1. Call to Order.
Directors Amoroso, Comstock, Godino, Siedman and Smith present; director Siedman presiding.
3. Manager’s Report.
-- Update on the Terrace Avenue Bluff Stabilization Project.
A meeting has been set for March 31st at 9:30 a.m. at the Civic Center to discuss the Surfer’s Overlook Bluff Stabization project. The attendees will be director Siedman and staff for the BCPUD, David Kimball and Anita Tyrrell-Brown for the Bolinas Fire Protection District, Supervisor Kinsey and representatives from the County’s Planning and Public Works departments on behalf of the County, as well as Larry Kennings of LAK Associates. As reported last month, Larry is the planner identified by the Working Group to lead the permitting effort if we are able to secure the financing to pursue this project. The Working Group met on March 11th to strategize for the March 31st meeting and an agenda of the topics covered at that meeting is in the Board binders. Staff noted that the the cost of the various consultants and reports needed to obtain a coastal permit to install a bluff stabilization project is likely to be about $200,000; construction management costs would be approximately $100,000 and design costs are estimated at $200,000. In addition to a coastal permit, permits from the Army Corps of Engineers, Regional Water Quality Control Board, NOAA/Gulf of the Farallones, California Department of Fish & Wildlife likely would be required. In 2011, the construction cost for the full bluff stabilization project was estimated to be $3 - 4 million. These costs and permits, as well as an approach to private stakeholders for financing, will be discussed at the March 31st meeting.
-- Update on the Wastewater Treatment Plant Pump Station and Electrical Upgrade Project.
Staff is not prepared to make a recommendation on this project at this time. There is general agreement within the staff that rather than upgrade to a unified control panel with marine-grade stainless steel panels (due to cost constraints), the district should simply replace the existing panels and install flow meters separately. Staff is pricing the cost of flow meters and is close to a decision; staff has consulted with American Solar about the possibility of using small solar panels to power the meters. Finally, staff may install the replacement irrigation relief line pipe in-house.
-- Update on Removal of Obstructions in Zebra Right-of-Way.
The County planner handling the property owner’s application to legalize accessory structures contacted the district for any comments on the application; a hearing has been set at the County to consider the legalization request on March 27th. Staff advised the County planner of the district’s efforts to have the property owner and/or his tenants remove the materials in the public right-of-way and the planner stated that the County will require that all unpermitted structures be removed as a part of the legalization process, whether located on the property or in the public right-of-way.
-- Update on Shared Personnel Between BCPUD and Bolinas Fire Protection District.
Nothing to report.
-- Billing Software Technology Proposal (to replace the District’s billing software program).
Staff presented a proposal submitted by the district’s IT consultant, Kris Backenstose, who has provided excellent technology services to the district in recent years. Staff requested that he evaluate the district’s current billing software program and recommend a replacement. Kris’ proposal details the obsolete nature of the existing FoxPro system, presents his analysis of five other utility billing software options, and concludes by recommending that the district purchase Intedata’s SoftWater Utility Billing Software at a cost of $1700, plus $540/year in support costs. Staff noted that Intedata is the only vendor capable of providing software that can track expanded water use permit violations. After a brief discussion, the Board asked staff to confirm that data stored in the utility software can be exported to Excel.
L. Comstock/D. Smith all in favor to approve the acquisition of the Intedata SoftWater Utility Billing software.
-- Update on BCPUD’s Five-Year Capital Improvement Plan.
Staff presented a draft “Prioritization Worksheet”, which is a distillation of the assets previously identified on the Asset Inventory spreadsheet that are in need of replacement or rehabilitation (the majority of the district’s assets are in good condition and not included on the prioritization worksheet). Staff has ranked each of these assets in order of priority for replacement or rehabilitation (on a 1 – 4 basis, with “1” being the most immediately in need of attention). Most of the assets identified as priorty 1 have been budgeted for replacement or rehabilitation in either this year’s budget or the draft budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year, and the others are in the planning stages. This worksheet will be finalized and used to guide the district’s capital planning and reserve practices over the next 5 – 10 years.
