Bolinas Community Public Utility District
A Regular Meeting  Of  The Board  Of  Directors
June 17, 2015    270 Elm Road, Bolinas

 

MINUTES 


 

1.      Call to Order.

 

7:30 p.m.

 

2.      Roll.

 

Directors Amoroso, Comstock, Siedman and Smith present; director Siedman presiding.  Director Siedman noted that director Godino is attending the meeting by telephone.

 

3.  Manager’s Report.

 

-- Update on the Terrace Avenue Bluff Stabilization Project.

 

Staff reported she and Fire Chief Anita Tyrrell-Brown met with Supervisor Kinsey, his aide Liza Crosse and DPW Senior Engineer Ernest Klock on June 3, 2015 to discuss next steps for this project in light of the town’s incredible fundraising effort.  Ernest reported that DPW is moving forward “at a sprint” with the design of the project and has retained Miller Pacific Engineering to prepare the project design documents.  Ernest and the engineers were out in Bolinas at the project site on June 2, 2015 to take photos and assess site conditions.  Ernest anticipates that the project will go out to bid in August with construction estimated to occur between September 15th – October 15th

 

DPW continues to believe that the cost estimates for the project are solid and Ernest said DPW plans to close the road during the work day while the project is being installed.  The County reviewed the Fiscal Sponsorship Agreement between the Bolinas Community Center (BCC) and the Fundraising Committee because it mentions the County and its role in the project.  The County has no objection to the agreement; however, the County also would like to have a letter agreement in place (between the County and the BCC as fiscal sponsor) to set forth more specifically the County’s obligations upon receipt of the funds and to detail how and when the funds should be conveyed to the County.  The County likely will draft the letter agreement and pass it on to the district for discussion with the BCC locally.  After the agreement is in place and the County is ready to receive the funds (after the bid process is completed and the project costs are known), the Board of Supervisors will then take formal action to accept the funds.

 

-- Update on the BCPUD Chlorine Disinfection Byproduct Reduction Project: Report by Dr. Alex Horne re: Woodrat Reservoir 1 Management

 

The Board received a report by Dr. Alex Horne on recommended management methods for the Woodrat 1 reservoir to reduce the precursors of chlorine disinfection byproducts.  Dr. Horne identifies two watershed management methods and four lake management methods as possibly beneficial for the district, with oxygenation or aeration and some inflow treatment most strongly recommended for consideration.  Director Smith noted that a gaseous oxygen test will be relatively easy to do and will provide the district with a lot of information; he said he has some specific questions about the report that he will forward to staff to discuss with Dr. Horne.  Director Comstock said he believes it is important for the district to carefully manage the reservoir and said he favors oxygenation (if successful) even if alum coagulation is used (as will be evaluated in the district’s upcoming pilot coagulation study).

 

-- Update on Replacement of Sewer Pumps at the Wharf Road Lift Station.

 

Staff directed the Board’s attention to a preliminary assessment by the district’s outside engineers which favors the installation of either rotary lobe pumps by Vogelsang or non-clog centrifugal pumps by Flygt.  Staff met today with a representative from Vogelsang and were very favorably impressed by that pump as it is small and easy to work on, so that staff likely can deal with most repairs in house, which is a significant advanatage.

 

Staff reported that water consumption remains at low levels from a historic standpoint; significantly, however, consumption spiked up during the most recently completed billing cycle.  Staff is concerned that this may be the beginning of a trend during the summer months and recommended that the district step up its conservation message to the community via articles in the Hearsay News, notes in quarterly billing statements and newsletters, as well as signs to be posted around town in prominent places.  The Board had no objection.

 

Staff has prepared a draft Consumer Confidence Report for 2014 and copies are in the Board’s binders; staff said the report will be mailed out to customers on June 26th, so if Board members have any comments on the text of the report, please submit them to staff as soon as possible.  Staff also is working with the district’s attorneys to complete the district’s water license reports for 2014 which are due on or before June 30th.  The district has a total of six licenses for its three water sources; production (approximately 90 acre feet during 2014) was far below normal due to the drought and the town’s conservation efforts and well below the licensed amount of 167 acre feet.

 

District operators repaired a relatively significant leak on the service line for the Bolinas School during the first week of June.  Staff estimates the district lost approximately 63,000 gallons of water due to the leak, including flushing, which was caused by failed glue joints at fittings on the service line (poor materials used when the line was installed by an outside contractor after the school burned down several decades ago).  Staff was able to repair the leak without closing the school, but will need to replace the line entirely by boring under the road later this summer when school is not in session. 

