1. Call to Order.
Directors Amoroso, Bender, Kimball, Siedman and Smith present; director Siedman presiding.
3. Manager’s Report.
-- Update on the Terrace Avenue Water Main Relocation Project.
Staff reported that the district successfully negotiated with the contractor on its next-to-final invoice and a claim for reimbursement was submitted to the CDPH last week; a copy of the claim is in the Board binders. The amount outstanding is the 5% retention, which is $21,850.40. As a result of change orders and extra work tags, the project ran apprimately $28,500 over the loan amount, which the district will need to finance from its reserves.
-- Update on the Terrace Avenue Bluff Stabilization Project.
Nothing to report.
-- Update on the Wastewater Treatment Plant Pump Station and Electrical Upgrade Project – Approve Bid Documents.
Staff finalized the bid documents and submitted them for legal review. Staff will meet with the electrical engineer on Friday to obtain signed copies of the plans and finalize the notice to bidders. Staff plans to put the project out to bid early next week.
-- Update on Shared Personnel Between BCPUD and Bolinas Fire Protection District.
Staff is in the process of scheduling a meeting with Fire Chief Anita Tyrrell-Brown later this month to discuss the shared personnel arrangements.
-- Update on BCPUD’s Five-Year Capital Improvement Plan.
Staff has begun work on the five-year capital improvement plan. An inventory of assets is being prepared, along with a prioritized list of projects for discussion at upcoming staff meetings. Work on this has been delayed due to staff absences.
On the water side of operations, staff noted that consumption was down slightly in the downtown area as compared to the same time last year, which is great news given that the timeframe consists of the summer months (July – September), which historically is the highest consumption period for downtown. It therefore appears that customers are continuing to respond to the district’s pleas for conservation. Conditions continue to be quite dry: the flows are down in the district’s primary water source, the Arroyo Hondo creek, so the district continues to supplement with water from its emergency reservoirs. Staff currently is transferring water from Woodrat Reservoir #2 into Woodrat Reservoir #1.
The federal government shut down has impacted district operations insofar as the National Park Service headquarters office at Bear Valley is not able to serve as the collection point for water samples – typically staff brings the district’s water samples there on Tuesday mornings (as do other nearby agencies). Instead, staff has to meet a lab courier at a designated meeting point and at a specific time.
The County’s paving project in downtown Bolinas has required a considerable amount of staff time and attention to ensure that all of the district’s valves boxes and manholes are properly raised to grade, are installed correctly and are accessible. In addition, the County microsealed Terrace Avenue this week and staff was on hand to ensure that job went smoothly, as well. The staff has been engaged in ongoing repairs and maintenance at the Woodrat Water Treatment plant and recently repaired a small leak on Cedar Road. Staff noted that the Board approved the replacement of the Cedar water line between Elm and Poplar as part of the current budget approval process -- that project is scheduled to be installed this Spring.
Staff reminded the Board that last month the district’s outside treatment plant technician visited the Woodrat Water Treatment Plant to troubleshoot some problems staff was experiencing with the filters. The technician solved the problems and noted that the processors that run the filters are in need of review and upgrading. He developed a proposal for the district’s consideration, which includes installing all operational programs on a central computer to enable the technician to remotely troubleshoot operational problems. A copy of the proposal is in the binders; the cost of the upgrade is approximately $24,000 – a number that can be used for budgeting and the asset management process.
Staff noted that a draft TTHM and HAA5 notice to customers is in the Board binders; not surprisingly, the district’s use of a considerable amount of reservoir water has raised the district’s TTHM and HAA5 numbers over the maximum contaminant levels, so a notice will be mailed to customers within the next few days. The district’s nanofiltration pilot study (to reduce TTHMs and HAA5s in the district’s water supply) will conclude at the end of this month. The district’s consultant, Jonathan Van Bourg, has offered to return the nanofiltration unit to southern California at a cost of just over $1000, which is much less than it would cost the district to insure and ship it. In exchange for providing the data results of our pilot study, the district will receive a free analysis of the membranes in the nanofiltration unit; this is an important analysis as staff wants to be able to project the useful life of the membranes in the nanofiltration unit. If the membranes are subject to fouling particularly quickly when reservoir water is run through them, then it may be cost-prohibitive to use the nanofiltration technology.
On the wastewater side of operations, flows continue to be low into the treatment facility and the district is concluding the year’s spray disposal season. Staff recently supervised the removal of two hazardous trees near the steep paved path coming up from the Resource Recovery project, as well as some of the pine trees at Mesa Park across from the sewer lab (necessitated when big limbs fell off these trees and across Mesa Road).
The Board reviewed correspondence sent and received since the last regular meeting, including copies of non-compliance notices to several customers who exceeded the amount of water allowed under their expanded water use permits and a notice from the district’s new health plan that rates will increase by 5% in the coming calendar year, which is a much lower percentage increase than the historic double-digit annual percentage increases under the district’s former plan.
