Bolinas Community Public Utility District
A Regular  Meeting  Of  The Board  Of  Directors
January 16, 2008     270 Elm Road, Bolinas

1.     Call to Order

    7:33 p.m.

2.     Roll

    Directors Amoroso, McClellan, Siedman and Smith present; director Kimball absent.  Director Siedman presiding.

3.     Manager’s Report
Staff reported that the conditions in the Arroyo Hondo Creek watershed look very good for this point in the year.  The BCPUD operations staff continues to fine-tune the upgraded filtration equipment at the water treatment plant and the filter company, Siemens Water Technology, is scheduled for a site visit later in the month.  The most recent round of quarterly metered water bills have been sent out and consumption is up approximately 40,000 cubic feet from 2006 levels; the amount billed increased by about $7,600 due to recent revisions to the district’s tiered water rates.

On the wastewater side of operations, staff is working on the first draft of a Sewer System Management Plan (“SSMP”) and plans to have a draft to present at the February regular Board meeting.  The BCPUD is up-to-date on its registration in the Sanitary Sewer Overflow (“SSO”) program and on-line “no spill” certifications  pursuant to the new Waste Discharge Order (“WDR”) issued by the State Water Resources Control Board (“SWRQB”).   With regard to on-going operations, the district is experiencing some problems with the aerators in Ponds 1a and 1b and it likely will be necessary to replace the existing electrical panel and possibly also the motors in the aerators.
    Steve Kinsey’s office contacted staff recently on two issues:  (1) should the BCPUD be the local point-of-contact with regard to film permits in Bolinas; and (2) would the BCPUD be opposed for any reason to a 5-year extension of the current weekend camping ban ordinance applicable to Bolinas Beach (the existing one-year ordinance is scheduled to sunset in March)?   Director Amoroso indicated he would like to address the first issue during Community Expression.  With regard to the beach ordinance, there was no opposition a 5-year extension.

    The Board reviewed correspondence sent and received since the last regular Board meeting, including a letter sent to the County by district staff requesting an extension of the second unit amnesty program; this program subsequently was extended for an additional year by the County Community Development Agency.

-- Update on the TBWC Integrated Coastal Watershed Management Plan – Grant Funding Application Process: Approve Project Proposals and Proposed Match Funding.

Staff referred to documents in the Board binders detailing the Proposition 50 grant funding applications with which the BCPUD is involved.   The Tomales Bay Watershed Council (“TBWC”) approved a suite of 5-6 projects and BCPUD is involved with two of them: namely, (1) a joint project proposed by the BCPUD and the Inverness Public Utility District (“IPUD”) to pay for chlorine disinfection byproduct treatment facilities at the districts’ water treatment plants, and (2) a multi-agency project proposed by the BCPUD, the National Park Service and the County of Marin to improve water quality at Duxbury Reef.

    With regard to the BCPUD/IPUD chlorine disinfection byproduct project:  IPUD has  taken the lead on drafting the grant application and staff would like to acknowledge the excellent work of IPUD General Manager Kaaren Gann and her staff on this project.  BCPUD Chief Operator Bill Pierce also has been very involved in the details, in close consultation with Jim Fox, Superintendent of the IPUD’s water system.   BCPUD and IPUD jointly retained SPH Associates Consulting Engineers in December to conduct an initial study;  after evaluating all other options, SPH Associates recommended that both districts further consider the installation of a granular activated carbon (“GAC”) unit, with a chemical coagulant feed back-up in the event the GAC unit does not sufficiently lower the chlorine disinfection byproduct levels. SPH Associates estimates that the cost to the BCPUD will be $330,000 – 360,000. 

BCPUD now has a pilot GAC unit on site and operations staff is working on the development of a testing protocol to monitor the efficacy of the unit over the next 6-8 months.  SPH Associates estimates that it will take approximately two years (i.e., until approximately August 2010)  to design and plan for the GAC unit, amend the district’s operating permit with the State, and solicit bids/construct the treatment improvements.  In the BCPUD grant application, staff has estimated more than $50,000 in “matching” fund the district will contribute in the from of lab testing fees, construction oversight and administrative costs. 

