. The Notice of Completion was recorded with the County of Marin and the project close-out and final submittal for cost reimbursements are underway.
-- Personnel: Nothing further to report.
-- Sewer: Nothing to report.
b. Minutes of the February 18, 2015 regular meeting.
Directors Amoroso, Comstock and Godino offered clarifying revisions to the minutes of the February 18, 2015 regular meeting.
L. Comstock/D. Smith all in favor to approve the minutes of the February 18, 2015 regular meeting, as corrected.
L. Comstock/D. Smith all in favor to approve the warrant list.
d. Scheduling of Next Meeting(s):
Special Meeting of the BCPUD Board: March 25th at 7:30 p.m.
Regular Meeting of the BCPUD Board: April 22nd at 7:30 p.m.