-- Drainage Project Manager’s Report.
There is no drainage manager report this month; Drainage Project Manager Lewie Likover retired from full-time employment on September 30th, but will resume part time duties at the end of this month.
4. Community Expression.
StuArt Chapman thanked Michael Rafferty and staff for a great Candidate’s Night.
Remick Hart noted that the speedlimit is 25 mph in front of the Resource Recovery Project and that a lot of kids are riding bikes on that stretch of Olema-Bolinas Road, which has become more dangerous since the County’s paving project raised the level of the road. Director Smith said that he recently conferred with the school’s music teacher Anny Owen, who is a strong supporter of kids riding bikes to school, about this topic. He said that the section of road beginning where the bike path exits onto Olema-Bolinas Road at the Resource Recovery Project and continuing to the intersection of Olema-Bolinas Road and Brighton Avenue is the problem area as there is no place to ride off-road (to avoid vehicles); unfortunately, there is no clear solution. Remick suggested that the speed limit be lowered to 15 or 20 mph. Jennie Pfeiffer said she nearly hit a child on a bike who came flying out onto Olema-Bolinas Road from the bike path at exactly this location and that she thought the plan long ago was to direct bikes to the other side of the road at this location (where there is somewhat of a shoulder); director Smith said that the County will not agree to install a crosswalk here as County staff does not believe it is a safe place to cross the road.
5. Request for Financial Relief from Quarterly Water Bill pursuant to BCPUD Resolution 553 – 280 Elm Road (A. Coote).
Director Siedman noted that the customer experienced an unintentional water loss due to a broken flap in a toilet. Director Kimball said that the average water bill for this customer is usually $2 or $3, however the current bill is $57; she noted that the Board typically grants 25-50% relief for leaks due to compromised toilets. Director Smith said that unless there are extenuating circumstances, the Board generally has approved a 25% reduction in the bill for water losses due to leaky toilets.
V. Amoroso/K. Bender all in favor to grant a 25% reduction in the quarterly metered water bill based on the historical water use at this property for the same quarter during the three prior years.
6. Second Notice of Non-Compliance with Expanded Water Use Permit – 60 Mesa Road (N. McCarthy).
Staff reported that this is a second notice of noncompliance; as such, per district policy an item was included on the Board’s agenda to discuss the matter. Staff noted that the Board may recall a letter received from Ms. McCarthy several months ago explaining that a leak in the horse trough at her property had resulted in a very high water usage at the property during one quarter (the leak was fixed immediately). However, even though her water usage was much lower for the following quarter (well below the permit limit), the average amount of water used over the two quarters exceeded the terms of her permit – permit violations are determined on the basis of a two-quarter average water use. Director Smith proposed that in cases like this, where an obvious problem that led to a high water usage is corrected and the following quarter is then well below the permit limit (even if the average of the two quarters exceeds the permit limit and a second notice of non-compliance is sent), it is not necessary to agendize the matter for Board discussion. The Board concurred and staff agreed to revise future non-compliance notices accordingly.
7. Magid Coastal Permit (14-5) and Second Unit Permit (14-6); Expanded Water Use Permit Application – 415 Yucca Road (M. Magid); Public Hearing: Continued Obstruction within Zebra Right-of-Way.
Martino Magid was present and explained that he is applying for permits to legalize a second unit that has been on the property for thirty years. He assured the Board that there will be no increase in water use as a result of the legalization because the same buildings have been there for years. Sue Verhalen, a neighboring property owner, said she submitted a letter about this project to the Board for consideration; a copy is in the Board binders. She said she has spoken with the County’s planning department about the permit application because there are many structures on the property with people living in them and five electrical meters; she inquired about the status of the septic system and suggested the Board defer action until the full scope of the project at this property is known. Kent Khtikian voiced support for her comments and confirmed that while there is a single electrical service at the property line, there are five separate meters at the main house, one for each of the inhabited structures.
Director Amoroso said that these are planning issues to be raised with the County. The district is concerned with the water use at the property and the terms of an expanded water use permit; he said he would be more concerned if the water use was high, but it is fairly close to the community average. Staff reported that the average water usage in the past year at the property is 2,850 cubic feet per quarter and that the community average water use is 2,260 cubic feet per quarter.
K. Bender/D. Smith all in favor to approve a conditional expanded water use permit with a maximum quarterly usage amount of 2,850 cubic feet, which is the average amount used over the prior twelve-month period.