Staff directed the Board’s attention to the water consumption statistics for the quarter ending in February 2014, noting that consumption was up on the Back of the Mesa as compared to the same time last year. This quarter includes the months of December and January, which were completely dry and customer consumption started to rise alarmingly, leading to the imposition of the Heightened Voluntary Conservation Alert on January 17th. Staff noted that despite the rains in February, rainfall is less than half of normal (just under 14 inches at the yard and just under 20 inches at Woodrat Water Treatment Plant). Accordingly, as will be discussed in more detail under item 10 on the agenda, staff is recommending that the Alert remain in effect and that the district send a reminder mailing to all customers to remind them of the importance of conservation and to reiterate the district’s request for a 25% reduction in consumption and no landscape irrigation.
The Board reviewed a Drought Survey request from the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) and the district’s response, which anticipates lowered water tables and reduced productions of all sources, as well as the possibility of implementing mandatory conservation/rationing as soon as the summer of 2014. Staff reported that the district is following the CDPH’s guidance with respect to determining its water system source capacity and, as the CDPH recommends, implementing conservation measures now to avoid or minimize problems this summer and fall.
Staff noted that the district’s annual report to the CDPH is due at the end of April and a draft version of the report will be presented for the Board’s review at the next regular meeting. Staff presented a “White Paper” that describes the planned reorganization of the state’s Drinking Water Program – currently under the CDPH – into the State Water Resources Control Board. In brief, the state is consolidating all water quality regulation from the source through distribution under State Water Resources Control Board. The White Paper makes clear that the state wants to preserve all that CDPH does well (and plans to keep field staff in place to preserve collaborative working relationships with local agencies) and leverage the existing State Water Resources Control Board structure to improve where CDPH is not as strong.
The Local Agency Formation Commission (“LAFCO”) has issued an update on its Countywide Water Service Study and set an ambitious schedule to complete this study by October 2014. The study process likely will involve additional requests for information to the affected water districts and a possible LAFCO staff presentation at a future BCPUD Board meeting.
The Board reviewed the most recent analysis of the district’s irrigation well and staff presented a brief update on the district’s efforts to identify a solution for its chlorine disinfection byproduct exceedances. A draft report by Lewie Likover and the district’s outside consultant is anticipated for the April meeting and Lewie also will present a written report on the membrane technology conference he attended last week in Las Vegas, which was very informative and worthwhile.
Staff is scheduling an inspection and cleaning of the district’s treated water storage tanks on Mesa Road for the first week of April. The repair of the “booster pump line” from the tanks to the customers west of the Woodrat Water Treatment Plant was completed last week and the diversion piping from the Arroyo Hondo to Woodrat #2 was replumbed as a part of that project. The Board reviewed letters sent by the district to customers in violation of their expanded water use permits as well as follow-up letters to customers concerning their requests for financial relief from their quarterly water bills due to water losses caused by leaks at their proeprties.
Staff reported that a customer unhappy with the district’s removal of a eucalyptus tree in the public right-of-way has requested that the district make a proposal to replant something at this location. Staff suggested the customer submit a proposal for the Board’s consideration, but the customer requested that the district make a proposal instead. Staff requested guidance from the Board. The Board directed staff to advise the customer to submit a proposal for the Board’s consideration.
On the wastewater side of operations, staff reported that flows remain very low into the district’s collection system, but there was an uptick during the February rains, which suggests that there may be infiltration and inflow occurring. Staff will conduct a smoke test of the system to try and identify the cause. Staff directed the Board’s attention to a revised proposal from the district’s wastewater engineers for the rehabilitation of the district’s lift station; staff noted that the Board previously approved this project, but the firm needed to update it’s costs due to an increase in billing rates since the original proposal was submitted over a year ago.
The Board reviewed an e-mail from the Regional Water Quality Control Board’s Watershed Stewards Project; the Project would like to monitor a “wetland” on district property identified via random mapping. Staff noted that this is the spray disposal field #2 on the district’s wastewater treatment facility and that the Project requested that staff complete and return a form allowing access for monitoring purposes. The Board had no objection.
-- Drainage Project Manager’s Report.
The Board received a written report from Drainiage Project Manager Lewie Likover.