 

Staff is preparing for year-end (June 30th) and for the upcoming audit of the district’s FY 2014-15 financials.  The BCPUD’s outside CPA, Sandy Reinhardt, recently retired; accordingly, staff and the district’s bookkeeper interviewed the CPA to whom Sandy sold her practice.  The CPA will send a proposed engagement letter for the district’s consideration.  Staff also is preparing for the County’s annual assessment process whereby the property tax rolls are reviewed to ensure the correct placement of the district’s service charges, consistent with the budget adoption and rates approved by the Board.

 

Finally, staff is working on the prepayment of the outstanding balance due on the Department of Water Resources loan, as approved by the Board at the April 2015 regular meeting.  Approximately $300,000 will be paid to retire this debt, which will save the district over $30,000 in interest and $55,000 in annual debt payments that otherwise would be due through 2022.  The prepayment of the loan is scheduled to occur on June 26th.

 

On the wastewater side of operations, although flows have been quite low for some time (reflecting the benefits of the recent inspection of laterals on Wharf Road), flows have been trending up on weekends due to the increase in visitors to town in the summer months.  Spray season is underway and going well; staff has posted signage to remind the community not to walk through the paths or enter the fields when sprays are on. 

 

The Board reviewed correspondence sent and received since the last regular Board meeting, including a notice from the Association of California Water Agencies about a “Marin Water Forum” on July 24th at which staff will be a panelist; a letter from the Marin County Community Development Agency about a new process for following permit applications/issuances; and, an invitation to a water ritual and blessing at the Arroyo Hondo hosted by Lea Earnhardt-Gold and Alethea Patton.

 

-- Drainage Project Manager’s Report.

 

The Board received a drainage report from Lewie Likover.

 

3.      Public Hearing:  Draft Fiscal Year 2015-16 District Budget.

 

Director Siedman opened the public hearing on the district’s draft fiscal year 2015-16 budget.  Staff reported that the Finance Committee conducted an extensive series of meetings this year  to develop the budget, as well as the district’s new Five-Year Capital Improvement Plan and Financial Reserve Policy; she thanked directors Amoroso and Comstock for the considerable time and effort they devoted to the committee process this year.  Staff said the proposed budget establishes a framework for the future:  namely, the reduction or elimination of debt, committed investment in capital infrastructure, financially prudent management of the district, and the retention of employees.  Staff noted that the district’s water and sewer rates have not been raised in the last three budget years; the draft budget proposes a 10%  increase, which is less than the cost-of-living increase for the San Francisco Bay Area over that same time period.  The proposed budget includes a reduction in overall debt (annual debt payments will decline by $74,457 as compared to last year), an increased commitment to bolstering reserves (revenues going to reserves will increase by $48,172 as compared to last year), and investment in the district’s infrastructure (capital improvement spending will increase by $42,659 as compared to last year). 

 

Matt Lewis commented that the version of the draft budget posted on the district’s website does not include a side-by-side comparison with the current year budget, which makes it difficult to appreciate the differences.  Staff promised to post a side-by-side version as soon as possible.  Matt noted that the district’s mailer to the community highlights the planned capital improvement projects as a reason for the proposed service charge increase and he asked how previous capital improvement projects have been paid for.  Director Comstock explained that the district’s budget every year includes expenditures for capital improvement projects.  This year, however, for the first time the district has prepared and adopted a five-year capital improvement plan; this plan demonstrates that the amount of funds the district has set aside for capital improvement projects is not sufficient given the number and extent of necessary projects identified.  Director Comstock said that the district has not raised its service charges in three years, but the cost of living has increased each of those years, so the district has not even been keeping pace with inflation.  Essentially, the planning of future capital projects and the bolstering of reserves have been squeezed in recent years by routine expenditures, so the district is undertaking the necessary corrections to better position itself financially.  Matt asked if the proposed 10% increase in service charges is to pay for the five-year capital improvement plan; director Comstock said that the increase is needed to catch the district up with where it should be to keep up with inflation and that he doubts the district can revert to holding the charges steady with no increases.  Director Smith commented that former director Bender suggested several years ago that the district consider an annual incremental increase in the service charges rather than hold them steady and then impose a more significant “catch up” increase, which he said makes a lot of sense.  Discussion ensued about the district’s intent to repay an outstanding loan in order to retire approximately $300,000 of debt (and save $30,000 in projected interest payments) and its planned capital improvement projects, including the chlorine disinfection byproduct reduction project, which could be quite expensive if the district is not able to sufficiently improve its source water and reduce the precursors to the formation of chlorine disinfection byproducts.  Director Comstock explained that the district may have no choice but to install  nanofiltration at its treatment plant.