    Director Smith commented that the district’s new low-pressure filters may completely solve the chlorine disinfection byproduct problem because of their finer filtration capability.   Chief Operator Bill Pierce responded that, after reviewing the BCPUD’s total organic carbon test data for the last few years, the Department of Public Health (“DPH”) district engineer and SPH Associates are not optimistic that the new filters alone can solve the problem.  The BCPUD has an unusually high number of dead-end pipes in its distribution system, long detention time(s) and a chronic water shortage which limits the ability to regularly flush the system.  After further discussion, director Smith and Bill Pierce agreed that some additional lab testing now might provide useful data about the ability of the new filters to lower disinfection byproduct levels.

    With respect to the Duxbury Reef project proposal, it has three components.  First, the National Park Service (“NPS”) proposes to implement certain rangeland improvements, including fencing and bank stabilization ($163,295 in grant funding was requested and $104,692 in match funds were proposed, for a total project cost of $267,987).  Second, the County proposes facilities improvements to the Agate Beach parking lot, including replacing the existing asphalt lot with porous concrete ($235,250 in grant funding was requested and $48,221.60 in match funds were proposed, for a total project cost of $283,471.60).  Third, the BCPUD proposes to conduct a “Stormwater Network Enhancement Preliminary Engineering Design Evaluation” to collect data, analyze it and use the results to create and calibrate a surface water flow model that will used to develop a list of prioritized projects ($170,000 in grant funding was requested and $63,000 in match funds were proposed, for a total project cost of $233,000).  The BCPUD then plans to apply under Proposition 84 for additional funds to implement the prioritized projects and improve water quality at Duxbury Reef.

--  Update on the ADA Accessibility of BCPUD Building.

Staff is working with the County’s Disability Access Manager, Bill Campagna, on a set of plans for improvements to the district’s building and parking lot to meet the needs of persons with disabilities; staff anticipates that the next step will be a site visit by Mr. Campagna.  In response to a question from the public as to why the BCPUD was undertaking this project, director Siedman explained that a complaint was filed with the County against the BCPUD alleging that the BCPUD’s facilities are not accessible to persons with disabilities; accordingly, the district plans to undertake the necessary improvements to correct any such deficiencies.

-- Drainage Project Manager’s Report.

The Board received a written report from Drainage Project Manager Lewie Likover.

4.   Community Expression

Director Amoroso expressed his strong disapproval of recent events downtown involving the unannounced filming of a werewolf movie.  Downtown residents were awakened before 6:00 a.m. by the arrival of numerous large trucks and an accompanying movie crew that proceeded to virtually take over the downtown community.  Director Amoroso called the County and determined that no permits had been issued for this encroachment of the county rights-of-way;  sheriffs’ deputies arrived to remove the film crew, but the crew moved back in when the deputies departed.  It seems that the local Presbyterian minister had agreed to the filming in front of the downtown church and received a generous donation.  Director Amoroso said he urged the County not to grant the required encroachment permits for at least a day or two in order to punish the film crew for their lack of community consideration, but an emergency permit was issued to the crew later that same day.   After considerable discussion, it was decided that the Fire Department was best situated to be the County’s point of contact for film permit applications in Bolinas and staff was directed to talk with the Fire Chief and then notify the County accordingly.

5.   Request for Financial Relief from Quarterly Water Bill due to Unintentional Water Loss (pursuant to BCPUD Resolution 553) – 450 Vine Road (F. Skinner).

Franz Skinner requested a reduction of his quarterly water bill because he had a blind leak under his house that was repaired promptly; his usage in the applicable quarter was twice his normal usage and was due entirely to the blind leak.  Director Smith noted that such a leak would be very difficult to locate and he recommended that the Board forgive the amount of the bill attributable to the leak (by comparing the usage to the same time in the prior year).  Director McClellan commented that it is important for the district to keep careful records of its decisions on requests for financial relief to ensure the Board acts consistently.  Director Siedman agreed that the leak would have been difficult to detect, a relatively small amount of water was lost, the leak was repaired immediately and it occurred during winter months, so the water loss did not negatively impact the district. 

D. Smith/J, McClellan    three in favor (Amoroso against)    to reduce Mr. Skinner’s bill by the amount attributable to the leak and therefore charge him for the same usage as he had during the same quarter the prior year.