Director Siedman said that the next item of business is the Public Hearing on the continued obstruction within the Zebra right of way. Sue Verhalen said that her family has owned the home at 410 Ocean Parkway since 1936. Her neighhors, the McCreas, recently surveyed their property and this survey revealed that at least one of Mr. Magid’s tenants is obstructing the entirety of the Zebra right-of-way near Yucca and is also encroaching onto the McCrea’s property. Ms. Verhalen said that the Zebra right-of-way is now her access to her property (as she no longer can access her property via Ocean Parkway due to erosion issues) and she wants to hire Don Murch to grade and surface a road within the Zebra right-of-way so that she can access her property. She noted that the Board agreed that this right-of-way was obstructed and needed to be cleared last February; however, that determination was made without the benefit of a survey which now reveals that the obstruction is more significant than previously understood.
Martino Magid said that his tenant has been on his property for 15 years; Martino always believed that the various structures the tenant built were within his property boundry. He said that he is willing to cooperate to remove the obstructions from the right-of-way; he requested a meeting at the site with BCPUD staff to clarify exactly what is needed. He noted that the tenant has a lot of heavy sculptures that will be difficult to move. Director Siedman said that a deadline needs to be set for this to ensure that obstructions will be removed in a timely manner. Discussion ensued about the scope of work and deadlines for completion. Staff agreed to meet with Mr. Magid at the property in two days to explain the scope of work needed and director Siedman said that the intial twenty-foot width of the Zebra-right-of-way adjacent to the McCrea property needs to be cleared by the end of the month so that Ms. Verhalen can have access to her property (and the BCPUD has access to its water line). He further stated that the obstructions must be removed from the remainder of the Zebra right-of-way (i.e., the full 40-foot width) on or before the next Board meeting date, or November 20, 2013.
Director Smith requested that staff include an item on the next month’s regular meeting agenda for a general discussion of obstructions in the public rights-of-way. He said that he has noticed numerous examples of such obstructions over the years and he is concerned about decreasing access to public property. Staff agreed to include an item on the November meeting agenda.
8. Request to Dedicate Bench on BCPUD Sewer Pond Property to Peter Warshall (K. Okamura, H. Kossman, S. Patton and D. Hadley).
Harriet Kossman explained that she and others met with Chief Operator Bill Pierce and selected a site for a memorial bench near two oak trees downhill from the lab building with a lovely view of the property. She conferred with Chuck Oakander and a beautiful eucalyptus bench has been selected; Diana, Peter’s widow, wrote the language for a plaque to be installed on the bench.
V. Amoroso/Kim Bender all in favor to approve the installation of a memorial bench and plaque honoring Peter Warshall on the BCPUD sewer pond property.
9. Request to Transfer Water Meter from 32 Wharf Road to 101 Mesa Road; Expanded Water Use Permit Application (Mesa Park).
Bryan Lee from the Mesa Park board explained that he submitted a coastal permit application to the County to install the Mesa Park Ballfield Irrigation and Public Restroom project and that one of the requirements is to demonstrate that there is water service to the property. He therefore submitted an application to the BCPUD to transfer one of the meters that formerly served 32 Wharf Road to 101 Mesa Road to serve the public restrooms. In addition, Mesa Park would like to apply for an expanded water use permit based on the last year of historic water usage at 32 Wharf Road. Discussion ensued, and director Amoroso noted that the meters serving 32 Wharf Road haven’t been in service for nearly 40 years; he said that per BCPUD policy, where the past year’s usage at a property is unrepresentative (for purposes of establishing a quarterly limit on water use), the district applies the community average, plus up to 50% more. He noted that Resolution 173, which governs the determination of the terms of expanded water use permits, states that the Board must look to the service’s average consumption over the prior 12 month period; he said it does not make sense to go back 40 years to look at the water usage at that time. Director Smith disagreed; he said that he thinks it is reasonable to base a permit limit on the last known historic usage particularly where, as here, the project in question is for the entire community, not just one private property owner. After considerable discussion, the Board ultimately requested staff to request an opinion from the district’s outside counsel as to the appropriate basis under Resolution 173 for the Board to determine the limit on water use to impose in connection with a conditional expanded water use permit for Mesa Park. Director Siedman noted that the Board’s past policy of applying the community average amount was to prevent unfairness and it has never been used as a sword to cut back a customer’s usage. Director Bender noted that the Board considered an expanded water use permit application from Mesa Park a few years ago when it developed the downtown park; director Amoroso said the Board deferred a decision on the limit on water use pending the installation of the downtown park bathrooms as it was anticipated that the water usage at the Community Center would decline as the public was directed to the park bathrooms.
Director Siedman suggested that the Board defer the decision on the terms of the expanded water use permit for the project pending the legal opinion, but proceed with the water meter transfer application so that Mesa Park’s coastal permit application can proceed.
V. Amoroso/K. Bender all in favor to approve the transfer of a water meter from 32 Wharf Road to 101 Mesa Road and defer determination of the terms of the expanded water use permit pending receipt of an opinion from legal counsel.