 

5.   Community Expression.

 

Staff directed the Board’s attention to a letter from a customer requesting the district’s assistance with a water leak at her property.  Staff noted that at a recent community meeting, townspeople discussed the fact that many seniors and others of limited financial means may need help with home projects and momentum seems to be underway to organize a volunteer group of handymen and contractors to provide pro bono help on small projects.  Matt Lewis said he would be willing to help and director Siedman thanked him for offering. 

 

6.   Public Records Act Request re: Mesa Park Ballfield Irrigation and Public Restroom Project.  (M. Lewis).

 

Matt Lewis said that he did not ask for his Public Records Act request to be included on the meeting agenda, so he is not sure what he should say.  Director Amoroso said that a Public Records Act request seeks the production of records, but his recent letter poses specific questions about the Mesa Park Ballfield Irrigation and Public Restroom project which should be posed to the Board and that is why the item is on the agenda.  Matt said that his concerns include the well serving as the water source for the Mesa Park project, as well as the project itself.  He asked why the BCPUD imposed water rationing in 2009 which is the same year the well was installed.  Director Amoroso explained that although the well is on BCPUD property, it was installed by Mesa Park pursuant to an agreement with the BCPUD and all costs of the well have been paid by Mesa Park.  Matt said that the district paid for the piping from the well to Mesa Park and that significant staff time was spent on the project; director Amoroso said that the district did not pay for the piping, Mesa Park did, and that the district was reimbursed for staff time spent on the project by the funding agency (California Department of Parks & Recreation).  Matt said all of the permits for the well and the project are in the BCPUD’s name so it is BCPUD’s well and BCPUD’s project; director Amoroso agreed that the permits are in BCPUD’s name, but only because the well and the project itself are located on BCPUD land (which, in turn, is leased to Mesa Park, but the permitting agencies require that permits be issued in the name of the property owner).  All costs pertaining to the well and/or the project have been paid for by Mesa Park via its own parcel tax funds and the grant funds awarded by the State – the BCPUD has not contributed any funds toward either the installation/development of the well or the installation of the project.

 

Matt asserted that BCPUD is placing the moratorium in jeapordy by providing free water to Mesa Park.  Director Siedman explained that the BCPUD did not install the well and is not incurring any costs for operating the well – all costs are paid by the users – so it has no basis on which to charge for it.  Director Amoroso said that the Board has had a standing item on its agenda for many months captioned “Water Supply Study” and it receives monthly reports from a consulting hydrologist as the district studies the small groundwater system supplying the well to determine if it is of acceptable quality and quantity to serve as a supplemental water source for the BCPUD.  Director Smith said that the study to date suggests that there is reason to think there is only a limited groundwater system serving the well.  He noted that the watershed is small and in the middle of a fault zone; in addition, the well is only mile from the Bolinas Lagoon and the water table at the well site is below sea level, so sea water intrusion also is a possibility.  Director Smith said the district is doing as much as it can and has spent tens of thousands of dollars to determine whether this groundwater system is a potential drinking water source.  At present, the district’s consulting hydrologist is working on a report that will summarize three years’ worth of monitoring data which the Board requested to inform a decision as to next steps.  Finally, he noted that the current use of the well is enabling the district to conduct this water study in a meaningful way.

 

Matt said that the water likely could be filtered and used by the BCPUD.  He said that the Stinson Beach County Water District relies on a well that produces 9 gallons per minute for the town during the winter.  Director Smith said the BCPUD on average supplies approximately 60 gallons per minute to the town from its water treatment plant.  Matt inquired whether Mesa Park would pay for the development of the well for drinking water and director Siedman answered that it would not;  director Amoroso said the BCPUD likely would pursue grant funds for such a project.  Matt claimed that he “has a person there monitoring” the Mesa Park well and it is currently producing 12,000 gallons per day.  Director Siedman said that the well production data gathered by the BCPUD on a weekly basis does not confirm this.  Director Smith said that all records pertaining to the project (including the well) are available for review at the BCPUD office.

 

7.  Local Agency Formation Commission of Marin County (“LAFCO”) Countywide Water Municipal Service Review: Request for Additional Information from the BCPUD.

 

Staff presented a draft letter from the BCPUD to the Marin Local Agency Formation Commission (“LAFCO”) which responds to a request from LAFCO for additional information from the district in connection with its County-wide water study concerning the well installed on BCPUD property by Mesa Park.