6.    Request for Financial Relief from Quarterly Water Bill due to Unintentional Water Loss (pursuant to BCPUD Resolution 553) – 256 Elm Road  (J. Kopfer).
    Joan Kopfer said that after receiving recent high bills from the district, she discovered a toilet leak that likely was the cause of unusually high water use at her property.  She explained that the toilet likely had been running for some time, but that she did not hear it because she does not personally use the particular restroom.  In response to questions from directors, Ms. Kopfer said that her last two bills had been quite high, but when she called the BCPUD office she was told the rates had increased, so she thought that might explain the increase in the bill.  In addition, she has more people living at her property now (six, rather than four) and consumption was up as a result.  Director Siedman said that a toilet leak inside a house is quite different from a blind leak under the house.  Director McClellan said it was likely neglectful not to have fixed the toilet sooner, but questioned whether the neglect was excusable under Resolution 553.  In response to questions from the Board, staff reported that the average quarterly consumption at the property was 5,000 cubic feet, but it was 9,500 cubic feet in the most recent quarter. Director Smith noted that at least some of the increase in usage was likely due to more people living at the property, and Director McClellan noted that the average consumption itself was twice the district average.  Directors debated approaches including granting relief for one-half or one-quarter the 4500 cubic feet increase in usage at the property, or possibly grossing up the amount by which the district would reduce the bill to account for increased consumption by the additional people living on the property.

J. McClellan/D.Smith        all in favor    to reduce Ms. Kopfer’s bill by 25% of the increment by which the bill exceeded the prior year’s bill, or 1250 cubic feet.

7.    January 2008 Winter Storm and PG&E Response to Power Outage in Bolinas.

Director Siedman said the BCPUD received a very well-written letter from community resident Lyndon Comstock with constructive suggestions as to how PG&E can improve its response to storm events in Bolinas.  Discussion ensued about the recent six-day power outage and the terrible communication between PG&E and Bolinas residents about the outage and repair status.  Several person commented that the increasing centralization of PG&E is the problem; when the Olema substation was open, the PG&E response was much better.  In the most recent storm, crews were dispatched from Las Vegas to work in Bolinas and they had absolutely no knowledge of local conditions.  Others said that the BCPUD should demand that PG&E come to the next regular meeting of the Board to discuss improvements that need to be made to the company’s communication processes and logistical response. Neither the BCPUD nor the Bolinas Fire Protection District (“BFPD”) were able to access anyone within PG&E able to provide accurate information about the outage or repair status, which is unacceptable.  After further discussion, staff was directed to collaborate with the BFPD  in a joint letter to PG&E detailing the public health and safety issues posed by the lack of adequate communication and poor logistical coordination and requesting a commitment by PG&E to attend the next BCPUD meeting and agree upon specific improvements to the company’s performance in Bolinas.

8.    Proposed Revisions to Marin County On-Site Wastewater (Septic) Regulations:  Letter of Support to Environmental Health Services Department for Certain Recommended Revisions to County On-site Wastewater Regulations.

Staff reported that the County’s Environmental Health Services Department is proposing revisions to the County’s septic code and regulations that have the potential to significantly impact Bolinas residents.  At present, the County plans to have a first reading of the new code and regulations at the January 25th Board of Supervisors’ meeting, with a merits hearing to follow on February 12th.  Director Siedman proposed that the Board delegate the appropriate Board Committee to work with staff on a comment letter since the matter is scheduled to be considered on the merits by the Board of Supervisors prior to the next BCPUD Board meeting.

Roger Peacock commented that septic system technology is evolving rapidly; in particular, the Avantex system developed by a group in Davis has tremendous potential to bring down the cost of installing a Class 1 system (these systems currently are allowed for repairs).  Roger said the Board of Supervisors seems to be concerned that approving this system will encourage growth, but Roger feels that concern is misplaced and he hopes the BCPUD Board will support the County staff’s efforts to expand the options for Marin County residents to upgrade their septic systems. 

9.    Letter to Marin County Community Development Agency and/or Board of Supervisors Requesting Deletion of a Bolinas “Community Plan Exception” in the Marin County Development Code (Title 22) Which Prohibits Permits for Second Units in Bolinas.
This agenda item was deferred to a future meeting date to be determined.