4. Community Expression.
5. Request for Financial Relief from Quarterly Water Bill pursuant to BCPUD Resolution 553 – 99 Brighton Avenue (Talucci).
Mark Talucci explained that he experienced several different problems at his property that contributed to significant water losses, including beach goers accessing his hoses, a faulty irrigation system, a hose left on poolside, and a badly leaking water heater, all of which have now been addressed except for the beach goers as they come in when no one is at the house. A discussion ensued about locking out the outside faucets and Mark promised to look into doing so. Director Smith noted that during the particular billing quarter at issue, an average of 2,800 gallons per day of water was going through the meter at the property, which is an astonishing amount of water. Mark explained that he lives most of the year in New York and was not aware of the problem; the main leak responsible for the high water loss was at the water heater, which is located in the bottom of the house and the water was leaking down under the house into sand and was not detected until BCPUD staff came to inspect the entirety of the property for the cause. Director Smith said he feels that property owners have responsibility to look after their property, even if they are not there for significant periods of time, and that sufficient attention was not paid to the water loss for many months; as such, he said he would favor excusing only 50% of the amount of the bill attributable to the water heater leak at the very most. Director Comstock suggested that the Board defer the matter for one month to provide the Talucchi’s sufficient time to ensure that beachgoers can no longer use the outside faucets and to take a meter reading to confirm that water use is minimal; at that point, he would be willing to consider some amount of relief. Director Godino agreed, as did director Amoroso, who further stated that the Board will not forgive any amount of the water use attributable to the faulty irrigation system. The matter therefore was deferred for a decision until the April 2014 regular meeting.
6. Expanded Water Use Permit Application – 9 Hillside Road (J. Kirkham).
Alethea Patton was present on behalf of the homeowners and she explained that the project involves a remodel of the kitchen and bathroom with no expansion of the existing footprint, and the replacement of windows.
V. Amoroso/D. Smith all in favor to approve an unconditional expanded water use permit.
7. Request to Sell and Transfer Water Meter – 20/22 Brighton Avenue (G. Welsh).
Director Siedman stated that this matter involves a building that is served by four water meters, one of which has been out of service for many years but previously served the Laundromat that used to exist at this location. As explained in the documents submitted by Mr. Welsh, many years ago he took the meter out of service, removed all plumbing from the area of the building previously served by the meter, and continued to pay the annual service fees on the understanding that he was preserving his ability to later transfer (or reactivate on the same site) this meter. Discussion ensued and director Siedman stated that he is persuaded that Mr. Welsh has a meter that is transferable. Director Amoroso said he confirmed that water is no longer serving the area of the building that previously housed the Laundromat, but that if the Board finds that the meter is transferable, the Board should condition that finding on a requirement that Mr. Welsh record a deed restriction at 20/22 Brighton to the effect that no plumbing may be extended to the area of the building previously served by the transferred meter. Mr. Welsh said he had no objection to recording such a deed restriction. Director Smith said he will defer to the other Board members on this decision and will abstain from voting.
Director Amoroso moved that the Board find that the meter in question is transferable, subject to the property owner’s agreement to file a deed restriction that the area of the building previously served by the meter may not be plumbed or otherwise served by BCPUD water. Director Siedman added that all requirements of the district’s water meter transfer ordinance must be met when any actual application to transfer the meter is submitted for the Board’s approval. Director Amoroso agreed and noted that the amount of water to be allowed for this meter would be based on the district’s recent resolution as there is no recent historic usage at the site. Staff requested that the Board’s approval also be conditioned upon consent for the district to inspect the building from time to time to ensure compliance with the deed restriction, and this consent should run with the property, not only the current owner. Director Godino seconded the motion as amended by all of the foregoing clarifications.
V. Amoroso/G. Godino four in favor, director Smith abstaining to approve a finding that the meter at 20/22 Brighton that formerly served the Laundromat is transferable on the conditions that (1) a deed restriction be recorded to prohibit any future replumbing or any other serving of BCPUD water to this section of the building, (2) all requirements of the district’s water meter transfer ordinance are met by any application to transfer the meter, (3) the amount of water allowed for the meter so transferred will be governed by the district’s current resolutions, and (4) consent for the district to inspect the building from time to time to ensure compliance with the deed restriction.