10. Amend District’s Flexible Spending Plan to Comply with the Health Care Reform Act.
K. Bender/B. Kimball all in favor to approve an amendment to the district’s Flexible Spending Plan to Comply with the Health Care Reform Act.
11. Volunteer Committee Reports
-- Alternative Energy: Director Smith reported that one of the three power phases from PG&E blew out and damaged one of the inverters at the Woodrat Water Treatment plant. Unfortunately, the invertor manufacturer went out of business and the warranty is gone as a result. Ex-employees of the invertor manufacturer have formed a service company and have quoted a repair of a few thousand dollars; in the meantime, however, the district is losing money on the power that would have been produced and sold to PG&E, as well as rebates that would be earned. Discussion ensued about a potential claim against PG&E since the damage to the invertor appears to have been directly caused by the power phase failure; staff agreed to pursue a claim.
-- Bolinas Lagoon Advisory Committee: Director Amoroso reported that a significant meeting was held in Stinson Beach last month and another is scheduled in two days at the Firehouse & Clinic building in Bolinas to discuss potentially major renovations of the Pine Gulch delta.
-- Community Path Update: Director Kimball reported that she removed the irrigation drip system from the bike path median and will endeavor to repurpose it. She said that many have expressed concerns about the drop-off that now exists from the newly repaved Olema-Bolinas Road to the paver pullouts; the drop-off is about 3 - 4 inches. Director Kimball conferred with the County and was told that the drop-off will be sloped in asphalt. Finally, director Kimball reminded the Board that the district had advanced $5000 toward the cost of the bike path median; last year, she was able to return $3000 of that amount and today she is returning an additional $1000 (she is able to do so because much of the cost of the project was defrayed by donations and volunteers), so the total BCPUD contribution toward the project was $1,000. Director Kimball closed the bank account for this project yesterday.
-- Downtown Parking & Traffic Committee: Request to Revive Committee (M. Rafferty)
After a brief discussion, the Board directed staff to include an item on the Board’s agenda for the November meeting to re-establish the Downtown Parking & Traffic Committee.
-- Resource Recovery: Staff reported that the garbage company will be sending out a letter to Bolinas and Stinson Beach residients advising them not to put food waste in their green waste bins; although residents may do so in other areas of the County, the Resource Recovery Center is not able to accept food waste.
-- West Marin Mosquito Control Coordinating Council: Director Kimball reported that she is optimistic that the council successfully will negotiate a new non-toxic protocol with the Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District. She noted that the current agreement expires on January 14, 2014. Director Kimball said that a company called Clark has developed some products that have been approved for organic farms, which is good news. She noted that the first human case of West Nile Virus in many years was confirmed in Novato recently. Finally, director Kimball urged the Board to appoint a director to take her place on the West Nile Virus Task Force and the West Marin Mosquito Control Coordinating Council as she will be stepping down when she leaves the BCPUD Board at the end of her term.
-- Sewer Pond Land Management Committee: Director Siedman reported that the committee had a site meeting on September 30th to agree upon and stake out fence lines and access for the farm lease. He noted that all members of the committee were present, as were several community members. The site meeting went well and the committee members worked together constructively. Jeff Creque has agreed to consult with the committee and staff on best practices for land management. The committee also will develop a general policy for management of the BCPUD sewer pond lands.
12. Other Business
a. Board Committee Reports
-- Finance: Staff reported that the district’s field audit was October 3rd. The auditor is now preparing the draft financial statements and the State Controller’s Report. Director Kimball reported that she and director Amoroso, in their capacities as the Board’s Finance Committee members, had a conference call with the auditor as part of the field audit process.
-- Legal: Nothing to report.
-- Mesa Septic, Flood Control and Roads: Director Smith commented that all of the ground asphalt received from the downtown paving project already is gone and spread on the Mesa public roads.
-- Operations: Nothing to report.
-- Park and Recreation: Nothing to report.
-- Personnel: Recommendation to Hire Part-Time Temporary Maintenance Worker
V. Amoroso/D. Smith all in favor to begin search for a part-time maintenance worker and, if a candidate is identified, staff is to present a specific proposal to the Board for approval at a public meeting.
-- Sewer: Nothing to report.
b. Minutes of the September 18, 2013 Regular Meeting.
Director Smith proposed an amendment to the minutes to explain more clearly that the district is exploring improvements to reservoir water quality plus nanofiltration if necessary; he said it is not yet clear how much improvement might be achieved via reservoir management and it is too soon to say the district must install nanofiltration.
D. Smith/V. Amoroso three in favor, directors Bender and Kimball abstaining to approve the minutes of the September 18, 2013 regular meeting, as amended.
K. Bender/D. Smith all in favor to approve the warrant list.
d. Scheduling of Next Meeting(s)
November 20, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.