10.     Call for Nominations – LAFCO Alternate Special District Member.

Director Siedman inquired whether any of the Board members had a  motion to nominate an alternative special district member;  no such motion was forthcoming.

11.  Election of BCPUD Board Officers/Committee Assignments.

J. McClellan/D. Smith    all in favor    to renew the existing Board Officer and Committee assignments for another year.

12.  Volunteer Committee Reports

-- Alternative Energy:  Update on BCPUD Solar Energy Project.    Director Smith reported that the district has located a bond firm in San Francisco that is willing to work with the district to market the Clean Renewable Energy Bonds for an acceptable fee (not to exceed five percent of the bond proceeds).  However, there is a concern that potential purchasers of  the bonds will want a discount, which could render the financing unattractive for the BCPUD; time will tell.  The County is requiring coastal permits for both proposed solar array installations, so the district is pressing forward with permit applications, as well.  Fortunately, it appears that the costs of the permits and various related professional fees can be capitalized.

-- Beach:  Nothing to report.

-- Bolinas Community Plan Review Committee:  Nothing to report.

-- Bolinas Lagoon Technical Advisory Committee:  Nothing to report.

-- Community Paths Group:  Nothing to report.

-- Downtown Parking and Traffic:  Nothing to report.

-- Resource Recovery:  Nothing to report.

-- Terrace Avenue/Alternative Access Road Committee:  Director Smith said that the committee is waiting to hear whether the County will be able to acquire the necessary easement to move Terrace Avenue at Surfer’s Overlook.  The committee also hopes that Supervisor Kinsey can help convince the California Coastal Commission to allow a repair of the seawall.

-- West Nile Virus Task Force/West Marin Mosquito Control Coordinating Council:  Nothing to report.

13.  Other Business

a.  Board Committee Reports

-- Finance:  Receive Fiscal Year 2006-07 Audit; Receive First Quarter Financial Report; Draft 2008-09 Budget Proposal and Schedule.  Staff reported that the district received a clean audit, with no adjustments required.  With respect to the first quarter financial report, the district is on pace for the year, with some expenses exceeding budget that will be adjusted at year-end to reflect FEMA funding.  Finally, the draft 2008-09 budget schedule should be deferred for approval until the February meeting in light of director Kimball’s absence.

-- Legal:  Approve Retention of Legal Counsel

J. McClellan/D. Smith    all in favor    to retain the law firm of Somach, Simmons & Dunn  to advise the district on water law issues.

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

-- Operations:  Nothing to report.

-- Park and Recreation:  Director Siedman reported that the downtown park donor has withdrawn the requirement that a caretaker unit be located at the park.  The hillside committee met recently with residents of the Little Mesa to discuss their privacy concerns.  A meeting is scheduled for January 26th at 9:00 a.m. to talk about the hillside trees and discuss past slide problems with Altura.  The flats committee has forwarded a  conceptual design for the park to a landscape architect; the design is a  “less is more” approach, with lots of open space, some benches, tables and a covered pavilion in the back. The committee plans to call a town meeting to solicit feedback once the design is finalized.

-- Personnel:  Recommend Approval of Full-Time Shift Operator Position. Director Siedman said that the Personnel Committee met with the staff and concluded that the district needs to add a full-time, rather than part-time, shift-operator position.  The district has been understaffed for some now and, in light of recent and eventual retirements of staff, the Personnel Committee concurs that long-range staff planning is critical to the district’s future.

V. Amoroso/D. Smith    all in favor    to approve a new full-time shift operator position for the district..

-- Sewer:  Nothing to report.

b.  Minutes of the December 19, 2007 Regular Meeting

Directors Amoroso offered two corrections to the minutes and staff offered one correction.

D. Smith/V. Amoroso    all in favor  to approve the minutes, as corrected.

c.  Warrants

V. Amoroso/D. Smith    all in favor    to approve the warrant list.

d.  Scheduling of Next Meeting(s)

    February 20, 2008 at 7:30 p.m.

Stacey Henderson advised the Board that the Briones Lions Club is seeking nominations for its 2008 public service award.

14.    Adjournment

11:03 p.m.