8. Lease Agreement between the BCPUD and Gospel Flat Farms.
Director Siedman stated that he takes full responsibility for the confusion over whether this item was on the agenda for this meeting; he noted that the item clearly is on the agenda and apologized for any misunderstanding. He noted that the Board members have in their binders 27 letters in support of the lease and one not in support. He complimented the Sewer Pond Lands Committee for its hard work to balance the productive use of BCPUD lands with community concerns and to achieve compromise solutions; he then opened the floor for discussion.
Janine Aroyan questioned whether the lease should specify that the farmed land will be certified by Marin Organic. Mickey Murch said that Parcels A and B already are certified and Parcel C will be this spring; he said he would be happy to agree to maintain this certification for the duration of the lease. Janine asked about the irrigation well near Parcel A and whether language is needed in the lease to make clear that BCPUD may need to reclaim space near the well if it is used to augment the water supply. Mickey said that he had no opposition to such language. Jody Angel asked if the soil at the lease sites would be tested as part of the organic certification process; Mickey and Don Murch explained that soil testing is not part of the certification process.
Ken Masterton, a member of the Sewer Pond Lands Committee, said the committee met approximately ten times to discuss the lease agreement and he expressed his appreciation to the BCPUD Board for creating it. He also expressed appreciation to the other committee members for working so hard and to the Murches for their willingness to address community concerns. Ken said he feels the committee accomplished its objectives and that the lease should be approved so that the committee can move on to other aspects of BCPUD land management, including possible native plant demonstration areas. Jeff Manson echoed Ken’s statements and expressed appreciation to the committee members for addressing the complex issue of land use, noting that Bolinas is fortunate to have farmers, biologists, consevationists, and others working together for the betterment of public lands management. Mark Butler and Eleanor Lyman concurred.
Mary Abbot said she feels that the lease is being decided without public input or process and that the district is giving away land without payback to the community for the use of the land. Mickey Murch explained that the reason for the lease in the first place was to save the district’s ratepayers money on land stewardship and vegetation management (costs otherwise paid by the district to upkeep the property); he said that the district was confronting problems with homeless encampments and other misuses of the property and sought a solution to discourage the camps and make the property safer. Mickey said he takes his role as a caretake of this land very seriously. Judith Lowry complimented the committee’s work and urged the committee to continue its work on native plant demonstration planning and the removal of invasive nonnatives from BCPUD lands.
Director Comstock said that he is impressed by the work of the committee and by the concerns of the local community for this land. He said he has evaluated whether the district is serving the public interest by allowing this lease and he concludes on the basis of all available information that it is. Director Amoroso agreed, noting that one of the letters in support of the lease was from Bill Niman, who was a member of the Board of Directors when the district purchased the sewer pond lands and Bill indicates in his letter that the lease is consistent with the purposes for which the land was purchased.
G. Godino/D. Smith all in favor to approve the lease agreement with Gospel Flat Farms with the revisions recommended by the Sewer Pond Lands Committee.
9. Proposal by the County of Marin’s Department of Public Works to Repaint the Curb in front of the Presbyterian Church on Brighton Avenue near Wharf Road at the Existing Stagecoach Bus Stop.
Director Amoroso said that the area in front of the church residence should be a restricted loading zone for the Stagecoach bus, but not the area directly in front of the church. Director Smith concurred that the hydrant area should be no parking, the area behind that should be designated as a loading zone for the bus, but that no restriction on parking should extend beyond that. Staff was directed to communicate this input to the County’s traffic engineer.
10. Water Supply Update: Community Update Mailer.
Staff presented a draft mailer to the community to remind everyone that although the recent rains have filled the district’s emergency reservoirs, which is great news, rainfall to-date is still less than half of normal, so the heightened voluntary conservation alert remains in effect. Staff is concerned there may be a “false sense of confidence” in the community about the status of the water supply because of the recent rains; however, since rain totals remain well below normal, staff recommends an updated notice be sent to the community.