 

D. Smith/L. Comstock               all in favor         to approve the BCPUD letter responding to Marin LAFCO’s request for additional information.

 

8.  Transfer from the District’s Endowment Fund Into a General Capital Improvement Projects Fund.

 

Director Amoroso moved that the district re-purpose the “Endowment Fund” on deposit with the Local Agency Investment Fund (i.e., the remaining proceeds from the district’s sale of its Pine Gulch Creek property to the National Park Service) as a fund for capital improvements and that a 3/5 vote of the Board be required to authorize capital improvement expenditures from the fund and a 4/5 vote be required if any other purpose for these funds is to be authorized.  Director Comstock said he did not see a benefit of imposing the vote requirement; director Amoroso said he wasn’t wedded to that provision and he revised his motion to be that the district re-name and re-purpose the “Endowment Fund” as a “General Capital Improvement Project Fund”.

 

V. Amosoro/D. Smith                all in favor         to change the name and purpose of the district’s Endowment Fund to a General Capital Improvement Project Fund.

 

9.  Update on Proposed Sale of College of Marin Properties in Bolinas.

 

Nothing to report.

 

10.  Water Supply Update.

 

Director Smith noted that Rob Gailey is working on a comprehensive report summarizing all of the well monitoring data obtained over the last three years for the Board’s consideration.  He said one thing that is striking about the recent data is not so much the steep drop in the water level in the well during October 2014 (when the Mesa Park ballfields were renovated), but rather the fast rate of recovery of the water level thereafter.  He said he finds this rapid and complete recovery to be surprising and a bit worrisome – where is the water coming from?

 

11. Volunteer Committee Reports.

 

-- Bolinas Lagoon Advisory Committee:  Nothing to report.

 

-- Downtown Parking & Traffic Committee:  Nothing to report.

 

-- Resource Recovery:  Staff reported that the district continues to work with Marin County’s Environmental Health Services Department to resolve any concerns about the potential for groundwater contamination from the on-site green waste facility.  Director Smith said there are rumblings in Sacramento about more regulation of compost facilities because of the potential for nitrates leaching into groundwater tables.  He said there are rumors that the groundwater tables under the compost piles will need to be monitored and tested, which could put many green waste facilities out of business.

 

-- West Marin Mosquito Control Coordinating Council:  The Board reviewed an email from the West Nile Virus Task Force announcing that a bird in Marin County has tested positive for the West Nile Virus.

 

-- Land Stewardship Committee:  Nothing to report.

 

12.  Other Business.

 

  a.  Board Committee Reports.

 

-- Finance: Engagement Letter from Doran & Associates for FY 2014-15 Audit;  Minutes of the April 14, 2015 Finance Committee Meeting.

 

L. Comstock/G. Godino                all in favor         to approve the engagement letter from Doran & Assocites for the FY 2014-15 audit of the district’s financial statements.

 

Director Amoroso noted a typo on page 2, last sentence of the second paragraph, on the minutes of the April 14, 2015 Finance Committee meeting.

 

L. Comstock/D. Smith                  all in favor         to approve the minutes of the April 14, 2015 Finance Committee meeting, as corrected.

 

-- Legal:  Nothing to report. 

 

-- Mesa Septic, Flood Control and Roads:  Nothing to report.

 

-- Operations:  Nothing to report.

 

-- Park and Recreation:  The Board reviewed a letter sent to Mesa Park by staff with a check for $50,000, which is the final disbursement of grant funds for the Mesa Park Ballfield Irrigation and Public Restroom Project.

 

Director Godino departed the meeting.

 

-- Personnel:  Staff reported that Shift Operator Scotty Hanks is scheduled to return to work on July 6, 2015.

 

-- Sewer:  Nothing to report.

 

b.  Minutes of the April 22, 2015 regular meeting; Minutes of the May 27, 2015 regular meeting.

 

Directors Amoroso and Comstock offered clarifying revisions to the minutes of the April 22, 2015 regular Board meeting

 

D. Smith/V. Amoroso          four in favor, director Godino absent       to approve the minutes of the April 22, 2015 regular Board meeting.

 

L. Comstock/D. Smith         four in favor, director Godino absent       to approve the minutes of the May 27, 2015 regular Board meeting.

 

c. Warrants.

 

L. Comstock/V. Amoroso                 four in favor, director Godino absent       to approve the warrant list.

 

d. Scheduling of Next Meeting(s):

 

June 15, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.

 

13.  Adjournment.

 

9:19 p.m.