Bolinas Community Public Utility
A Regular Meeting
Of The Board Of Directors
January 16, 2008 270 Elm Road, Bolinas
1. Call to Order
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
-- Update on the TBWC Integrated Coastal Watershed Management Plan – Grant
Funding Application Process: Approve Project Proposals and Proposed Match
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
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
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
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
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
Director Siedman inquired whether any of the Board members had a motion
to nominate an alternative special district member; no such motion was
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
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
D. Smith/V. Amoroso all in favor to approve the
minutes, as corrected.
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.