V. Amosoro/D. Smtih all in favor to approve the community update mailer.
As requested by the Board, staff consulted with the California Department of Public Health about the district’s irrigation well and a potential water quality testing protocol to determine the treatment necessary to use this water (assuming sufficient quantities of water are available, which the district separately is analyzing) to augment the district’s water supply. Director Smith noted that it is very important to first conclusively assess the aquifer during periods of regular pumping (once the Mesa Park project is installed) and typical rainfall conditions to know whether there is sufficient water available for this purpose.
11. ACWA/Joint Powers Insurance Authority Commitment to Excellence.
D. Smith/G. Godino all in favor to approve the district’s commitment to excellence as set forth on the ACWA/Joint Powers Insurance Authority proclamation.
12. Volunteer Committee Reports.
-- Bolinas Lagoon Advisory Committee: Director Amoroso said everything the community has heard about possible restoration of the Bolinas Lagoon appears to have been superceded by a new study that indicates that no action should be taken because when the sea level rises as a result of climate change, there would be no habitat remaining if the lagoon is dredged now. He noted that study also indicates that Highway One will be underwater around the lagoon and will need to be elevated.
-- Downtown Parking & Traffic Committee: Director Amoroso reported that he discussed the status of the committee with Michael Rafferty and agreed to participate as a Board member; they have decided to wait until the “bad parking season” (i.e, the summer) to start the committee meetings.
-- Resource Recovery: Nothing to report.
-- Water Conservation Assistance Committee: Discussion ensued about how to best utilize the assistance of a committee to promote water conservation. Staff agreed to evaluate the best use of committee members’ time and to coordinate with Remick Hart, who initially suggested the concept of using community members to assist district efforts in this regard. Director Godino commented that she previously agreed to speak with StuArt about creating a sign to be posted at the Olema-Bolinas – Horseshoe Hill intersection and she said she would follow up on this.
-- West Marin Mosquito Control Coordinating Council: Director Amoroso reported that the next meeting of the Council will take place in April.
-- Sewer Pond Lands Management Committee: Director Siedman said that with the lease approval process completed, it will be time to move to the next phase of overall land stewardship. Burr Heneman volunteered to participate on the committee for this phase of its work.
13. Other Business.
a. Board Committee Reports
-- Finance: Minutes of the February 4, 2014 Committee meeting. The Board received the minutes of the February 4, 2014 Finance Committee meeting, which were previously approved by the committee. Director Comstock noted that Lewie Likover recently attended an out-of-town membrane conference and requested that staff alert the committee to any equipment or other purchasing needs Lewie determines may be necessary for the chlorine disinfection byproducts reduction project. Director Amoroso suggested that the committee probably should plan to meet on April 15th in addition to the next scheduled meeting on April 1st. Director Comstock concurred and they agreed the April 1st meeting would be devoted to a line-by-line walk through of the draft budget and the April 15th meeting would focus on the proposed capital improvement projects.
-- Legal: Nothing to report.
-- Mesa Septic, Flood Control and Roads: Nothing to report.
-- Operations: Nothing to report.
-- Park and Recreation: Staff reported that the California Department of Parks and Recreation has indicated verbally that it will approve the grant amendment request for the Mesa Park Ballfield Irrigation and Public Restroom project, although the district has not yet received the paperwork. In addition, the hearing on the district’s coastal permit to install the project will occur on March 27, 2014; staff accompanied the planner responsible for the project on a site walk of the property on March 13, 2014.
-- Personnel: BCPUD staff will submit a proposal regarding the Memorandum of Understanding for the committee’s consideration and the committee will meet on March 28th to consider it.
-- Sewer: Nothing to report.
b. Minutes of the February 19, 2014 Regular Meeting; Minutes of the February 28, 2014 Special Meeting.
Staff stated that the minutes of the February 28, 2014 special meeting are not yet ready for approval.
L. Comstock/D. Smtih all in favor to approve the minutes of the February 19, 2014 regular meeting.
D. Smith/G. Godino all in favor to approve the warrant list.
d. Scheduling of Next Meeting(s)
April 16, 2014